Tuesday, May 19, 2009

And the Winner Is ....

Congratulations to Lieutenant Anthony Greathouse of the New Jersey Department of Corrections! He purchased the winning raffle ticket for the 2009 Harley-Davidson FLHTCU Peace Officers Special Edition motorcycle.

A 25-year veteran of the Corrections Department, Lieutenant Greathouse bought three tickets -- including the winner -- on Wednesday, May 13, through the special toll-free number set up by the NLEOMF for raffle ticket purchases. The raffle drawing was held at 5 pm on May 15, at the NLEOMF Visitors Center & Store, 400 7th Street, NW, Washington, DC.

The Memorial Fund thanks everyone who bought raffle tickets this spring in support of the National Law Enforcement Museum. More than 3,300 tickets were purchased at $25 each, raising upwards of $84,000 for the Museum's "Matter of Honor" campaign.

Thanks, also, to Harley-Davidson. In 2007, the company announced it was donating three brand new motorcycles to the Memorial Fund in support of the Museum campaign. Two previous raffles raised approximately $50,000. With the latest raffle, the total has surged to more than $133,500.

Because of their generosity and the support of everyone who purchased tickets for all three Harley-Davidson raffles, the vision of the National Law Enforcement Museum will become a reality in a few short years.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Philadelphia Motorcycle Drill Team Wows DC

They are one of the nation's most renowned police motorcycle drill teams. And they came to DC for National Police Week to honor the four members of their department -- the Philadelphia Police Department -- who were killed in the line of duty during 2008: Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski, Officer Isabel Nazario, Sgt. Timothy Simpson and Sergeant Patrick McDonald, a motor officer with Philly's Highway Patrol, the home of the Drill Team.

While they were here, the Philadelphia Motorcycle Drill Team put on two demonstrations for DC residents and our National Police Week visitors to see. On Friday eveving, the team performed outside Nationals Park in Southeast DC prior to the Washington Nationals-Philadelphia Phillies baseball game. Then, on Saturday morning, with the U.S. Capitol as a fitting backdrop, the team performed again on Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.

Both demonstrations were not only spectacular, but also a fitting salute to their brave colleagues who died last year ... as well as all fallen officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Peace Officers Memorial Day 2009 Wreathlaying

As our nation lowered its flags to half staff on Friday, loved ones and colleagues of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty during 2008 gathered at the US Capitol for a special ceremony.

At the conclusion of the US Capitol service, leaders of the Fraternal Order of Police, the FOP Auxiliary, Concerns of Police Survivors and the NLEOMF brought the wreath from the Capitol to the Memorial to remain under the watch of honor guards from all over the country for the rest of the evening. At midnight, a lone piper will play Amazing Grace as flags are returned to full staff signaling the end of Peace Officers Memorial Day.

Of special note, the Miami-Dade Police Department Honor Guard led the Honor Guards and carried the United States Honor Flag.

Many folks spent the afternoon and evening at the Memorial's walls. There were laughter and tears, handshakes and hugs, lots of blue tape, and thousands of name rubbings. There were flowers galore, setting a beautiful backdrop for mementos such as cigars, boots, and even a cruiser door.

But most importantly, there was one element that was critical and common. Sometimes you had to look hard to see it, yet often it was right in your face ... there was peace.

Whether you were walking the walls, sitting at the reflecting pool or at the Memorial's central medallion, you just knew that our fallen heroes would be "Never Alone, Never Forgotten."

Thursday, May 14, 2009

16th Annual Emerald Society & Pipeband March

They started showing up at the corner of New Jersey Avenue and F Street, NW, even before the designated assembly time of 4:30 pm, and began the process of readying their instruments. Law enforcement pipe and drum corps from across the United States – Jersey City, Detroit, Prince George’s County (MD) and New York State Corrections, among them – were in DC once again.

The sound of bagpipes is a constant throughout National Police Week – at formal events and ceremonies, as well as outside the Irish bars off Capitol Hill and in the Penn Quarter neighborhood. But Thursday was really the day for bagpipes. The 14th Annual Emerald Society & Pipeband March stepped off at 6 pm for the short procession to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Judiciary Square, where there were speeches, remembrances and more bagpipe music.

