May 15th is National Peace Officers Memorial Day, which was first signed into law in 1962 by President Kennedy. This year alone, 36 police officers have died in the line of duty, 17 in the month of January alone. In 2011, 166 police officers went to work for the day, and never came home.
This week, police officers and their families, along with the families of fallen officers, from all over the world are gathering in Washington, D.C. for National Police Week, a time where we remember those officers that gave the ultimate sacrifice serving their communities.
The names of the 36 officers who have died this year were added to the marble wall at the National Law Enforcement Memorial, along side of over 19,000 other officers who have been killed in the line of duty since 1791, when the first line-of-duty death was recorded.
Everyday police officers put on their badge and gun and head into work knowing that today they are going to go into work and deal with people on the worst day of their lives, whether it is a victim of a shooting, car accident, and even someone who has had their identity stolen. We are the people that are called upon to handle any and every situation, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Police officers run toward situations that other people run from. We deal with people that need to be dealt with. We enforce laws to keep society safe. We make traffic stops to look for bombs, drugs, guns, drunk drivers, speeders, reckless drivers, murderers, robbers, terrorists and seatbelt violations. We chase people who don’t want to be caught. We tell people what they don’t want to hear.
We work nights, weekends, holidays and on our birthdays. We work in the freezing cold. We work in the pouring rain. And in doing all of this, we all know in our hearts, we may not make it home. Thirty six of us haven’t this year. Yet, we still get up the very next day and do it all over again, for the community.
This week, or any time for that matter, I ask that you take the time to thank a police officer for their service and dedication to the community. Because I assure you, especially with the memory of what is going on this week and what it symbolizes, they will really appreciate it.
Yours in Service,
Greenbelt Fraternal Order of Police