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Gov. Jerry Brown called California's law enforcement officers the "the best of our state" this morning as hundreds of police, sheriffs' deputies, Highway Patrol officers, correctional officers and their friends and families remembered those who have fallen in the line of duty.

Brown and other dignitaries spoke at the 36th annual California Peace Officers' Memorial Ceremony under a canopy of oaks and redwoods across the street from the Capitol's west steps. Many in the somber crowd of about 700 dabbed their eyes with tissues during the 90-minute event.

Outside the enclosed area for dignitaries, colleagues of the fallen and their family and friends, hundreds of law enforcement officers from around the state stood silently, looking on.

The ceremony at the memorial monument recalled the careers and sacrifice of 18 law enforcement officers, eight of whom died in 2011. Their names join those of more 1,500 others who have fallen in the line of duty since California gained statehood in 1850.

"More than ever we need the inspiration of those who give without asking the cost, who find more and more ways to serve. as opposed to just advancing whatever their interests or their rights might happen to be," Brown said.

California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and Attorney General Kamala Harris struck similar notes of service and sacrifice in brief remarks to the crowd.

The nonprofit California Peace Officers' Memorial Foundation sponsored the event. The foundation also funds scholarships and grants for dependents of state peace officers who die in the line of duty.

Here's a list of the officers remembered this year:

Officer Thomas R. Adams
CHP - Garberville
Died: February 15, 2011

Officer Jermaine A. Gibson, Sr.
Cathedral City Police Department
Died: March 19, 2011

Officer Andrew S. Garton
Hawthorne Police Department
Died: May 26, 2011

Officer Daniel R. Ackerman
Buena Park Police Department
Died: July 30, 2011

Officer Ryan E. Stringer
Alhambra Police Department
Died: July 10, 2011

Officer Jeremy N. Henwood
San Diego Police Department
Died: August 7, 2011

Officer James L. Capoot
Vallejo Police Department
Died: November 17, 2011

Officer Anthony A. Giniewicz
Signal Hill Police Department
Died: December 7, 2011

Enrolled from prior years:

Deputy Charlene M. Rottler
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
Died: January 3, 2010

Special Agent Patrick T. Dillon
California Department of Justice
Died: April 14, 2007

Sgt. John A. Aguilar
Santa Ana Police Department
Died: June 30, 1998

Marshal William P. Rice
Winters Police Department
Died: October 18, 1912

Patrolman Edward W. Shay
Union Pacific Railroad Police
Died: July 13, 1909

Constable John (Jack) Hewitt
Shasta Co. Sheriff's Department
Died: May 8, 1907
Constable Charles H. Cummins

Shasta County Sheriff's Department
Died: June 4, 1902

Constable James D. Campbell
Shasta County Sheriff's Department
Died: December 26, 1895

Constable James A. Greenlee
Shasta County Sheriff's Department
Died: May 27, 1885

Constable John Sheldon
Sonora Police Department
Died: April 29, 1855


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