SAN DIEGO – Law enforcement throughout San Diego County joined together to pay their respects to fallen deputies, officers and agents.

“A time to remember”: That’s the message wrapped around the hearts of San Diego law enforcement Wednesday.

“When tragedy strikes, our families are the ones who are left behind to accept the sacrifice made,” shared Chief Aaron Heitke with the U.S. Border Patrol.

That reminder was symbolized by the empty chairs lined in front of the podium. One of them honoring Agent Daniel H. Salazar who died May 13, 2022, after he was fatally injured while conducting line watch operations, after his service vehicle rolled off a steep embankment adjacent to the international border.

When asked about the legacy of Agent Salazar, one of his closest friends and colleagues Agent Dylan Robinson was at a loss for words.

“I can’t even explain it. It’s a different kind of pain. He was my best friend…we were inseparable,” Robinson said.

The other person honored was State Park Ranger George Kowatch III with the California State Parks Department. He died November 2, 1987, while on duty in a vehicle accident. His name was finally placed along the memorial outside the San Diego County Administration Building.

Rosalie Rosas lost her husband Robert Jr. Rosas in 2009. He was also a U.S. Border Patrol agent.

“I had an 11-month-old and a 2-month-old and he obviously didn’t come home, but I always say that I’m so grateful that he loved it,” Rosas said.

She attended Wednesday with her now teen daughters to uplift other families among that thin blue line.

“My husband lived his life well, he loved and his life mattered. That’s what has given me peace that I know he loved us, and he loved what he did,” Rosas shared.

The ceremony marked the county’s 37th commemoration of fallen law enforcement members, also honoring the 156 who died in the line of duty nationwide in 2022; nine of which served in California. As of Wednesday, there are now 90 names on the memorial outside the county administration building.

“These are officers that stepped up, did their job, and gave their lives to protect the citizens of this county.”

Skip Murphy, President of the San Diego County Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation