Eighty-two LAPD officers were honored Thursday at the first Purple Heart ceremony, recognizing officers for their acts of bravery that resulted in injury or death.
The event at the J.W. Marriott in downtown LA highlighted 72 incidents of bravery since 1921.
The honorees included Detective Arleigh McCree and Officer Ronald Ball, who were killed trying to save fellow officers while attempting to diffuse a bomb; Officer Tina Kerbrat, the first female to be killed in the line of duty; and Officer Randy Simmons, the first SWAT team member killed in the line of duty.
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Simmons' widow, Lisa Simmons said this is an important day for all of the officers who gave their lives to make our city safe.
"Their sacrifice must be remembered," she said.
Simmons was killed in February 2008 during an operation in Winnetka. He and his partner were attempted to apprehend a gunman when they were both shot.
Simmons also was an ordained minister who worked with at-risk youths. A Reseda park was named after Simmons in 2009.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the recipients and families of victims were present Thursday. The mayor commended Chief Beck on his leadership of the department.
"When you get to know Charlie Beck, the one thing you get to know about him, is that he eats, breathes, drinks this blue uniform that many of you work in, day in and day out," he said. "He's absolutely committed."
Chief Beck gave his thoughts on the officers who work for him and for the city of Los Angeles.
"When one of you is injured or someone loses their life, a piece of me goes away," said Beck.
The event was put on by the Los Angeles Police Foundation.