They keep our cities and towns safe and Wednesday night the Santa Maria Valley Community showed their appreciation by recognizing the officers of the year from various agencies.

       Eight departments honored their own during the 45th Annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Night at the Elks Lodge in Santa Maria:

Federal Bureau of Investigation- Kathleen Ernst

Santa Barbara County Probation Department- Renee Leach, Sr. Deputy Probation Officer

Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office- Gerald Motter, District Attorney Investigator

Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department- David Wicklund, Deputy

California Highway Patrol- Matthew Kenny, Patrolman

Hancock College Campus Police- Araceli Castillo, Dispatcher/Records Tech

Santa Maria Police Department- Ronald Murillo, Police Officer

Guadalupe Police Department- Gary Hoving, Chief of Public Safety

    Santa Maria police officer Ronald Murillo says it's been a challenging year for law enforcement with the many police shootings across the country and he appreciates the recognition from the community.

"It's a good feeling because with all the negativity in the law enforcement right now, the positives that go into law enforcement and can be's a wonderful thing," Murillo said.

    This Murillo's second award in 2016. Earlier this year, he was named "Law Enforcement Officer of the Year"at a Santa Maria Valley Chamber and Police Department Luncheon.