Honoring Our Nation's Law Enforcement Officers

Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME), May 26, 2017 | Go to article overview

Honoring Our Nation's Law Enforcement Officers


In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a joint resolution of Congress proclaiming May 15 of each year to be Peace Officers Memorial Day, with the week containing that day designated as National Police Week.

In 1991, America's respect for the men and women of our law enforcement community took concrete form with the dedication of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. Located in Judiciary Square, the seat of several federal and municipal courts, the memorial's 304-foot-long marble walls bear the names of the more than 20,000 officers who gave their lives in the line of duty throughout our history, dating back to the first known death in 1791.

Unlike most memorials in our nation's capital, this one changes every year with the addition of new names. On this year's Peace Officers Memorial Day, the names of the 143 officers killed in the line of duty in 2016 were added. In addition, Lieutenant Rene Goupil, a Maine State Police officer with two decades of service who died while on duty in 1990, was added to the memorial this year. I was honored to meet with members of Lt. Goupil's family in my office.

I was honored to co-sponsor the Senate resolution designating the week of May 15 through May 21 as National Police Week 2017. Our resolution declares that federal, state, local, and tribal police officers, sheriffs, and other law enforcement officers across the United States serve with valor, dignity and integrity; that they pursue justice for all and perform their duties with fidelity to the constitutional and civil rights of all; that their service to their communities is unyielding, despite inherent dangers in the performance of their duties; and that the vigilance, compassion, and decency of law enforcement officers are the best defense of society against individuals who seek to do harm.

In addition, our resolution acknowledges that law-enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice should be honored and remembered, and that the loved ones they leave behind should receive not only our heartfelt condolences, but also our unwavering support.

Supporting the families of these brave men and women is a national obligation. That is why I introduced the bipartisan Children of Fallen Heroes Scholarship Act to assist the children of fallen members of our first responder community " law-enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency medical services workers--who might not be able to afford a college education. …

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