May 11, 2022 — In honor of National Police Week, United States Attorney Brit Featherston will recognize the service and sacrifice of federal, state, local, law enforcement. This year, the week is observed Wednesday, May 11 through Tuesday, May 17, 2022.
“This week, we gather to pay tribute to the law enforcement officers who sacrificed their lives in service to our country,” said Attorney General Garland. “We remember the courage with which they worked and lived. And we recommit ourselves to the mission to which they dedicated their lives. On behalf of a grateful Justice Department and a grateful nation, I extend my sincerest thanks and gratitude to the entire law enforcement community.”
“Without the rule of law, the pillars of Constitution will not stand. At its most basic human level, the officer on the street is and must be the protector of the people, the one we turn to when danger or wrongs occur,” said U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston. “Encounters on the street with a police officer is often where the justice system is initiated and where our citizens (victim or accused) begin their journey to protect their life or property from harm. Today, honoring those in blue who have made the ultimate sacrifice, we are also honoring what they stood for. They stood for, at its most basic level, that to live in a free country under our Constitution, that society only remains free when the rule of law is enforced. Those brave men and women, at its core, selflessly died while giving aid to their fellow citizens and their communities. Their lives and memory give us confidence that our free way of life will continue, and their sacrifice will forever not be in vain.”
In 1962, President Kennedy issued the first proclamation for Peace Officers Memorial Day and National Police Week to remember and honor law enforcement officers for their service and sacrifices. Peace Officers Memorial Day, which every year falls on May 15, specifically honors law enforcement officers killed or disabled in the line of duty. Based on data submitted to and analyzed by the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), 472 law enforcement officers died nationwide in the line of duty in 2021. Of that number, 319 succumbed to COVID-19. Four officers have died in the line of duty in the Eastern District of Texas.
Additionally, according to 2021 statistics reported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) through the Law Enforcement Officer Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) Program, 73 law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty in 2021 were killed as a result of felonious acts, whereas 56 died in accidents. Deaths resulting from felonious acts increased in 2021, rising more than 58 percent from the previous year. In 2021, unprovoked attacks were the cause of 24 deaths significantly outpacing all other line of duty deaths resulting from felony acts and reaching the highest annual total in over 30 years of reporting. Additional LEOKA statistics can be found on FBI’s Crime Data Explorer website for the LEOKA program.
The names of the 619 fallen officers added this year to the wall at the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial will be read on Friday, May 13, 2022, during a Candlelight Vigil in Washington, D.C., starting at 8:00 PM EDT. Those who wish to view the vigil live online, can watch on the NLEOMF YouTube channel found at https://www.youtube.com/TheNLEOMF. The schedule of National Police Week events is available on NLEOMF’s website.