In 1962, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed the calendar week of May 15 as National Police Week. Established by a joint resolution of Congress in 1962, National Police Week pays special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others.
So far this year, 35 police officers have died in the line of duty. U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) spoke about some of those officers from Ohio who have given their lives in the line of duty.
“Every single day, our police officers bravely risk their safety for our safety, their lives for our lives,” Portsman said. “They stand between innocent people and danger, and make it possible for our communities to enjoy peace. I believe that each of us owes them a debt of gratitude and that is why I am sponsoring a resolution to honor those officers who gave up their lives in the line of duty, including Sonny Lee Kim of Cincinnati, Michael Alan Brandle of Jefferson County, Thomas Cottrell of Danville, Steven Smith of Columbus, and Nathan Van Oort of the Ohio University Police Department. During this Police Week, I hope that you will join me in honoring the fallen, and in showing your appreciation to our selfless, everyday Ohio heroes.”
In an exclusive interview with The Daily Times, Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware talked about those who put themselves in harms way every day for citizens in every community across America.
“Throughout our nation’s history, policing has transformed from unpaid volunteer watchmen to a paid professional service provided by men and women who are dedicated to preserving peace and order, protecting their communities from danger and trying to make a difference in the lives of those they are sworn to protect,” Ware said. “They chose their profession, a noble profession, for a variety of reasons but they serve with one purpose; to make a difference in the community for their families and yours. Making a difference requires that officers are able to perform many roles.”
In fact, Ware says officers have so many roles in today’s society that we sometimes forget the importance of their presence, the professionalism and valor displayed day in and day out, rain or shine, 365 days a year to provide community members with a sense of security.
“Imagine for a minute, a society where there is no traffic control, no crowd control, no civic order or rules, and no professional police who put their lives at risk day in and day out so that others can enjoy freedom, safety and security,” Ware said. “There are so many countries around the world where such conditions exist.”
Ware said it is that sense of duty that makes this nation a beacon of hope for so many and it’s the men and women of law enforcement who make that possible.
“Being a police officer means serving a purpose bigger than yourself. Officers sacrifice time with family, their healt, and their safety to provide a better life for others,” Ware said. “Unfortunately, some pay the ultimate sacrifice, life itself. Honoring those who lost their life in service to their community will ensure that the loss was not in vain. Honoring those killed in the line of duty will ensure the legacy of American Law Enforcement remains strong and that we are able to attract the best and brightest to don the badge for future generations.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.