SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued the following statement regarding the death of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Officer Gilbert Cortez:
“Anne and I offer our deep condolences to Officer Cortez’s family, friends and colleagues as they mourn the loss of this dedicated officer. We are grateful for his courage and years of service to the people of California.”
Officer Cortez, 46, died Monday, March 25, after his patrol car rolled off State Highway 79 in San Diego County. Cortez’s K-9, Mattie, also died during the incident. Officer Cortez and four other K-9 teams were on their way to conduct searches at La Cima Conservation Camp.
Cortez worked at California Rehabilitation Center (CRC) and was part of the Southern Regional K-9 Unit. He started his career at CDCR in 1990 at the California Institution for Men. The next year, he transferred to Calipatria State Prison where he was assigned to the Investigative Services Unit and promoted to the rank of Sergeant. In 2001, Cortez was transferred to CRC where he subsequently completed K-9 training.
Officer Cortez is survived by his wife, their two children and his parents.
In honor of Officer Cortez, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.