SOMERSET — A Northern California sheriff’s deputy was shot to death Wednesday while responding to a call in the rural Sierra Nevada foothills, officials said.

The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office said Deputy Brian Ishmael was fatally shot in the community of Somerset and that a ride-along passenger with him was also shot and injured. Officials did not immediately identify the passenger or provide details about the person’s injuries and condition.

Two men were detained and a large contingent of law enforcement officers and a helicopter remained at the scene about 45 miles east of Sacramento, said a statement from the sheriff’s office.

A procession of law enforcement vehicles accompanied Ishmael’s body Wednesday morning to the Sacramento County coroner’s office.

The statement provided no details about how the events unfolded.

Law Enforcement Often Use Ride-Alongs for Community Outreach

The deputy was a four-year veteran of the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office and previously worked for the Placerville Police Department.

“We’re not going to drive you into a known dangerous situation.” — Tab Rhodes, president of the Los Angeles County Professional Peace Officers Association

Law enforcement often use ride-alongs for community outreach and engagement purposes. In Los Angeles, websites for the city’s police department and county sheriff’s office both state they accept ride-alongs from community members. Agencies typically require the civilian to sign a waiver and complete a background check.

Tab Rhodes, president of the Los Angeles County Professional Peace Officers Association, said ride-alongs allow people “to get an understanding of what an average day in law enforcement looks like.”

It’s often also used as a recruitment tool or a prerequisite for potential hires “to give a realistic perspective to something that is often glamorized on TV and movies,” he said.

The officers driving the patrol car have discretion but the objective is always to keep the civilian safe, Rhodes said. “We’re not going to drive you into a known dangerous situation.”

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