Police Week forges strong partnership

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- President John F. Kennedy signed Public Law 87-726 on October 1, 1962 declaring May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week containing May 15 as National Police Week.

Today, National Police Week is celebrated across the United Stated and by security forces units abroad to commemorate and honor those who serve as law enforcement officers. It also pays tribute to fallen officers.

Every 57 hours a law enforcement officer gives his or her life. More than 56,000 law enforcement officers are assaulted each year, resulting in over 16,000 injuries, all from perfect strangers. Since 1950, 177 security forces Airmen have lost there lives in the line of duty while forty-nine of those, lost there lives doing home station requirements. The remaining 138 lost there lives in overseas campaigns serving as Air Police in Korea through Security Forces supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In Alaska, 42 civilian Law Enforcement officers have given their lives since entering statehood. In total, over 19,074 law enforcement officers nation-wide have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the United States military or their civilian communities.

While police agencies may have celebrated National Police Week at the local level years ago, today there is a new heightened awareness of National Police Week. Concerns of Police Survivors, Inc. distributes a half million blue ribbons for law enforcement agencies to tie to their car antennas to call national attention to this day; numerous police organizations hold memorial services locally, regionally, and on a statewide level during that week; police departments may have open houses and SWAT team demonstrations to promote National Police Week.

Furthermore, as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, President Bill Clinton signed a law directing the flag of the United States on all government buildings be displayed at half-staff on May 15, National Peace Officers' Memorial Day.

This year your Eielson AFB security forces Airmen will celebrate National Police Week with a variety of events starting May 12 and lasting through May 17.

The week will start with vehicle safety checks at the natural resources parking lot adjacent to the AAFES gas station, followed May 13 at the Main Exchange with a police vehicle and weapons display, car seat safety check and a military working dog and "red-man" demonstration. May 14 will be the Warrior Challenge, a series of physical events to test one's endurance and stamina as people compete in events as a five-person team. May 15, security forces Airmen will travel to the Fairbanks Police Department for the police service memorial. May 16 will go off with a bang with a law enforcement pistol competition at combat arms firing range. Police week ends May 17 with security forces Airmen participation in the Law Enforcement Torch Run in Fairbanks to support Special Olympics Alaska.

Over the last several years, the main purpose of Police Week has been to forge stronger partnerships between police officers and the communities they serve. All in all it is one week during the year when law enforcement honors their fallen officers.