The Lake County (IN) Pipe and Drum Band was the host unit for this year’s event, and Senator Evan Bayh and Sheriff Roy Dominguez spoke during the ceremony. “Let us not wait until another 9/11 … let us not wait until memorial services such as this one … to say ‘thank you’ to our law enforcement officers,” Senator Bayh remarked.

While bagpipes can be traced back to the Middle East several centuries before the birth of Christ, it was in Ireland and Scotland that the instrument became popular. It was used to signal a death and escort the fallen to the final resting place. During the 14th century, bagpipes could be found in nearly every Irish and Scotch village.

Their strong association with law enforcement in this country developed as Irish-Americans came to play a larger and larger role in American policing. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, law enforcement agencies in the United States were looking to fill their growing ranks, and it was often the Irish who stepped forward. One of the enduring traditions they helped bring to the profession was bagpipe music.

On Thursday at the Memorial, through music and fellowship, hundreds remembered all law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, in particular our brothers and sisters of Gaelic descent.

Honoring Jewish Law Enforcement Officers Killed in the Line of Duty

From Shomrim5.14.2009

In a solemn yet uplifting service, members of the Shomrim Society gathered early Thursday morning at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in honor of Jewish law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.

They said prayers – in English and Hebrew. And Major Jay Gruber, of the University of Maryland-College Park Police Department, sounded the Shofar as part of the Kaddish Service. The Kaddish is a central prayer in the Jewish Prayer Service and often is part of the mourning rituals in Judaism at funerals and memorials.

From Shomrim5.14.2009

Major Gruber, who serves as president of the Shomrim Society of the Washington Metropolitan Area, recounted a recent speech he gave before a group of students on his campus. They were skeptical that being Jewish and a law enforcement officer were compatible. He reassured them that there are plenty of references in Scripture and Jewish tradition to the type of service that is central to law enforcement work.

Sam Miller, of the NYPD and President of the National Shomrim Society, read aloud the names of all Jewish law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty, in the DC region and throughout the country: http://www.nationalshomrim.org/in_memory.php.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Scenes from the 21st Annual Candlelight Vigil

The parade of different uniforms, patches, badges, caps and award ribbons leading into the Memorial grounds is stunning. In many instances, the symbols are legendary: the checkerboard hat band of the Chicago Police Department, the LAPD’s distinctive silver shield, the rising phoenix of the Phoenix PD shoulder patch, the London Metropolitan Police bobby hats. No two uniforms are alike, just as no two agencies are alike.

But on this night, as they prepare for the 21st Annual Candlelight Vigil, their commonalities are greater than their differences – the black mourning bands, the white gloves, and the unmistakable feeling of solidarity and camaraderie.


With motorcycles escorting them, the first buses of family members and loved ones of the fallen officers began arriving shortly after six o’clock. As is tradition, the survivors are given a rose and escorted through a line of uniformed officers at attention to special seating up front. Some of the children wore kid-sized police uniforms. Nearby, volunteers handed out candles and programs.


As a career criminal justice official, as well as the older brother of a retired police lieutenant, Eric Holder understands the importance of protecting our law enforcement officers and honoring those who have fallen in the performance of duty. On Wednesday night, the 82nd Attorney General of the United States led the lighting of candles and read the first names of the 387 newly engraved officers on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC – seven fallen heroes from the state of Alabama.

“Tonight we hold a vigil, but every day we must be vigilant,” he said. Holder was the keynote speaker at the 21st Annual Candlelight Vigil.


Standing adjacent to Panel 40-East, Kelly Gaudet (pronounced Go – Day) recalls one of the happiest days of her life. It was back in late 2000 when she went on a ride-along with her son, Gainesville (FL) Police Officer Scott Baird. She could see how excited Scott was to be a police officer and, despite having just finished his rookie year, how good he was at it. Two months later, Scott was struck and killed by a vehicle as he was trying to remove an obstruction in the roadway – a batting cage stolen from a local high school and left in the road as a prank.

Kelly had always dreamed of being a police officer herself. Following her son’s death she decided to fulfill that dream. With Scott as her inspiration, she now has two years with the Gainesville Police Department – “Scott’s department,” as she calls it. She understands that hers is a compelling human interest story, but even now, at her eighth consecutive National Police Week, she insists that “it’s all about Scott.”


