In honor of National Police Week, U.S. Attorney Michael Easley recognized the service and sacrifice of law enforcement officers at the local, state and national levels. The annual observance began May 11 and continues through Tuesday, May 17.
“In taking an oath to preserve and protect, law enforcement officers put their lives on the line daily to keep our communities safe,” Easley said in a press statement released earlier this week. “We recognize and appreciate their sacrifice and commitment every day. This week, we take the opportunity, across the country, to honor those law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty. We also express our deepest respect and admiration for the families of these fallen heroes.”
Based on information from the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), 472 law enforcement officers died nationwide in the line of duty in 2021. Of that number, 319 succumbed to COVID-19. Nine officers have died in the line of duty in the Eastern District of North Carolina.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland expressed gratitude to the law enforcement community. “This week, we gather to pay tribute to the law enforcement officers who sacrificed their lives in service to our country,” Garland said.
“We remember the courage with which they worked and lived. And we recommit ourselves to the mission to which they dedicated their lives. On behalf of a grateful Justice Department and a grateful nation, I extend my sincerest thanks and gratitude to the entire law enforcement community.”
In 1962, President Kennedy issued the first proclamation for Peace Officers Memorial Day and National Police Week to remember and honor law enforcement officers for their service and sacrifices. Peace Officers Memorial Day, which every year falls on May 15, specifically honors law enforcement officers killed or disabled in the line of duty.
The names of the 619 fallen officers added this year to the wall at the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial will be read tonight (Friday, May 13) during a Candlelight Vigil in Washington, D.C., starting at 8 p.m. Those who wish to view the vigil live online can watch on the NLEOMF YouTube channel found at https://www.youtube.com/TheNLEOMF.