CHARLOTTE, N.C. – This week, communities across the United States gather during National Police Week to remember law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty to share their stories of courage and sacrifice and to honor their memory.
“Police week is a time of remembrance of fallen officers who gave their lives to protect ours,” said Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. “Together with our fallen heroes’ families, friends and comrades we come together to grieve for their tragic loss, to celebrate their lives and to carry on the legacy they left behind.”
In 1962, President Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week in which May 15 falls as “National Police Week.” Established by a joint resolution of Congress in 1962, National Police Week pays special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others.
This year, the names of 252 U.S. law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty will be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., including the names of 123 officers who made the ultimate sacrifice during 2015, and 129 officers who died earlier in history but whose sacrifice had not been previously documented. With the addition of the 252 names this year, a total of 20,789 officers’ names are engraved on the Memorial. The names represent fallen law enforcement officers from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, federal law enforcement, and military police agencies.
Among those added this year will be:
Anthony E. Lossiah, of the Cherokee Indian Police Department, who died in October 2015.
Robert James Bowling, of the North Carolina DMV – License & Theft Bureau, who died in May 2015.
Keith Decarlo Smith, of the North Carolina Dept. of Public Safety, who died in December 2012.
John William Knapp, Jr., of the Boone Police Department, who died in March 1999.
Jesse James Styers, of the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, who died in January 1935.
Jack William Sykes, Wilson Police Department, who died in November 1922.
U.S. Attorney Rose noted that along with remembering the officers who made the ultimate sacrifice, “Police Week is an opportunity to honor and recognize all law enforcement officers in our communities, who bravely stand on the front lines each day. These officers are part of a long line of courageous men and women who have taken an oath to protect our neighborhoods, our homes and our loved ones from harm. I am thankful for their service, their courage and their willingness to answer the ultimate call of duty.”
There are approximately 900,000 law enforcement officers currently serving in communities across the United States. Each year, nearly 60,000 assaults against law enforcement officers are reported, resulting in approximately 16,000 injuries. The names of all 252 fallen officers nationwide were formally dedicated on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial during the 28th Annual Candlelight Vigil held at the National Mall on Friday, May 13, 2016.
The 35th Annual National Peach Officers’ Memorial Service was held on Sunday, May 15, 2016, in Washington, D.C., and Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates delivered the keynote address.