Held in the month of May every year, National Police Week is marked in remembrance of those police officers who made the ultimate sacrifice while in the line of duty, and in honor of the gallant officers who stake their lives every day to protect residents of their communities. Activities involved in National Police Week are centered on Peace Officers Memorial Day which is marked on the 15th of May in every year since 1962 when it was instituted by President John F. Kennedy. Hence, any week within which this date falls is recognized as National Police week for the given year.
An important highlight of this Week is the Memorial Service held every year since 1982 which is sponsored by the Grand Lodge of The Fraternal Order of Police. This service is a gathering of survivors, serving law enforcement officers, and supporters of law enforcement. This is a massive event which usually gets attendance in excess of tens of thousands.
Other activities held during this week include:
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- A candle light vigil in memory of officers who died in the line of duty. This event is usually sponsored by National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial fund (NLEOMF)
- Seminars and relevant workshops usually sponsored by Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S).
- The National Police Survivors Conference. Also sponsored by C.O.P.S, this is used as a medium to help surviving family and close acquaintances of late police officers learn how to cope with the challenges involved in losing a loved one.
This event, traditionally held in Washington DC, has assumed so much importance that it is attended not only by delegates from all departments throughout the United States, but also those from law enforcement agencies in different parts of the world. Daily receptions are held every afternoon and evening throughout the week. The receptions are usually sponsored by the Fraternal Order of Police DC Lodge #1.
The importance of holding such an event in memory of the fallen heroes of society cannot be overemphasized. Between 130 to 170 officers are killed in the line of duty every year, leaving their families and colleagues to cope with the trauma associated with such a tragic loss. Thus, the need to ensure the sustainability of the program so that those left behind by the gallant officers can have access to a community that will readily embrace and help them to overcome their grief. C.O.P.S, which is a nonprofit specially formed by and for members of this unique community encourages people to join the. Joining is free.