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The Los Angeles Chargers honored police officers who have been wounded in the line of duty during their preseason game Saturday.
The Chargers partnered with The Wounded Blue to honor wounded officers from across the country and the officers in attendance had the opportunity to participate in the team’s festivities before kickoff and at halftime of the game against the Dallas Cowboys.
California Highway Patrol officer Juan Reyes and San Bernardino Sheriff’s deputy Marcus Mason fired the “Heroes Cannon” at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, to begin the game. Reyes was shot six times during an incident in Studio City and Mason was wounded in a separate shooting.
The Wounded Blue founder Lt. Randy Sutton, former Pennsylvania Highway Patrol officer Bob Bemis and Mason were on the field at halftime and were honored by the team. Bemis is paralyzed, blind in one eye and in a wheelchair after being attacked on duty. Bemis was in charge of the “Thunder siren,” a World War II-style siren that blares when the Chargers score a touchdown.
“We are honored by the Chargers’ support of America’s wounded officers,” Sutton said in a news release. “More than 120,000 officers* have been attacked in the line of duty overt he last 2 years. Too often, America’s law enforcement are severely wounded and left to fend for themselves, as 85% of departments don’t have the resources to deal with the long-term issues they face with their injuries. PTSD and suicide are also at an historic high. Recognizing these officers and providing peer support for them is critical to their recovery.”
The Chargers were the “first known NFL team” to honor law enforcement since the summer of 2020, The Wounded Blue said
Former Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Tyler Eifert honored fallen retired St. Louis police David Dorn during that season. Dorn was shot and killed in June 2020 by looters who were inside his friend’s pawn shop.
The Chargers also encouraged fans to text CHARGERS to 877-810-0911 to donate to The Wounded Blue, which support officers who have been assaulted while on the job.
“Nationwide, there is a common misperception that officers have lifelong pensions and health benefits that can take care of them; but the reality is that is simply not true. In fact, 85% of departments across the country are from smaller cities who do not have the resources to help their officers. The Wounded Blue helps them gain access to medical appointments, X-rays, PTSD counseling and peer support, among other benefits,” the group said in an Instagram post before the game.
According to The Wounded Blue, the Chargers donated more than 100 tickets for wounded officers in the Los Angeles area.
On Saturday, wounded officers from the Los Angeles Sheriffs and Police Departments, Yorba Linda Police Department, San Bernardino County Sheriffs Department and other departments around Southern California were in attendance.
Dallas won the game 32-18.