President Donald J. Trump and other officials across the nation paused to honor fallen law enforcement officers on the 65th observance of the Peace Officers Memorial Day.
President John F. Kennedy created the day of remembrance for fallen police officers in 1962. The observance in the nation’s capital draws tens of thousands of law enforcement officers from around the world. In 1982, the first memorial service commemorating the observance began in Senate Park when about 120 survivors and police supporters gathered, Police Week reported.
Through May 15, 48 law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty. Seventeen of those officers died from gunshots sustained while engaging criminals. Another 14 died from automobile crashes, the Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP) reports. The deaths of 48 law enforcement officers in the first four and a half months is an increase from last year when 37 officers died during the same period.
Tonight, President Trump will light the White House in blue lights to honor fallen officers. The President ordered flags at federal buildings and military installations to be lowered to half-staff and requested state governors to do the same.
Earlier on Monday, the President traveled to Capitol Hill to speak to the thousands gathered to honor our fallen officers.
“Words cannot express the depths of our gratitude, but I hope that our actions will show you how deeply we care and how strongly we feel about protecting those who protect us,” President Trump told those gathered. “America stands strong with our men and women in blue. Believe me, we stand strong together.”
Addressing the gathered family members of fallen officers, the President said, “your loved ones are looking down on you and they are very proud.” He said the memories of their courage will be remembered forever.
“Next time you see a cop on the beat, say the two words they so readily deserve – thank you. thank you,” the President requested.
Speaking about the numbers of ambush-style attacks on police officers that increased in numbers over the past year, Trump drew his own line in the sand and said, “Enough is enough. The attacks on our police must end, and they must end right now.”
Vice President Mike Pence also addressed the crowd memorializing the officers. He pledged that he and President Trump will give “the support, resources, and training that men and women of law enforcement deserve.” He said the safety of the American people is a top priority for this administration and our country needs our officers to be safe to “Make America Safe Again.”
The President paused after his remarks and walked over to the officers and others in the front row of the ceremony. He greeted each of them and appeared to offer condolences. Mr. Trump also tossed a white hat embossed with “USA” and “45” to the 6-year-old son of a fallen police officer.
— ABC News (@ABC) May 15, 2017
Twitter hashtags like #PoliceWeek2017, #NationalPoliceWeek, and #BlueLivesMatter began trending as people across the nation joined in honoring police officers who gave their lives in service to others.
Police officers from Dallas, Texas, joined in the observance to honor the five officers killed during a sniper ambush last July.
— Maj. Max Geron (@MaxDPD) May 15, 2017
Following the ceremony in Washington, survivors of the 144 officers killed in the line of duty lined up and formed a procession, WBTV’s Sara-Blake Morgan Tweeted.
— Sarah-Blake Morgan (@SarahBlakeWBTV) May 15, 2017
Texas Governor Greg Abbott joined law enforcement officers and family members of fallen officers at the Texas Peace Officers Memorial Service in Austin Monday morning. Following the ceremony, the governor tweeted, “May we always remember the men and women lost in the line of duty this Peace Officers Memorial Day.”
May we always remember the men and women lost in the line of duty this Peace Officers Memorial Day. pic.twitter.com/2Qw28sFpSX
— Gov. Greg Abbott (@GovAbbott) May 15, 2017
On Tuesday morning, U.S. Representative Ted Poe will host the City of Humble’s 3rd Annual Police Memorial Ceremony, according to a statement from the Texas congressman’s office. The ceremony will be held at 9 a.m. at the Humble Civic Center, northeast of Houston.
In far west Texas, the Big Bend Area Law Enforcement Officers Association is dedicating a permanent memorial to the 154 officers and Border Patrol agents who died in the line of duty while serving the people of this region. Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter will host the event and U.S. Representative William Hurd (R-TX) will deliver the keynote address. That ceremony will be conducted on May 30 on the campus of Sul Ross University. This year, El Paso Police Department Officer David Ortiz, El Paso Police Department Officer Adrian Arellano, Border Patrol Agent Jose Daniel Barraza and Border Patrol Agent David Gomez will be memorialized according to a statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials.
On Saturday, Stanislaus County Deputy Sheriff Jason Garner, a nine-year veteran, became the most recent law enforcement officer to die in the line of duty this year. He and civilian Community Service Officer Raschel Johnson died when their car crashed while they responded to a burglary call. Their vehicle crashed into another vehicle and a dumpster before exploding into flames. Deputy Garner died the day before Mother’s Day leaving behind a grieving widow and four children. Ironically, the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department picked Deputy Garner to present a Father’s Day greeting from the department last year.