US Attorney Darcie McElwee Joins Others in Honoring Police Week

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

PORTLAND, Maine – Today marks the start of National Police Week, a time to recognize the service and sacrifice of federal, state and local law enforcement. This year, the week will be observed Wednesday, May 11 through Tuesday, May 17, 2022.

“This week, we gather to pay tribute to the law enforcement officers who sacrificed their lives in service to our country,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland. “We remember the courage with which they worked and lived. And we recommit ourselves to the mission to which they dedicated their lives. On behalf of a grateful Justice Department and a grateful nation, I extend my sincerest thanks and gratitude to the entire law enforcement community.”

“I was honored to join with law enforcement from around the state earlier this week for the annual observance at the Maine Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, dedicated to Maine law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty,” said U.S. Attorney McElwee. “It was an opportunity to pay tribute to officers who lost their lives protecting Maine, though this year was made particularly somber with the addition of a new name.”

The Maine Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Augusta includes the names of 88 law enforcement officers. The name of Hancock County Sheriff’s Deputy Luke Gross was added this year after he lost his life while giving assistance to a motorist in Trenton, Maine in 2021.

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. Based on data submitted to and analyzed by the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), 472 law enforcement officers died nationwide in the line of duty in 2021.  Of that number, 319 succumbed to COVID-19.

Additionally, according to 2021 statistics reported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) through the Law Enforcement Officer Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) Program, 73 law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty in 2021 were killed as a result of felonious acts, whereas 56 died in accidents.  Deaths resulting from felonious acts increased in 2021, rising more than 58 percent from the previous year.  In 2021, unprovoked attacks were the cause of 24 deaths significantly outpacing all other line of duty deaths resulting from felony acts and reaching the highest annual total in over 30 years of reporting.  Additional LEOKA statistics can be found on FBI’s Crime Data Explorer website for the LEOKA program. 

The names of the 619 fallen officers added this year to the wall at the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial will be read on Friday, May 13, 2022, during a Candlelight Vigil in Washington, D.C., starting at 8:00 PM EDT. Those who wish to view the vigil live online, can watch on the NLEOMF YouTube channel found at https://www.youtube.com/TheNLEOMF. The schedule of National Police Week events is available on NLEOMF’s website.

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