For the first time, people across the country – indeed around the world, including some in England and Ireland – were able to witness the Candlelight Vigil. Through a partnership with Officer.com, the NLEOMF provided a free live videocast of the ceremony in its entirety. Some 4,000 people registered for the online event.

In addition to watching the feed live, people were able to chat with one another and to scroll through the 387 names that were being read aloud by the Attorney General, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, FBI Director Robert Mueller, Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and many others. It was a quiet and respectful conclusion to an evening of great emotion and remembrance.

USA Today Ad: 133 Officers, They shall never be forgotten.

In efforts to help the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial honor America's fallen officers, the USA Today ran this striking ad in today's edition. The ad lists the names of the 133 officers who made the ultimate sacrifice in 2008.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Police Unity Tour 2009 Arrives Safely at the Memorial

It seemed as if the line of blue-uniformed bicyclists would never end. Two-by-two, they cycled up E Street, NW, into the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Tuesday afternoon to the rousing applause of family members, friends and supporters—the final leg of what had been days of cycling over hundreds of miles in honor of their fallen law enforcement colleagues.

Approximately 1,200 officers participated in this year’s Police Unity Tour. Their mission, as always: to raise awareness of officers killed in the line of duty and to raise money for the Memorial Fund and the Hall of Remembrance in the National Law Enforcement Museum. They certainly delivered on both accounts this year.

As they rode past the United States Capitol toward the Memorial under brilliant blue skies, the Police Unity Tour was impossible to miss. And when all was said and done, Unity Tour President Pat Montuore, chief of the Florham Park (NJ) Police Department, and Executive Director Harry Phillips presented the Memorial Fund with a check for more than $1.3 million—the largest annual total ever. It brought the Unity Tour’s total donation to the NLEOMF over the past 13 years to nearly $7 million.

With a motto of “We Ride for Those Who Died,” every member of the Police Unity Tour rides for a fallen officer.

Forty-three members of the Fairfax County (VA) Police Department—including first-time rider Dave Rohrer, their chief, and Captain Cindy McAlister—rode in honor of three members of their agency: Detective Vicky Armel and Master Police Officer Michael Garbarino, who were fatally shot three years ago outside the Sully District Station that Captain McAlister commands, and Lieutenant Frank Stucco, who died in a training accident last October.

Officer Scott High of the Rockaway Borough (NJ) Police Department remembered his father during this year’s ride, a Rockaway Township officer who died in 2004 from non-duty related causes. Scott handed out 1,000 small American flags along the way from New Jersey so that young people would have a more positive attitude toward law enforcement.

Miriam Fernandez, mother of fallen Hollywood (FL) Officer Alex Del Rio, didn’t cycle in the tour, but she was at both the New Jersey kickoff and today’s ceremony, at the invitation of Jim Manley of the NYPD, who was riding for Officer Del Rio. Though her son died just six months ago, she has already established a foundation in Alex’s name to help the children of south Florida.

Officer John Jorgenson of the Roseville (MN) Police Department said he was thrilled to be riding in his third consecutive Unity Tour – and not having his fellow officers ride for him. Last December, he was shot and seriously wounded as he led a regional SWAT team on a high-risk entry. He has undergone seven surgeries on his wrist and hand, and eighth one is scheduled. But having some bullet fragments still in his hand would not deter Jorgy from honoring three officers whose memory bracelets he wore throughout the ride.

If You Can't Make Police Week... by Jim Donahue

What To Do If You Cannot Come

Special Topics Contributor for Officer.com, originally posted on Thursday, April 30, 2009

I've penned a few articles urging the real cops among us to be part of Police Week in D.C. each May. I continue to cling to that belief. Yes, it's a time of honor, respect, recharge, fellowship, and part of the debt of gratitude that we owe to the cops and their families who have endured the greatest of all sacrifices.

Yet, I understand that there are circumstances in a person's life that prevent them from being there. My daughter's college graduation a few years back is an example. There are dozens of valid reasons and this year we've added the burden of a soured economy to the list.

