U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson Recognizes the Service and Sacrifice of Law Enforcement during National Police Week

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

In honor of National Police Week, United States Attorney Clint Johnson recognizes the service and sacrifice of federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement. This year, the week is 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.”

“During National Police Week, we pay tribute to the brave men and women of law enforcement serving in communities across our Nation. I want to thank our law enforcement partners on behalf of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their commitment to the betterment of our communities and to the safety of their fellow citizens,” said U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson. “We also honor the courageous and dedicated officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to the American people. Their selfless devotion will not be forgotten.”

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[1] 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. 

Approximately eleven Oklahoma officers died in the line of duty in 2021 according to the Officer Down Memorial Page and Oklahoma Law Enforcement Memorial Page. Officers include Sergeant Frank Rodriguez of the Midwest City Police Department; Patrol Officer Howard Kritzer Smith III and Patrol Officer Edgar “Buddy” Pales, Jr. of the Owasso Police Department; Sergeant John Lee Trout Sr. and Police Officer Matthew Ryan North of the Bernice Police Department; Sergeant John Arthur Harris II of the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office; Police Officer Lewis Franklin Cantey of the Grand River Dam Authority Police Department; and Corporal Kyle Jeffrey Davis Washington County Sheriff’s Office. The Oklahoma Law Enforcement Memorial page also includes Deputy Sheriff Ray Lee Jacomo Jr. of the Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Office; Detention Officer Steven Rozell of the Washita County Sheriff’s Office; and Investigator Lewis Roller of the District 6 District Attorney ‘s Office.

As part of National Police Week, U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson and Law Enforcement Coordinator Chris Witt will attend several memorial ceremonies honoring fallen officers in northeastern Oklahoma.

U.S. Attorney Johnson will speak at the Bartlesville Police Department and Washington County Sheriff’s Office memorial on May 18 at noon. He previously attended the Tulsa Police Department memorial on May 7.

Witt will represent the U.S. Attorney’s Office at multiple  memorial ceremonies:

– National Law Enforcement Memorial Week, Washington DC – 11-17 May

-Bartlesville Police Department/Washington County Sheriff’s Office – May 18

-Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office – May 19

-Oklahoma Law Enforcement – May 20

-Oklahoma City Police Department – May 20

-Witt previously attended the Tulsa Police Department memorial.

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.

Additional LEOKA statistics can be found on FBI’s Crime Data Explorer website for the LEOKA program.