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Peace Officers Memorial Day – May 15

Posted by Secretary Elaine L. Chao

On Tuesday, May 15th, 20,000 officers, survivors of the fallen and guests will gather at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol for the 37th Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service. This poignant service includes a reading of the Roll Call of Heroes, which will commemorate law enforcement officers who perished last year. Their names will later be added to the Wall of Remembrance at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. 

These solemn ceremonies and memorials help ensure that our nation forever remembers the brave men and women in blue who made the ultimate sacrifice. In 2017, 129 law enforcement officers died serving in the line-of-duty. Nearly 17,000 were injured. The fallen men and women were, on average, 42 years old, had served for 13 years and left behind two children. 

But there is nothing average about the profession these men and women chose. Law Enforcement Officers are trained to, if necessary, run toward danger to save others. Truth is, that heroic impulse is something most officers come by naturally and what drew them to the profession in the first place. Law enforcement officers and their families make these uncommon sacrifices so that they can protect and serve the rest of us.  We should remember that more often.       

While overall law enforcement fatalities have been decreasing in recent decades, traffic-related fatalities have been increasing. To better understand why this is occurring, NHTSA periodically analyzes the surrounding conditions and potentially causative factors of fatal motor vehicle crashes involving law enforcement officers. The information from these and other studies are then used in officer traffic safety programs to help reduce crash fatalities and injuries.     

I hope you will join me this week in remembering the fallen, their families and their colleagues.  Please keep them in our thoughts – and our hearts -- during National Police Week and every week.