To kick off National Police Week, fallen Law Enforcement Officers were honored on May 13, 2007, during an annual candlelight vigil in Washington, D.C. Among those honored was Bowling Green Master Police Officer David Whitson.
Attorney General Gonzales delivered the keynote address as 382 names were dedicated on the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.
This year's names include 145 officers who died in 2006, plus 237 from earlier years who had previously been lost to history. Included in the number of fallen officers of 2006 were three Kentucky officers.
An additional 21 names of officers from Kentucky killed in past years will also be added to the memorial.
The number of officers killed in the line of duty last year declined nearly eight percent from 2005, when there were 157 officer deaths. The 2006 figure was the lowest annual total since 1999, when 143 officers were lost.
"While the number of officers killed in the line of duty has declined in recent years, the fact that one officer is killed every two-and-a-half days in our country is a sober reminder that protecting our communities and safeguarding our democracy come at a heavy price," said Craig W. Floyd, Chairman and CEO of the NLEOMF.
"Our Candlelight Vigil is a unique opportunity for the law enforcement community and the nation as a whole to remember our fallen officers and show our gratitude and support for their family members and other survivors," Floyd said.
Including this year's officers, there are now 17,917 names engraved on the Memorial representing officers from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories and federal law enforcement and military police agencies.
Attended by 20,000 people, the candlelight vigil kicks off National Police Week - a time to honor those law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty, as well as the 800,000 officers who continue to serve in federal, state and local law enforcement agencies nationwide.
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A Law Enforcement Memorial is also set to be held in Owensboro, Ky., this week. The 22nd annual Law Enforcement Memorial, sponsored by the Fraternal Order of Police will be held at Crosspointe Baptist Church located at 550 Worthington Road in Owensboro. The event will begin at 7 p.m. on May 17, 2007 and a reception will follow in the fellowship hall at the church. The Keynote speaker will be Secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Brigadier General Norman Arflack.
The Congress of the United States of America has designated the week of May 15 to be dedicated as National Police Wee’ and May 15 of each year to be Police Memorial Day.