Last year, following one of my articles, I received an email that chided me for attempting to make non-participants feel guilty. The writer reminded me that there are acts and observances in places other than D.C. which give honor to the fallen. He was right.

Reflecting on that, I suppose my backside really gets chafed by cops who let Police Memorial Day (it's May 15th every year) come and go with nary a thought or moment of consideration about its deeper meaning. Ours, being a para-military organization is steeped in honor, tradition, duty, and other core values that are articulated in our Oath. Remembering and honoring the fallen is intrinsically part of being a cop.


There are two points that I'd like to drive home in this writing.

First, one cop can do his duty and pay his respects on his own. And, he needn't travel anywhere to accomplish the mission.

Second, we need to remember those who died - not on duty - but while devoting their lives to the good fight and supporting those who wage that eternal war.


  • If you cannot be in D.C. there are some things you can do right where you are to fulfill that responsibility to The Brotherhood.

  • A single candlestick in your window (electric style) with a lone blue bulb is a silent reminder that speaks volumes. I have had one in my window year around for about ten years. When a neighbor asks its meaning, I explain it them and ask them to keep the fallen officers in their thoughts and prayers.

  • May 15th is the day that Congress set aside every year as Police Memorial Day to honor and remember the over 18,000 who have given their lives protecting our way of life. It is a good day to wear a Mourning Band on your badge. When asked why by fellow officers, you have an opportunity to tell The Story.

  • We cannot tell The Story too often. Please remember that.

  • For the first time ever: the Candlelight Vigil (held on May 13th each year), will be streamed to the internet by Officer.com. You can sign up to receive the feed by clicking on this link.

  • You could print out the Police Week announcement from the web. Among other things, it indicates that flags are to be flown at half-staff on Friday, May 15th (0nline Police Week resources). Make sure the responsible people in your department and community know what is expected on that day.

  • Drop a dime to the pastor or event planner at your church. Let them know of this time of remembrance and ask to be included or shared with the congregation during that time.

  • The media is always a touchy subject. I realize that some agencies have very strict rules about how contact is made and by whom. Do what you can to let the local media know about this sacred time and ask them to share it with their readers. You can bet the folks in Oakland, CA and Pittsburgh, PA will want to know and participate. These horrible losses have once again raised public awareness and concern for its protectors.

  • Every situation is different. Agencies that have experienced an LODD often have created a memorial and even have a service in their honor. If yours is one that does, make sure you are there.

  • In a prior agency, we had lost three officers in a single incident at a local motel. They were trying to execute a warrant for passing a bad check. All three were killed on that one call. I tried on each shift to drive through the parking lot of that motel and pause for a moment to pay my respects for those who died there.

  • Maybe you have an officer who was laid to rest in a cemetery within your city's boundaries. Possibly you could stop at the grave site. Give that officer a salute for a job well done and indicator that you will not forget.

  • Many states have a statewide memorial service for its fallen officers. This May, the state of Nebraska will dedicate its newly constructed memorial at Grand Island. If you can't make it to D.C., possibly you can make it to a closer location in your home state. Do your best.

  • If your agency or another in the immediate area has lost someone, consider this: Contact the family of the fallen officer. Go by in person. Send a card. Make a telephone call. Send a potted plant. Do something. Many times the family left behind can be struggling, wondering if anyone remembers or cares. Let them know that you do.

  • If you know a working officer who lost a co-worker or worse, a partner, in an LODD: reach out. Let them know you're there with support. It doesn’t matter how long ago it happened. Offer to buy the first beer. Suggest you catch lunch together. Invite them to a game or to go fishing. We cops are supposed to be tough, unfeeling, and hard as rocks. That is a hoax. The pain of losing a co-worker or partner can be overwhelming and last for a very long time. Do not let a brother suffer alone.

  • Do you have an FNG (fabulous new guy) or two in your agency right now? Maybe some that are still in the FTO program? You might even have an academy within arm's reach. Share The Story with them. You might be the first person who has taken the time to share the tradition and all of its meaning with them. Send them an email with a link to the NLEOMF website. (It's available below)

  • We often hear the older guys complaining that the younger ones just don't get it. It is up to us - and only us - to change that. You can start with the current recruit class at the academy. The job does not belong to someone else. No; the job is ours, personally. If you want to know who has responsibility for the future of quality policing, go look in the mirror.


