Calling public safety a common concern among residents throughout California, Secretary of State Bill Jones on Friday predicted a "new era" in which government and the public offer greater support of law enforcement.
Addressing more than 200 people at an awards ceremony hosted by the Valley Community Legal Foundation, Jones said a heightened concern over crime would cause residents to rally behind law enforcement in the same way that public support for the military grew during the Cold War.
Jones, the former Republican assemblyman who authored the state's "three-strikes" legislation, said concern over public safety cuts across all races and backgrounds.
"We are in many ways in California an experiment in communal living," he said. "We can [succeed] if we focus on what pulls us together."
The Van Nuys awards ceremony recognized the efforts of local law enforcement officers and firefighters, and served as a belated celebration of Law Day, the May 1 observance proclaimed in 1958 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to increase public awareness of the justice system.
Eight law enforcement officers and firefighters received awards.
Rich Meline and Dave Norman of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, Cory Rose and Jeffrey Taylor of the Los Angeles Fire Department and Angelito Angeles of the LAPD were honored for their rescue efforts in the aftermath of the Northridge earthquake.
Other recipients were Anthony D'Ambrosio of the California Highway Patrol, Lt. Ernie Halcon of the San Fernando Police Department and John Sikich of the Sheriff's Department.