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National Police Week

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Photo of the lions at the National Law Enforcement Memorial (picture courtesy of the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund)

This week is National Police Week.

President John F. Kennedy is credited with creating the commemoration as part of a proclamation signed in 1962, which designated May 14th as Peace Officers Memorial Day, and the week in which it falls as Police Week.  If you recall my recent post, it takes Congressional action to make an event an annual occurrence, so later that year Congress passed Public Law 87-726 , which marked both as annual commemorations (with Peace Officers Memorial Day designated as May 15th).

The week’s largest celebration takes place in Washington D.C., with various memorial services, candlelight vigils, marches and even a pipe band competition.  Officers worldwide gather to pay tribute to fallen comrades and honor the service of law enforcement officials.

Over the years I’ve seen evidence of these gatherings (out-of-state police on their motorcycles riding up and down the streets, for example).  Once, friends and I even ran into members of a pipe band while out on the Hill after work.

But I never gave it much thought until two years ago, when my brother died.  He was police chief of a small community in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, and his death from cancer coincided with National Police Week.

My brother spent his life being a hero with a small “h.”  He started as a teenager, volunteering for the local ambulance station, and worked in 911 call centers, where he even played a small role in the September 11 disaster in New York City.  Finally, he became a patrol officer, and then later, police chief.  His life was devoted to public service and helping others.  Not too shabby, as they say.

So, a national week of commemoration that was never really on my radar before now has taken on a whole new meaning for me.  I, for one, will be spending time this week thinking of my brother and all of the men and women on the “Thin Blue Line.”


  1. Nice tribute.
    Thanks for including the picture and link from the National Law Enforcement Memorial – I didn’t know there was one.

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