History of National Police Week
This week is National Police Week, honoring law enforcement officials who have sacrificed their lives to keep American citizens safe. The origins of National Police week date back to 1962, when President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which established May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week it fell on as Police Week. Since this declaration, law enforcement officers have come together in Washington, DC to take part in events honoring officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
The annual event started as a gathering of about 120 law enforcement personnel and supporters in Senate Park. Over the years, this memorial service evolved into what we know as National Police Week, which has grown into a series of events that attract thousands of people to Washington, DC each year.
During National Police Week, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) sponsors a Candlelight Vigil, the Grand Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police sponsors the National Peace Officers Memorial Service, and Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) sponsors a series of seminars.
National Police Week draws 25,000-40,000 attendees each year. Of course, we are facing circumstances this year that interfere with the events that typically take place during National Police Week. While law enforcement officers are unable to meet in person to honor fallen officers, it is still possible to virtually show appreciation.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is hosting a virtual event called “United by Light.” Participants will have the opportunity to light a virtual candle on May 13 as a way to pay their respects. Participants may also make an online donation, as well as write a virtual candle message for other participants around the world to be encouraged by. Click here to find more details on United by Light.