Thoughts from California Highway Patrol: The most essential element of a successful democratic government is freedom for all citizens to exercise their constitutional rights without fear of threat or endangerment. The basic mission of the American criminal justice system is to protect this freedom “(DOJ Report on Public Service With Honor).
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy designated May 15th as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week thereafter as Police Week.
Nationally, we’ve come to recognize and remember the contributions our men and women of law enforcement give to our nation every day.
Law enforcement officers play a significant role in our society. President Kennedy said, “from the beginning of this Nation, law enforcement officers have played an important role in safeguarding the rights and freedoms which are guaranteed by the Constitution and in protecting the lives and property of our citizens;”
The safeguarding of our freedoms and rights has never come without a cost. The California Highway Patrol Code of Honor states, in part, “Assist those in peril or distress, and, if necessary, lay down my life rather than swerve from the path of duty;”
This universal sacred oath is the constant reminder of the selfless dedication men and women of law enforcement knowingly commit their lives to for the betterment of society.
To date, 20,789 officers have been killed in the line of duty nationwide (National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund).
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC is the nation’s monument to law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty. Carved on these walls are the names of the 20,789 officers who have been killed in the line of duty throughout U.S. history, dating back to the first known death in 1791.
This memorial is ever changing. Names of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty are added every year to that memorial.
This week, we reflect on the lives of our men and women in law enforcement whose valor and courage give us hope and peace despite our troublesome times.