Each year, we recognize the tremendous sacrifice law enforcement officers make every day. In 2019, 146 officers across the country lost their lives in the line of duty. So far this year, 76 officers have died in the line of duty. We remember them, we honor them and we keep their families in prayer.
Inasmuch as we use this week to memorialize those officers who made the ultimate sacrifice, we also recognize those officers throughout the country who faithfully serve and work so hard to keep our communities safe.
On October 1, 1962, President John F. Kennedy, by joint resolution, proclaimed the second week of May as National Police Week. The first observance of this occasion occurred in May 1963. For 57 years this week, we as a nation have recognized the profession of law enforcement and the many men and women who have chosen this vocation.
With so many other important professions in society, why did our country establish a week to recognize and honor our law enforcement officers? Maybe it was because of the oath of office they take, an oath of loyalty, courage, truth and trust, always mindful of the moral and ethical values that society esteems. Maybe it’s because once officers take that oath, they are also taking an oath to lead their lives in the most ethical manner, both on and off duty. Maybe it’s because a law enforcement officer must be someone that the public can trust and can count on like a friend.
Perhaps we recognize our law enforcement officers because they are expected to put their lives in danger to protect others. Maybe we honor our officers because in the face of danger when others run away, they run towards it. Maybe it’s because the nature of crime is becoming more complex and at times the brutality can shock even the most seasoned police officers, yet they continue on with an unfailing commitment and compassion to serve.
There are many reasons to honor those in law enforcement who serve and sacrifice every day; however, as a society we should never forget and never lessen their accountability. As a community, we can never accept anything less than the best in our officers.
At the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C., there is an inspiring quote that says it is not how these officers died that made them heroes, it is how they lived. This week we honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice and those whose lives of service inspire so many.
On behalf of the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, we thank the many men and women across the nation who have served and are continuing to serve today, and we also thank those in our community for their tremendous support. A community is defined not only by the actions of those expected to serve, but even more so by the actions of those who serve when they see a need. As we recognize the heroes among us this week, we are grateful as well for the many community partnerships we share that make Hanover County a great place to live, work and raise a family.
Colonel David R. Hines