Published on Wednesday, May 14, 2008
in the Bay Net, MD
Last year, 181 police officers around the United States lost their lives in the line of duty. These fallen police officers were honored this week in a stirring ceremony at Fraternal order of Police lodge 7 in St. Mary's County.
The startling toll for 2007 turned out to be the deadliest year for police officers since 1989. There was a 20 percent increase in the number of police officers killed over 2006, with the exception of 9/11 when 72 officers lost their lives at the World Trade Center, 2007 was one of the deadliest on record since Peace Officer Memorial Day – May 15 was so designated by President John F. Kennedy in 1962.
President Kennedy also dedicated a week to honor fallen peace officers across the nation. The week containing May 15 is designated National Police Week. Police Officers from around the country come to Washington, DC each year to be part of the memorial ceremonies held at the National Law Enforcement Memorial, which was dedicated in 1991 by President George H. W. Bush. In 1994, President Clinton signed a law requiring flags to fly at half-mast on Peace Officer Memorial Day.
The activities and ceremonies held during this solemn week are a joint, cooperative endeavor by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS), the Grand Lodge Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and the FOP Auxiliary. While the most formal ceremonies are held each year in Washington, there are National Police Week observances across the country.
The National Law Enforcement Memorial now, sadly, contains the names of 18,274 peace officers that have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. In addition to the memorial, there are plans to develop a National Law Enforcement Museum. The planned Judiciary Square facility is to open in 2011 during National Police Week ceremonies. The museum, as planned, is to be the most comprehensive of its kind, honoring law enforcement and peace officers across the nation.
For more information about the Memorial and National Police Week, visit www.nleomf.org.