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Cover Story

Remembering the Fallen

National Police Week activities again draw thousands to Washington, D.C., pay tribute to America's law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.

July 01, 1999  |  by Dennis Hall

Approximately 15,000 survivors, officers and friends attended National Police Week events in the nation's capital during mid-May. Held primarily at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, the week-long tribute to the nearly 15,000 peace officers killed in the line of duty since 1794, included a candlelight vigil, wreath-laying ceremony, seminars and a breakfast sponsored by the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) for the Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS).

Meanwhile, thousands of other survivors and friends remembered fallen officers in varied ceremonies and services elsewhere across the country.

During May, 312 new names were added to the national memorial, 156 belonging to federal, state and local officers killed in 1998. Of those 156, 63 were shot, 48 died in auto accidents, 15 were struck outside their vehicles, nine died of job-related illnesses, seven drowned, four died in motorcycle accidents, four perished in aircraft accidents and six died from other causes.

Last year's death toll of 156 officers compares to 160 in '97 and 132 the previous year.

"Since crime began its steady downward slide in 1992, more than 1,100 federal, state and local officers have lost their lives in the performance of duty," said Craig Floyd, chairman of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

"That averages out to 158 police deaths each year," he added.

POLICE contributing photographer Terri Cavoli was on assignment for the magazine in Washington, D.C., the entire week and was one of the few photojournalists allowed access to certain memorial activities. Her tasteful, professional work on this page and our cover this month, is a deeply grim reminder to all of us that on average, every 54 hours, a peace officer in this country is making the ultimate sacrifice to serve and protect.


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