BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The Kern County Sheriff's Office is inviting the community to honor a deputy who died due to COVID.
The funeral service for Deputy Gabriel Gonzales will take place at 2 p.m. Friday at Canyon Hills Church.
Those who attend are asked to wear a mask.
A private burial service will be held afterward for friends and family only.
COVID has had a huge impact on law enforcement across the country.
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, an organization that tracks officers who have died, COVID was the leading cause of death last year and this year.
In California, 25 law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty this year, 10 have whom died from COVID.
Across the country 356 officers total have died this year, 228 of those deaths were from COVID. That's up 29% compared to last year.
The Officer Down Memorial Page has a memorial posted that shows those who have died from the virus.
This list is only includes some of the people who have died. For instance, Deputy Gonzalez and CHP Officer Scott Merrit are not included on this page.
And in Washington, D.C., nearly 700 names of law enforcement officers who have died since 2019 were added to the national law enforcement officers memorial.
Their names were read by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and board members of the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund. There are more than 22,000 names on the memorial. The ceremony kicks off police weekend in the nation's capitol.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, said on Twitter about the ceremony: "This past year was one of the toughest on record for law enforcement. The hundreds who died are more than a statistic. They were mothers, fathers, spouses, and friends who paid the ultimate sacrifice to defend communities across America."