LEMOORE — Assemblymember Salas (D-Bakersfield) joined the Lemoore Police Department and Kings County community for a tree planting ceremony to honor the legacy and sacrifice of Officer Jonathan Diaz Monday.

Diaz was killed in the line of duty in 2019, while responding to a domestic violence call.

Because of Officer Diaz’s intervention, he was able to save the life of a pregnant woman and get her to safety before the situation escalated. The ceremony was also held in recognition of Crime Victims Rights week with other families who have been impacted by crime.

“Officer Diaz was a true hero who showed the utmost bravery and selflessness, even in the face of grave danger,” said Assemblymember Salas.

“Officer Diaz’s actions helped save the lives of a pregnant mother by putting himself in harm's way during her time of need. We must work together to end domestic violence and the tragedy it can bring upon our families. I am glad that the community came together to honor the legacy of Officer Diaz during National Crime Victims Rights Week with a tree dedication to ensure that his service and legacy lives on,” he continued.

Since 1981, National Crime Victims’ Rights Week has been proclaimed as a time to renew a commitment to serving all victims of crime, to acknowledge the achievements in victim services and allied professions, to honor those who have gone above and beyond in their service to others and to remember crime victims and survivors.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, struggles of victims of domestic violence have worsened, according to a release sent out by Salas' office, which went on to state that California’s stay-at-home orders left many victims trapped with their abusers.

Calls to domestic violence hotlines and service providers dropped significantly, with some regions seeing more than a 50 percent decrease in calls, according to the release.

Assemblymember Salas introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 673 to address this issue, which would help local nonprofits receive funding quickly and ensure that California can operate as many domestic violence shelters as possible and reduce the possibility for violent interactions between partners.

For the tree dedication ceremony, Assemblymember Salas joined a host of community leaders, crime victims’ families, and groups including: Hanford Parks and Recreation, Kings County Sheriff’s Office, Kings County District Attorney Keith Fagundes, Kings County Victim Witness, Kings County Community Action Organization, Hanford Councilmember Francisco Ramirez, Tree Fresno and Hanford Granite.

The community gathered for this ceremony to plant a tree at Hope Trail, near the home of Officer Diaz’s mother, who attended the event with the Diaz family. United States Navy Chaplin David Wooten also joined to recite a prayer before the tree planting.

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