Suggest a moment of silence. It will be about 9:00PM on Wednesday, May 13th when the Final Roll Call of officers will be read. It takes a half an hour or more. This year 387 names will be read; 131 of them were deaths that happened just last year; the remainder is from the annals of history, but no less important. Maybe you can ask for a moment of radio silence in observance of those officers.

Consider having members of your crew assemble somewhere quiet where you might even offer a prayer in remembrance.

Yes, there are things that you can do to show your respect. I am sure that there are many more, but maybe these will trigger an idea or two for you.


Webb was a chief in Vinta Park, Missouri. He died a few weeks ago. No; not in a dramatic gun fight. Chief Webb succumbed to pancreatic cancer. Neither pretty nor drama filled.

Chief Webb was a long-standing supporter and advocate of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and Museum. He worked tirelessly to further its lofty goals. And, according to those who surrounded him, he worked on solving open cases until the day of his death - just as he had done for his entire career.

Now it is unlikely that there will be a movie made about Chief Webb. We probably won't see a monument named in his honor in Washington D.C.

What we will have is a better world, and a better life as cops as the result of Chief Webb and the thousands of other dedicated coppers who have devoted their lives to fighting the good fight and supporting others who do the same. He worked for you and for me. He did his best. He tried his hardest. He was never satisfied nor did he rest on his laurels. He knew things could always be better and was willing to put his sweat and life on the line to earn it - for all of us.


We need to remember and be thankful for them all. Each of them gave everything to make ours a better world and a better life. Though each life ended in its own way, we must remember the engraving on The Wall: It is Not How These Officers Died That Made Them Heroes… Rather, It Is How They Lived.


I can only hope that one day, I might be able to achieve just a fraction of what these warriors have accomplished.

Will you join me?

The Memorial needs financial support from all of us. Think of it like chipping in your share of the beer bill at the end of the shift. You can throw is your $5 (or more) by visiting my NLEOMF web page.

Jim Donahue is a native of the Midwest, getting his education at Michigan State University. He is a certified police officer in Florida and veteran police trainer with over twelve years of instructional experience. His training focuses on safe tactics for officers using in-car computers. In the process of delivering that instruction he’s logged over 12,000 hours of patrol time (equates to more than five years) “riding shotgun.”

During his years in Michigan law enforcement, Jim worked with U.S. Customs & Immigration at the Detroit/Canada border in the year following the attacks of 9/11. He has also worked as a reserve patrolman on the streets of a suburban Detroit community.

Jim has been named an Ambassador for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund in Washington, D.C.

Jim is a competitive bodybuilder, with six contests to his credit.

Monday, May 11, 2009

TV Newsman Recounts the Fallen Officers He Covered

At first, it seemed an unlikely choice for a guest speaker at a law enforcement memorial service: a veteran TV newsman who has built his career covering the police … and not always in a positive light.

But at Monday’s 30th Annual Memorial Service for Washington-area Law Enforcement Officers, Pat Collins of NBC 4 (WRC-TV) did not disappoint. Collins spoke passionately and forcefully about the numerous DC-area officers killed in the line of duty that he had reported on over the years.

He said he can’t pass through the intersection of Georgia and Missouri Avenues in Northwest DC without thinking of Metropolitan Police Master Patrol Officer Brian Gibson, who was shot and killed there in February 1997 by a man who had been thrown out of a local nightclub and vowed to kill the next cop he saw. That cop happened to be Brian Gibson, sitting in his cruiser. Collins said he can't go to Forestville, in Prince George's County, Maryland, without thinking of Metropolitan Police Officer Oliver Wendell Smith Jr., who was killed during a robbery outside his apartment complex while off duty.

And Collins said he can never go to MPD Headquarters, where Monday’s ceremony was held, without thinking of MPD Sergeant Hank Daly and FBI Special Agents Martha Martinez and Michael Miller. All three were gunned in November 1994 in the Cold Case Squad room inside the headquarters building. The killer: a gang member seeking to prove that he wasn’t a snitch. The building on Indiana Avenue, NW, was subsequently renamed in Daly’s honor.

