Since 1962, every May on the week of the 15th we celebrate National Police Week. It is a time where everyone pays respects to law enforcement members who have lost their lives in the line of duty, as well as honoring those who serve in the present and past.
According to preliminary data compiled by National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), 458 members of law enforcement died in the line of duty. Compared to 295 who lost their lives in 2020, this is a 55% increase. Whether it was due to traffic accidents, shootings or COVID-related illness, last year had the highest total of fatalities since 1930.
Our mission that we keep at the forefront of our minds is to help police officers return home safely every day. We hope that our training can provide not only safer communities but safer members of law enforcement. While we cannot possibly stop every incident from happening, our goal is to reduce the frequency of the unfortunate injuries and deaths of our heroes.
As an annual tradition, NLEOMF schedules various events throughout the week and days prior that engage communities in commemorating officers. One way this is done is through the Annual Candlelight Vigil at the National Mall in Washington, DC. In 2022, this will take place Friday, May 13 at 8:00 pm EST. We believe this is a beautiful way to express appreciation and remembrance.
The staff at VirTra want to express our gratitude to all U.S. police officers for protecting our communities. It is also just as important to remember the lives lost on duty. So, we say once again to all active and retired first responders at local, tribal, state and federal levels: Thank you.
Over 50 years ago, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation that designated May 15th as “Peace Officers Memorial Day”. Congress established that the week that date falls on is Police Week, a time of special recognition to law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty for the safety of others.
In the beginning, this holiday was celebrated by a gathering of 120 or so law enforcement and supporters in Senate Park. Now, tens of thousands of law enforcement officers and supporters worldwide gather together in Washington D.C. to participate in a variety of annual events to honor those who have paid the ultimate price. While many of these events for 2020 have been canceled or postponed due to COVID-19, it is still important to recognize their importance and impact:
Since 1995, the Law Ride and Wreath Laying Ceremony kicked off National Police Week. The first Law Ride was organized by Gary Lyons, a Falls Church Police officer and motorcycle enthusiast. During the first few years, roughly 20-50 riders would attend. Now, the procession often exceeds 1,500 first responders and riders who want to show their support and honor law enforcement. Riders meet at Robert F. Kennedy stadium and drive to the Memorial Site, where the wreath laying ceremony and special presentations occur.
This year marks the 3rd Annual Police K-9 Memorial Service, which is hosted by the National Police Dog Foundation, Courageous Tails, FOP DC Lodge #1 and United for Blue. In the past, attendees participated in a memorial service, which included a wreath laying ceremony to honor fallen police K-9s from the past year. People can still honor these K-9 heroes and keep K-9 units strong by donating online. Donations are used to replace and train K-9s or in the Annual Police K-9 Memorial Service.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and Museum (NLEOM) honors the brave men and women who have fallen throughout the past year with a candlelight vigil. The vigil is a commitment that the fallen will never be forgotten and will receive the honor they deserve.
While the current pandemic prevents law enforcement and supports from physically meeting together in Washington D.C. for the vigil, people can still participate by lighting a virtual candle. On Wednesday, May 13th, the NLEOM will host the 32nd Annual Candlelight Vigil virtually for viewers worldwide.
Throughout Police Week, children and siblings who lost family members to a line-of-duty death can participate in specially-organized activities. In previous years, children were able to interact with those their age who have gone through a similar tragedy, participate in fun social activities and attend optional grief counseling sessions.
The Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service is an opportunity for the public to gather together on the U.S. Capitol grounds. Here, speeches are given by the President and other officials while the crowds listen in and draw strength together.
VirTra honors all the local, state and federal peace officers who made the ultimate sacrifice to keep us all safe from harm. To all active and retired first responders, we say: thank you.
The California Peace Officer’s Association’s COPSWEST Expo 2018 is just around the corner, and VirTra is excited to be a sponsor, exhibitor and to showcase new and exciting products! Here are the basics you should know for VirTra at the COPSWEST:
Who: VirTra is the industry leading law enforcement simulation training company that created the first 300-degree five screen simulator and has since innovated numerous unique training tools and training simulators with a variety of advancements to help your team prepare for the unexpected while keeping everyone safe in a low-risk environment.
What: VirTra is at Booth #907 and will be holding live demonstrations to check out all the new products VirTra is introducing this year. Also, we will have a meeting room available for specific time slots to play out some of our most popular and newest scenarios to be showcased at the booth. Schedule your demo with us here.
When and Where: The COPSWEST Conference is in the Sacramento, CA Convention Center starting September 17th-20th Booth #907 and our latest products will be demonstrated in Room #319 which you won’t want to miss!
Why: The COPSWEST show is a one of a kind gathering for officers up and down the coast to come to learn and are there to collaborate and find the best and brightest ideas to keep their team safe with the right combination of technology and innovation. Learn from our experts and check out the next revelation VirTra has created to help unify your training approach. Will we see you there?