The Richmond Police Department held a special ceremony Thursday to honor its officers and pay tribute to those killed in the line of duty.
Department staff lined the steps and grass outside City Hall for the tribute, which took place at 3 p.m. The ceremony was organized as part of Police Week, a national week of recognition for police officers and support staff around the country.
Police Chief Allwyn Brown and Assistant Police Chief Bisa French commended officers for their service. Police Chaplain Al Martinez also took to the podium and prayed for their safety.
French read the names of 10 officers in department history who were killed in the line of duty, as officers clad in dress uniforms looked on.
"The badge of our office is a symbol of public faith, and we accept it as a public trust to be held so long as we are true to the ethics of the police service," French said. "We truly are Richmond's finest."
As part of the event, a slew of officers received awards for their performance. Sgt. Timothy Gray was promoted to lieutenant and Officer Florencio Rivera advanced a rank to sergeant. Both received the oath of office.
The ceremony also included something called an "Inspection Ceremony." Brown roved around officers and made sure they were complying with dress code and organizational standards, occasionally stopping to exchange greetings. He said the goal of the inspection was to ensure that officers were ready for the "call of duty."
It was the first time in decades the department held the special ceremony. When asked why the tradition was revived, Brown told NBC Bay Area it was to help "reground officers."
"The first duty of government is the protection of its citizens," Brown said. "That starts in the neighborhood, in every city, town. You've got to have order to have democracy. We play a significant role, and this is really about regrounding our folks in this higher purpose, why we do what we do, and why we sign up for this dangerous occupation."
"It's high sacrifice work," he said, praising his officers.