After recounting these and other deaths, Collins repeated, “It is important to remember their service and sacrifice. It gives strength and focus to our lives.”

Soon after his remarks, a lone MPD helicopter flew overhead. Then, friends, colleagues and loved ones of fallen officers from the DC area lined up to place white carnations at the Memorial Fountain.

On tap for tomorrow: the Police Unity Tour Arrival Ceremony – 2 pm at the Memorial. For more information about National Police Week 2009, including a complete schedule of events, visit www.nleomf.org/NPW2009.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Law Ride 2009, 14th Annual Ride

For the past two years, Deputy Sheriff Larry Canfield of the Sacramento County, CA, Sheriff’s Office was the one who organized motorcycle cops from his region to come to Washington, DC, to honor their fallen colleagues during National Police Week. This year, sadly, it is Larry Canfield’s fellow motor officers who have come to DC to honor him.

Last November 12th, Deputy Canfield, a 13-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, was pursuing a speeding motorist when another driver made a left turn and rammed into the deputy’s motorcycle. The devoted husband and father of two was pronounced dead at the hospital a short time later.

On Sunday, nearly four dozen motor officers from the greater Sacramento area rode in the 14th Annual Law Ride to honor and remember Larry Canfield. Riding with the Blue Knights, Virginia II Chapter, the northern California officers joined hundreds of other officers and supporters on motorcycles who made the noisy, yet solemn three-mile run from RFK Stadium to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial for a service and wreath laying ceremony there.


The show of support for Deputy Canfield was organized primarily by Sergeant Scott McCartney of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office and the California Governor’s Office of Homeland Security. He is also president of the Western States Motor Officers Association, in which Larry Canfield was active. In addition to two dozen motor officers from the sheriff’s office, the contingent includes members of the municipal police departments in Sacramento, Folsom, Elk Grove, West Sacramento, Citrus Heights and even Carson City, NV.

A truly impressive showing for a truly remarkable law enforcement professional.

Law Ride is the first major event of National Police Week 2009.

Monday: the 30th Annual DC Area Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Service, organized by the Fraternal Order of Police DC Lodge #1 Auxiliary. It begins at 11 AM at the Metropolitan Police Department Memorial Fountain, 300 Indiana Avenue, NW.

For more information about National Police Week 2009, including a complete schedule of events, visit http://www.nleomf.org/NPW2009.

A Mother’s Day without Mom

For 14 children of law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice last year, Mother’s Day 2009 is, sadly, taking place without mom. Their mothers were killed in the line of duty in 2008 serving and protecting the families of America.

Of the 13 female officers who died last year – a near-record total – eight had children: 12 daughters and two sons, collectively. Two of the officers also had grandchildren. Detective Sandra Bullock of the Bushnell (FL) Police Department left behind two daughters and five grandchildren. She died in an automobile accident last August 5th. And Ordinance Officer Kathy Ann Cox of Gordon County (GA) had two daughters, a son and two grandchildren. She, too, died in an automobile accident last August.

Deputy Sheriff Martha Ann Woods-Shareef also died last August after being struck and killed by a pick-up truck driven by a suspect in a burglary she was responding to. The 25-year veteran left behind a daughter.

Two other veteran officers – Isabel Nazario of the Philadelphia Police Department and Kristine Fairbanks of U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service – left behind one daughter each. Officer Nazario died last September 5th after her patrol cruiser was struck by a stolen SUV driven by an underage juvenile. Officer Fairbanks was shot and killed, also in September, while investigating a suspicious vehicle on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state.

In June, Sergeant Barbara Shumate of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice was killed in an automobile accident while returning to her department’s training facility. The 10-year veteran had a daughter and a son.

For the children of two female officers killed in 2008, this is their second Mother’s Day without their moms. Nevada State Trooper Kara Kelly-Borgognone died in February 2008 in a vehicle crash as she was responding to a call involving a possible bomb at a local gas station. She had two daughters. And Investigator Laura Cleaves of the Santa Barbara County (CA) District Attorney’s Office died last May 1 after her vehicle was struck head-on by a fleeing suspect. She, too, left behind two daughters.

