The Orange County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday the creation of a unit focused on prosecuting crimes against law enforcement officers.

The Special Prosecutions unit, which works on the highest profile cases, will oversee the new “Crimes Against Peace Officers Unit,” according to Kimberly Edds, public information officer for the District Attorney’s Office.

The unit will prosecute crimes in which an on-duty officer was victimized, which the District Attorney’s Office has prosecuted nearly 1,000 times in the last three years, Edds said.

The announcement comes on Peace Officers Memorial Day, which honors local, state and federal peace officers who have died or been disabled in the line of duty.

“As we mourn the loss of 135 law enforcement officers across the nation who paid the ultimate sacrifice last year, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office is committing to prosecuting crimes against peace officers with the highest level of care,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer.

“We will never forget the 53 Orange County peace officers who laid down their lives protecting us.”

The Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs had asked Spitzer to dedicate specialized prosecutors to cases in which officers were victimized, according to Edds.

“With the continual assaults our law enforcement members face in the field, jail and detention facilities, we are glad the district attorney has listened to our concerns and taken the steps to form a unit to vertically prosecute those who attack our peace officers,” said Juan Viramontes, president of the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs, the union representing the department’s deputies.

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