Campus flag lowering, UPD badges memorialize slain officers

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Campus flag lowering, UPD badges memorialize slain officers

Flags on the California State University, Fresno campus will stay at half-staff through the funerals of two law enforcement officers with ties to the university who were fatally wounded in a shootout in southeastern Fresno County on Feb. 25.

University Police Department officers also placed black tape across their badges in tribute to the sacrifice of Reedley Police Officer Javier Bejar and Fresno County Sheriff’s Detective Joel Wahlenmaier.

Officer Bejar, who graduated from Fresno State with high honors in May 2008 with a major in kinesiology, was a Marine Corps veteran, who joined the Reedley Police Department in 2005. Detective Wahlenmaier took a course through Fresno State’s Extended Education program in fall 2002, four years after joining the Sheriff’s Department.

In issuing the order to lower flags on Feb. 26, university President John D. Welty said, “This is a tragedy we share with our entire community. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these brave men, and we are reminded again of the price all law enforcement personnel are willing to pay in service to the safety of all members of our community.”

A delegation of University Police Department officers will attend both funerals, said Chief David Huerta, a former Sheriff’s Department lieutenant.