Again this year, communities across the United States will come together during National Police Week—May 15-21—to honor and remember those law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice, as well as the family members, friends and fellow officers they left behind.
This year, the names of 317 officers killed in the line of duty are being added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC. These 317 officers include 153 officers who were killed during 2010, plus 164 officers who died in previous years but whose stories of sacrifice had been lost to history until now.
The fallen officers include two members of the law enforcement community in Fort Morgan. Officer Fred Rehmer who was killed in the line of duty on December 18, 1982 and Marshal Charles P. Eyser who was killed on September 30, 1916, both who gave their lives to protect and serve the community of Fort Morgan. These fallen law enforcement officers will be remembered during Police Week services.
Fort Morgan Police Department officers also attended two funerals in recent months honoring fellow comrades who died in neighboring communities; Limon Police Officer Jay Sheridan, 27, on March 9, 2011 and Weld County Sheriffs Deputy Sam Brownlee, 43, November 23, 2010, both who will be remembered for their sacrifices made to the public they served. Sadly, this reality lies at the core of our profession. It has been said that once the badge goes on it never comes off. Our thoughts and prayers are with all these families as these fellow police officers are not far from our minds.
The names of all 317 fallen officers nationwide will be formally dedicated on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC, during the 23rd Annual Candlelight Vigil on the evening of May 13, 2011. So that people across the country can experience this unique and powerful ceremony, the vigil will be webcast live over the Internet beginning at 6:00 pm (MDT) on May 13th. To register for this free online event, visit www.LawMemorial.org/webcast.
The Candlelight Vigil is one of many commemorative events taking place in the nation’s capital during National Police Week 2011. The national observance is organized by a group of organizations led by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), Concerns of Police Survivors, the Fraternal Order of Police and the Fraternal Order of Police Auxiliary.
Final data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund show that for the 13th year in a row, traffic fatalities were the leading cause of officer fatalities, with 71 officers killed in the line of duty—an increase of 36 percent from 2009.
For more information about National Police Week, please visit www.LawMemorial.org/policeweek.