(STL.News) – During National Police Week, U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan will honor and recognize the service and sacrifice of federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement. The week will be observed Sunday, May 10 through Saturday, May 16, 2020.
“I want to acknowledge the work performed by federal, state, local and county law enforcement, who often face uncertain and dangerous situations without question and without expectation of thanks,” stated U.S. Attorney Nolan. “The nobility and devotion of those in law enforcement is on full display during the pandemic, as our brave women and men in uniform take on added risks associated with the virus to keep all of us safe. We want them to know they have our unwavering support and appreciation. The Green Mountain State is an extraordinarily attractive place to reside, and that is due, in no small part, to the tireless efforts of officers at all levels of law enforcement to keep us safe. Quietly and consistently, they put themselves in harm’s way to protect their communities, running toward danger when others are trying to escape it. They make decisions every day to stand on the front lines of our campaigns to combat violence, unlawful firearms activity, drug trafficking, and other dangerous crime, and during this challenging time, they shoulder additional and serious health-related risks. This is a tremendous daily sacrifice – on the part of officers, to be sure – but also on the part of their families and loved ones, who support them and hope for their safe return home each day. Some never make it home from shift, and this week we honor those fallen in the line of duty, who made the ultimate sacrifice to keep us safe. We must never take for granted their sacrifices and their heroic work.”
In 1962, President Kennedy issued the first proclamation for Peace Officers Memorial Day and National Police Week to remember and honor law enforcement officers for their service and sacrifices. Peace Officers Memorial Day, which every year falls on May 15, specifically honors law enforcement officers killed or disabled in the line of duty. This week, we encourage Vermonters and citizens across the country to remember and honor those who gave their lives so the rest of us can live peacefully and freely. This National Police Week our nation also celebrates the contributions of law enforcement from around the country, recognizing their hard work, dedication, loyalty and commitment to keeping our communities safe. This year the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored law enforcement officers’ courage and unwavering devotion to the communities they swore to serve.
This year, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial will add 135 names to the national memorial wall for those killed in the line of duty in 2019. Fortunately, Vermont did not lose any law enforcement officers in the line of duty in 2019, but they risk their lives every day to promote justice and public safety. Due to COVID-19 the national and state memorial ceremonies have been cancelled ; however, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund will host a virtual candlelight vigil on May 13 at 8:00pm to recognize those who will be added to the memorial wall in 2020.
During National Police Week, we also seek to raise awareness relating to officer mental health and wellness. The law enforcement profession is deeply stressful, causing officers to suffer increased rates of heart disease, divorce, alcohol abuse, and major psychological illnesses such as acute stress disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and other anxiety disorders. Officer suicides reached 228 in 2019, up from 172 in 2018. Stigma and fear of job loss can present barriers to seeking help. We are here for you and want you to seek the help you have earned.