National Peace Officers Memorial Day
By: Ron Replogle
MADD National Law Enforcement Initiatives Manager
As many of you know, today is National Peace Officers Memorial Day. Thousands of law enforcement officers and their families are gathered in our Nation’s Capital to honor the fallen officers and to add the names of the 2021 fallen officers to the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. 2021 was the deadliest year on record for fallen officers with 616 reported deaths (Officer Down Memorial Page). Already this year there have been 99 reported line of duty deaths. All time there have been 25,754 line of duty deaths.
Below is the Enactment and Joint Resolution from the 87th Congress of the United States of America and signed by President John F. Kennedy on October 1, 1962, designing today as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and this week as Police Week. The words in this joint resolution from 1962 have never been truer and more appropriate than they are today.
MADD’s relationship with the local, regional, state, and federal law enforcement communities is critical to MADD’s mission. You keep our communities and roadways safe. In doing so, you put yourselves in danger daily – and some pay the ultimate price. Forty-four percent of the officers killed in the line of duty last year were killed in traffic crashes. That is why MADD supports you, our heroes, who keep us safe.
Since its founding in 1980, MADD has supported and worked closely with the law enforcement community to further its mission and create a world of NO MORE VICTIMS.
We thank you for your selfless service and wish you the best in health and safety in the remaining years of your career.
Stay safe out there!!
The holiday was created on October 1, 1962, when Congress authorized the president to designate May 15 to honor peace officers. John F. Kennedy signed the bill into law on October 1, 1962. The proclamation signed by President Kennedy read:
87th Congress of the United States of America
Joint Resolution 76 Stat. 676.
To authorize the President to proclaim May 15 of each year as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week of each year during which such May 15 occurs as Police Week.
Whereas the police officers of America have worked devotedly and selflessly on behalf of the people of this Nation, regardless of the peril or hazard to themselves; and
Whereas these officers have safeguarded the lives and property of their fellow Americans; and
Whereas by the enforcement of our laws, these same officers have given our country internal freedom from fear of the violence and civil disorder that is presently affecting other nations;
Whereas these men and women by their patriotic service and their dedicated efforts have earned the gratitude of the Republic: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the President is authorized and requested to issue proclamations (1) designating May 15 of each year as Peace Officers Memorial Day in honor of the Federal, State, and municipal officers who have been killed or disabled in the line of duty, (2) directing the officials of the Government to display at half-staff the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on such day, as provided by section 3(m) of the Act of June 22, 1942 (Chapter 435; 56 Stat. 377; 36 U. S. C. 175), (3) designating in each year the calendar week during which such May 15 occurs as Police Week, in recognition of the service given by the men and women who, night and day, stand guard in our midst to protect us through enforcement of our laws, and (4) inviting the governments of the States and communities and the people of the United States to observe such day and week with appropriate ceremonies and activities, including the display at half-staff of the flag of the United States.
Approved October 1, 1962.
To pay tribute to the law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and to voice our appreciation for all those who currently serve on the front lines of the battle against crime, the Congress, by a joint resolution approved October 1, 1962 (75 Stat.676), has authorized and requested the President to designate May 15 of each year as “Peace Officers Memorial Day,” and the week in which it falls as “National Police Week” and by Public Law 103-322 (36 U.S.C. 175) has requested that the flag be flown at half-staff on Peace Officers’ Memorial Day.