ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – In honor of National Police Week, community leaders across Virginia and across the country are taking the time this week to recognize the service and sacrifice of federal, state, local, and Tribal law enforcement.
While the in-person events for National Police Week have been rescheduled for Oct. 13 to Oct. 17 due to the coronavirus pandemic, National Police Week is still being observed from Sunday, May 9 through Saturday, May 15.
“This week is a time to honor our law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation,” said U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. “I am constantly inspired by the extraordinary courage and dedication with which members of law enforcement act each day, putting their lives on the line to make our communities safer. To members of law enforcement and your families: we know that not a single day, nor a single week, is enough to recognize your service and sacrifice. On behalf of the entire Department of Justice, you have our unwavering support and eternal gratitude.”
“Every day our police officers put on their badges and risk their lives to protect the safety of our communities,” Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel P. Bubar for the Western District of Virginia stated on Monday, May 10. “They take up the call to serve in the face of great personal sacrifice and increasing adversity. Specifically, this past year’s global pandemic coupled with rising anti-police sentiment presented unprecedented challenges. Instead of wilting in the face of these difficult circumstances, these brave men and women provide security and the rule of law against violence and mayhem. Please join me this week in thanking our law enforcement community and taking time to honor their great sacrifice.”
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy issued the first proclamation for Peace Officers Memorial Day and National Police Week as a way to remember and honor the service and sacrifices of law enforcement officers, officials say. In addition, Peace Officers Memorial Day specifically honors law enforcement officers killed or disabled in the line of duty every year on May 15.
“Each year, during National Police Week, our nation celebrates the contributions of law enforcement from around the country, recognizing their hard work, dedication, loyalty, and commitment to keeping our communities safe,” the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement on Monday. “This year the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted law enforcement officers’ courage and unwavering devotion to the communities that they have sworn to serve.”
Officials say more than 300 officers will be honored during the Roll Call of Heroes, a ceremony coordinated by the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP).
Based on data submitted to and analyzed by the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), the DOJ says nearly 60 percent of the law enforcement officers who died nationwide in 2020 in the line of duty succumbed to the coronavirus.
In addition, according to statistics reported by the FBI through the Law Enforcement Officer Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) Program, 46 law enforcement officers died as a result of felonious acts and 47 died in accidents in 2020.
The names of the 394 fallen officers who have been added to the wall at the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial in 2020 will be read during the Virtual Candlelight Vigil at 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 13, which will be streamed live on the NLEOMF YouTube channel.