Police Memorial Day is every May 15th and the week surrounding that day is deemed “National Police Week.” This year, National Police Week is May 14 – May 20, 2017. Aside from the National Police Memorial held on May 15th, there will be several local and state police memorials conducted the entire month.
On Monday, May 22, 2017, Riverside County law enforcement agencies and surviving family members will remember those peace officers who died in the line of duty. This solemn ceremony at the “Safe in His Arms” memorial statue, located at 4102 Orange Street, in Riverside (Map), will begin at 5:45 p.m. with a Memorial Run. The community is invited to attend and honor the service and sacrifice of law enforcement.
A Memorial Run will begin promptly at 5:45 p.m. The run is a moderate jog, for all ages, approximately 2 miles long. Early arrival is encouraged. All participants are asked to meet in the front of the “Safe in His Arms” statue.
The ceremony will begin immediately following the run, at 6:15 p.m. The ceremony will include a multi-agency helicopter fly-over and a fallen officer tribute. Fallen officer names who will be added to the current list of Fallen Officers in Riverside County include Lesley Zerebny and Jose “Gil” Vega, 2016, from Palm Springs Police Department.
The “Safe in His Arms” memorial statue was first dedicated in May of 1983. Each year, the month of May is significant in which peace officers across the Nation pay homage to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in law enforcement during National Police Week.
About National Police Week
National Police Week (NPW) held each year in Washington, D.C. honors the service and sacrifice of U.S. law enforcement officers. On May 11 and 12, surviving families and co-workers begin arriving in Washington, D.C. for the week-long events.
The first major event is the Candlelight Vigil hosted by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) on May 13. The service begins at 8:00 p.m. with the newly engraved names being read.
Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) hosts the National Police Survivors’ Conference on May 14 and May 16 at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center, the host hotel. The conference includes breakfast, lunch, guest speakers, debriefing sessions and a Kids/Teens program for the surviving children and siblings of the fallen officer. On May 16 the conference closes with a Picnic on the Patio night where dinner is provided with games, music and more. This allows survivors to relax and be with each other after a stressful week.
The Fraternal Order of Police and Auxiliary hosts the National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service on the west front lawn of the U.S. Capitol on May 15. The surviving family members will have an opportunity to place a flower in a wreath honoring their fallen officer. The service begins at 11:00 a.m. and will last about 2 hours.
History of National Police Week
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed Public Law 87-726 designating May 15 as Peace Officers’ Memorial Day, and the week in which May 15 falls as National Police Week. The law was amended by the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, Public Law 103-322, signed by President Bill Clinton, directing that the flag of the United States be displayed at half-staff on all government buildings on May 15 each year. While the actual dates change from year to year, National Police Week is always the calendar week, beginning on Sunday, which includes May 15.