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LAPD, families honor officers who have died in line of duty

LAPD, families honor officers who have died in line of duty
Sonia Sanchez -- the widow of LAPD officer Roberto Sanchez, who was killed May 3, 2014, when an SUV struck his patrol car -- is escorted by Police Chief Charlie Beck during the annual memorial serviceat downtown headquarters for LAPD officers killed in the line of duty. (Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times)

A group of bagpipers and a large wreath of flowers at downtown headquarters on Thursday welcomed families of Los Angeles Police Department police officers who have died in the line of duty.

The Los Angeles Police Memorial Ceremony is an annual commemoration service held to remember the 207 officers who have perished while on duty since 1907.

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LAPD Chief Charlie Beck told those gathered inside the Ronald F. Deaton Civic Auditorium that the event is also "a reminder for us all to not let their deaths be in vain."

"Some of the men I knew well, some I didn't. One of them died in my arms," an emotional Beck said. "In our struggle with our grief we have come to the conclusion that it's not about how these officers died but how they lived. If we remember their services … and help out each other when we can, the number of officers getting killed every year might decrease."

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said: "Let us remember these officers for the human beings that they were."

As a video marking the officers lost in the line of duty within the last 25 years played on a screen, people snapped pictures as their loved ones' faces appeared.

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