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Bob Parker

Bob Parker

Lt. Robert Parker served with the Omaha (Neb.) PD for 30 years and commanded the Emergency Response Unit. He is responsible for training thousands of law enforcement instructors in NTOA's Patrol Response to Active Shooters courses.

Doug  Wyllie

Doug Wyllie

Doug Wyllie has authored more than 1,000 articles and tactical tips aimed at ensuring that police officers are safer and more successful on the streets. Doug is a Western Publishing Association “Maggie Award” winner for Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column. He is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers’ Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

Jose Medina

Jose Medina

Officer Jose Medina is an active member of the Piscataway (N.J.) Police Department's SWAT team and runs Awareness Protective Consultants (Team APC) tactical training.

National Police Memorial Week: Never Forget

Memorial services for our fallen brothers and sisters can bring us together and make us stronger.

May 13, 2009  |  by Robert O'Brien - Also by this author

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy designated May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day, and the week of May 15 as National Police Week. And in 1991, President George H.W. Bush dedicated the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Today, there are more than 17,500 names inscribed on the Memorial, with additional names being added this week, and each subsequent May 15. According to the latest numbers from the Officer Down Memorial Page, 134 officers died in the line of duty in 2008, and 46 more so far in 2009.

May 10–16, 2009 is National Police Week, with May 15 marking the 28th Annual National Peace Officers Memorial Day Service. Thousands of LEOs from throughout the United States will be in our nation's capitol to honor our profession's fallen heroes.

Thousands more LEOs will be attending similar ceremonies in every state and many communities across the U.S. A fitting timeout to honor our fallen brother and sister officers who died in the line of duty.

California has been honoring its fallen officers since 1977, and the California Peace Officers Memorial was dedicated in 1988, in the state capitol of Sacramento. The 2009 memorial ceremony was held May 8, with the latest names solemnly added to the list of fallen California peace officers.

Across the country, in Cleveland, Ohio, the Greater Cleveland Peace Officers Memorial Society is holding its 24th annual memorial commemoration, with a memorial parade and ceremony to take place May 15.

I'm familiar with this annual event, which attracts thousands of police participants from the U.S. and Canada. The day after, this year's Tatoo will feature pipes and drum corps from the NYPD Emerald Society, Ottawa Police, Chicago PD Emerald Society, Cleveland PD, Boston Police Gaelic Column, and the U.S. Marine Corps Quantico Band.

May 14, the Cleveland Police Department holds its annual ceremony honoring the more than 100 CPD officers whose badges adorn the agency's "Badge Case."

There are numerous other equally impressive police week memorial dedications and services throughout the U.S. All these police memorial ceremonies serve to remind the public that ours is a profession that protects and serves them—sometimes at a great price to ourselves.

Many, if not most, of us have lost fellow officers in the line of duty, and have attended more than our share of funerals. I know I have. Attending even one police funeral leaves an indelible mark on us—knowing that it could easily be us instead.

Law enforcement deaths could easily weaken our profession's resolve to protect and serve. However, the exact opposite is true. Instead of weakening us, our thin blue line strengthens into a solid steel band of brothers. We may bend, but we will never break.

All of those who serve in law enforcement are owed a debt of gratitude and respect by the public you serve so selflessly. I, for one, honor and admire your dedicated service, and always have. I'm one of you, and have seen you in action many times during my own career. And you have never failed to impress and awe me with your unwavering courage.

As Lt. Col. Dave Grossman says, you are society's sheepdogs, and you willingly and selflessly protect your flock—with your lives if necessary. You are our nation's domestic warriors and heroes. And I thank you for your continuing dedication and service.

Stay Safe!!

Comments (3)

Displaying 1 - 3 of 3

David Moore S-55 @ 5/13/2009 6:59 PM

Sgt Robert O'Brien (Bob)... Thank You! For your service and the men and woman who serve daily now and in the past, in the unknown zone-walk in safety we need you!! EXCELLENT Article!! I know I will never forget- It was Law Enforcement that saved our family in the (60's) from a very violent father who when he was drinking relived the Korean war from out of a bottle - Last time I saw Biological father was 1965...When he tried to stab my mother this was the final act before divorce. Back then VA, DOD did not have very good programs in to help in transition to civilian life and many just sucked it up. I also served in the military and public safety (Federal side Intel) after - our great country for 20 years as well and a privilege it was! Law Enforcement has the see the same suffering and pain daily on how really ugly humans treat fellow children, woman, and man without a doubt special folks that do special things daily! I wanted to end this with a great quote from a leader/mentor - (Semper Paratus & Quaere Verum). "Freedom: “Warriors on the other hand, understand that Freedom can never be gained, earned, won or maintained with out sacrifice, so Freedom and Sacrifice can never truly be separated.” – Phil Messina, Modern Warrior Sergeant Dave Moore Ret.

FreeinTX @ 6/1/2009 2:52 PM

Sgt. Bob,

You, and Lt. Col. Dave Grossman make me sick! What is wrong with you?

Listen, it is a terrible tragedy when a good PEACE OFFICER gets hurt or killed in the line of duty. There is no doubt that any time a good cop falls, others are left with an "indelible mark." His friends, his co-workers, his family and his community are all changed and suffer their grievous loss.

However, alot of what you wrote in your article, is simply ego-maniacal BS, spouted from someone who OBVIOUSLY was someone who he now praises. You can tell be reading this article you were once a cop. The fact that you believe we, the "flock," OWE you anything is only topped by you assertion that you are our "sheepdog," a "domestic warrior," and a "hero." GIVE ME A BREAK!!!

First, you are NOT a "sheepdog" and I am NOT part of your or anyones "flock." When or if I need your help, I'll call you, that's what your paid to do. That's how you SERVE the people!!!

How dare you encourage such an offensive mentality or so desire to spread such REDICULOUS rhetoric to younger PEACE OFFICERS who will come after you? And to make matters worse, you mix your BS in with the deaths of REAL cops who gave their lives protecting us in an attempt to steal situational gravity and add weaight to your position.

If you want to compare us to anyone in your little "sheepdog" scenario, then compare us to your SHEPARD. The guy the sheepdogs are supposed to protect and serve, with respect and an understanding of rights, freedoms, and liberties of your masters.
It's an old addage, but it's worth mentioning here. WE PAY YOUR SALARY!!!

more to come

torrezbluefire92 @ 6/7/2009 1:04 AM

To all the fallen officers we will never forget all the hard work you put in to keep your comunity safe from crime. We all respect that. MAY YOU ALL REST IN PEACE AND THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU HAVE DONE!!!!!!!

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