WYOMING — National Police Week is being observed from May 11 through May 17 this year, aligning with Peace Officers Memorial Day, which falls on May 15 each year.

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, specifically honors law enforcement officers killed or disabled in the line of duty.

“Our office joins the entire nation in honoring law enforcement officers across the country for their service and sacrifice in keeping our communities safe,” stated United States Attorney Bob Murray. “We recognize the commitment of Wyoming’s law enforcement partners who often place themselves in harm’s way to protect us at all times. They, and their families, have our untiring support.”

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.

“This week, we gather to pay tribute to the law enforcement officers who sacrificed their lives in service to our country,” said U.S. 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.”

The names of the 619 fallen officers added this year to the wall at the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial will be read today, May 13, during a Candlelight Vigil in Washington, D.C., starting at 8 p.m.

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 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.

Those who wish to view the vigil live online, can watch on the NLEOMF YouTube channel.

Lindsay Vallen is a Community News Reporter covering a little bit of everything; with an interest in politics, wildlife, and amplifying community voices. Originally from the east coast, Lindsay has called Wilson, Wyoming home since 2017. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, cooking, and completing the Jackson Hole Daily crosswords.