Photo by Elaine Rackley
President Obama called on governors of the United States and officials of its other territories to direct that the flag be flown at half staff on “Peace Officers Memorial Day,” May 15. The flag is pictured at half staff at the Henry County Courthouse on the McDonough Square in observance of “Peace Officers Memorial Day.”
This week has been set aside to pay tribute to the thousands of men and women who serve as peace officers, and to remember those who have given their lives in their profession.
“This is a bittersweet time of the year,” said Henry County Police Chief Keith Nichols. “We honor our officers that have given their lives in the line of duty. Officers know that every time they put the uniform on, they may end up giving the ultimate sacrifice. We think of our friends and loved ones that are no longer with us, and the hurt and sorrow that we still feel. I sincerely thank each and every officer that put their lives on the line every day and pray for their safety,” the chief added.
President Obama designated May 15 as “Peace Officers Memorial Day,” and the week in which it falls as “Police Week.” He has called upon all Americans to observe this week with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
“We are glad that President Obama is recognizing police officers this week,” said McDonough Police Chief Preston Dorsey. “Most officers serve with pride and dignity. We are proud of all of the officers who wear the badge in Henry County.”
Obama said every day, public safety officers work tirelessly to protect residents, enforce laws, and keep neighborhoods safe. Police officers report for duty knowing full well the dangers they face and the sacrifices they may be called upon to make, he said in an official statement acknowledging all peace officers.
“It is with great privilege that I can be part of the City of Locust Grove as we pay honor to all the Peace Officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty,” said Locust Grove Police Chief Jesse Patton. “As I reflect on memories of officers I have had the honor and privilege to work with in past years, it is with a heavy heart I say thank you for your service to our communities and country. I’m proud to say I support the National Peace Officers Memorial Day, and all the families who have lost a peace officer in the line of duty.”
“I have gone to a lot more funerals than I care to,” said Hampton Police Chief Rad Porter. “According to FBI statistics, there were more police officers being killed in the line of duty in the Southeast per capita, than any where else in the country.”
Porter said it used be that officers were killed in car accidents responding to calls, but over the past few years that has changed. Now more are killed by gunfire.
“We’ve been real fortunate we’ve never lost one in the line of duty, since the Hampton Police Department was formed.” Porter continued. “My hearts go out to all of the families of the fallen officers. Where else do you go to work wearing a bulletproof vest, other than military? It’s really sad if you stop and think about it. Police officers are a different breed. You have to be called to this job. It’s a calling; it’s not something you just do. You find out real quick if you are cut out for it.”
Police officers can never fully be repaid for their services, Obama said. He encouraged U.S. residents to work to ensure law enforcement officers are equipped with the tools and technology they need to do their jobs safely and effectively.
“My administration has devoted significant resources to improving officer safety, providing bulletproof vests that have saved lives, training officers to prevent and survive potentially lethal encounters, and strengthening our ability to share information,” Obama said. “We also continue to pursue our goal of deploying a nationwide wireless network for public safety. For the first time, this new system will give our nation’s police officers, and first responders, a dedicated communication network in times of crisis.”