All too often, it seems, Americans lose sight of the fact that law enforcement officers are “people” too – husbands, wives, fathers and, as more women enter the law enforcement professional, increasingly mothers as well. This Mother’s Day, let’s remember those heroic moms who made the ultimate sacrifice for our safety and protection. And, as we kick off National Police Week 2009, let’s thank and salute all the brave moms – and dads – who continue to serve and protect today.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Dispatch from the Road: Police Unity Tour Members Go the Extra (1,000) Miles

Kevin Whalen is a federal law enforcement officer from Northern Viriginia. A member of the Police Unity Tour, he and a group of fellow cyclists are going above and beyond this year. To help honor fallen federal agents, they are cycling an additional 1,000 miles from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, GA, to the starting point in southern Virginia, where they will do the final 300 miles to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, arriving on May 12 for National Police Week. Here is a dispatch from the road on Day 5 of their ride.

By Kevin Whalen
Police Unity Tour Rider #117
What a "wet" day to bike 98 miles of NC hills, totalling 520 miles over 5 days. 3,000 calories burned, 108 average heart rate, dirty-wet-cold bike and body, and hard rain, wind, and slick roads. This was the breaking day to test your will, determination, physical and mental strength, biking skills, and team work.

I hit the wall right after my bike odometer hit 500 miles at 3:40 pm. It's like running a marathon and hitting your breaking point. The cold rain and wind took its toll on me and the other riders. We took a short break to refuel and power up, and then the rain stopped and the sun started breaking through. It was a miracle for us to finish safely.

The police escorts were awesome, with motorcycles leap-frogging all over us to protect us. One bad wreck happened to one of our riders when we crossed a train track under a bridge that hid dangerous tracks that wiped him out near the end of the pack. His helmet saved his life, cracking from the impact. He walked away with mild cuts and bruises on his elbow.

I am all good now and ready to go tomorrow. We are at our highest elevation in Hillsborough (yes...named after hills), with the hotel at the top of town. Tomorrow will be easier on hills but longer on distance at 118 miles (added 20 to get to nicer hotel with a buffet ;) ). Rain is expected again tomorrow. Pray for us again. Talk to you in Wilson, NC. I attached shot over my shoulder during ride in rain today.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Poignant Prelude to National Police Week

The official start of National Police Week may be five days away, but you wouldn’t know it from the impressive collection of bagpipers, Honor Guard units, horse mounted officers, clergy, news crews and supporters gathered outside St. Patrick Catholic Church in Northwest DC on Tuesday just before noon. They were there for the 15th Annual Blue Mass, to pray for those in law enforcement and fire safety, remember those who have fallen, and support those who serve.

Law enforcement leaders from throughout the DC region were in attendance: DC Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier and most of her Command Staff; Chiefs Roberto Hylton of Prince George’s County (MD), Tom Manger of Montgomery County (MD), and David Rohrer of Fairfax County (VA); Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terry Gainer; and many other federal, state and local officials. They stood at attention as more than a dozen Honor Guard units – several of them carrying the NLEOMF flag – processed down G Street, NW, under a huge American flag hung by the DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department between two hook-and-ladder trucks.

As is tradition, the Archbishop of Washington, the Most Reverend Donald Wuerl, completed the procession outside, then served as principal celebrant and homilist to a standing room only congregation inside the historic church at 9th & G Streets, NW. Tuesday’s Blue Mass continues a tradition that flourished at St. Patrick, in a slightly different form, from 1934 to 1975. During those years, police officers would congregate annually to pray for their comrades who had fallen in the line of duty and to ask God’s continued blessing for their own safety. The name of the Mass comes from the blue color of police officers’ uniforms.

Back on G Street, a curious bystander stopped to ask a police officer monitoring the intersection what the fuss was all about. The officer replied, simply, “Blue Mass.” The questioner may not have fully understood the answer, but from the grand and uplifting nature of the ceremony unfolding before her, it seemed as if she got the point.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Investing in the Future: Verizon Foundation Awards $1.5 Million to Develop Education Programs at National Law Enforcement Museum

In his role as FBI Agent Martin Fitzgerald on the CBS TV show “Without a Trace,” Eric Close gets into some difficult situations. In the nation’s capital on Monday, Close reminded a group of 8th-grade students who the “real heroes of law enforcement” are: men and women, such as their own School Resource Officer, Paul Lopez of the DC Metropolitan Police Department, who put their lines on the line every day facing real criminals with real weapons … and without the chance for a second take.

Close was in town to help announce a major $1.5 million grant from the Verizon Foundation to the National Law Enforcement Museum to develop educational and interactive technology programs at the Museum set to open in 2013 in Judiciary Square, adjacent to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. The grant was announced Monday morning at Lincoln Multicultural Middle School in Northwest Washington. Since January, Betsy Bowers, the Museum’s director of education and visitor experience, and Officer Lopez have engaged two classes of 8th-graders in a curriculum called Project Citizen. Developed by the Center for Civic Education, Project Citizen teaches young people about the operations of their government and empowers them to make positive change in their communities.

“Through the generosity of Verizon and the partnership we are announcing today, the Museum will be able to dramatically expand and enhance the type of meaningful, leading-edge educational programming we offer to young people and their families,” said NLEOMF Chairman and CEO Craig W. Floyd.

For example, the grant will support “What’s in the Evidence?,” a standards-based school age educational program, which will help students learn how to use clues and solve cases presented by National Law Enforcement Museum exhibits. This program will be enhanced by a host of online materials that can be used by teachers and students, all supported by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a content partner of the Verizon Foundation’s Thinkfinity.org initiative. The grant will also fund domestic violence awareness, prevention and education programs in the Museum and in the community.

Representing Verizon at the announcement were Patrick Gaston, President of the Verizon Foundation, and Mike Mason, a former high-ranking FBI official who now serves as Chief Security Officer for Verizon Communications. At-Large DC Councilmember Phil Mendelson, who chairs the Committee on Public Safety, and MPD Assistant Chief Peter Newsham, who oversees investigations, also took part.

But it was Eric Close who the students really had come to see. He asked the young people about the problem-solving projects they were working on through Project Citizen, and he heard some innovative ideas—such as installing surveillance cameras near liquor stores that sell to underage minors and expanding recycling efforts to reduce trash and the crime and disorder that usually follow it.

Most of all, Close encouraged the young people to set their sights high—whether that means becoming an actor, a law enforcement officer or the President of the United States. And because they are Museum education pioneers, Eric got Craig Floyd to commit to having the students participate in the Museum’s groundbreaking in the fall of 2010.

Read the news release announcing the grant.

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Typo in History: Corrected Spelling of 1st Fallen El Paso Officer Engraved on Memorial

Thomas Moad was the Assistant City Marshal for the El Paso (TX) Police Department in 1883. On a hot July afternoon that year, he was called to quell a disturbance at a local brothel. Arriving on the scene, he encountered an unruly patron and a struggle ensued. Marshal Moad was shot and killed, becoming the first El Paso Police officer to die in the line of duty.

When the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial was being designed, the NLEOMF asked law enforcement agencies to send lists of their fallen officers. When Marshall Moad’s name arrived, it was spelled incorrectly as “Mode,” instead of “Moad,” based on records that were available at the time. And, regrettably, that it how his name was engraved.

In 2008, Shane Moad, a descendant of Marshal Moad, realized the mistake and contacted Bobby Holguin of the El Paso Municipal Police Association and Ron De Lord of the Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas to see if he could help get the name corrected on the El Paso and Texas law enforcement memorials. Mr. Holguin, in turn, forwarded the information to the NLEOMF Research Department, which began looking into the matter. With the help of Shane Moad, NLEOMF researchers were able to obtain copies of Thomas Moad’s service records, which correctly stated his name and title.

On Saturday, April 25, 2009, the name of Thomas Moad—spelled M-O-A-D—was permanently inscribed in the wall of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC. The new location of his name is Panel 26-East, Line 26. We are proud to correct this typographical error of history and to properly identify and honor Thomas Moad.

Video: Special Engraving Ceremony for Phila. Officers

Watch video of the special engraving ceremony of four Philadelphia officers, held at 1 p.m., on April 29, 2009. The Philadelphia Police Department and friends and family of Sergeant Stephen Liczbinski, Sergeant Patrick McDonald, Sergeant Timothy Simpson and Officer Isabel Nazario attended the moving ceremony.