Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Special Note about the 2011 Memorial Fund Calendar

The Memorial Fund recently released its new 2011 Remember Calendar. Tragically, an officer featured in the month of June took her life in August 2010, after the calendar was in production. Below is a note the Memorial Fund received today from her co-worker, Deacon Robert A. Baker:

My Brothers, Yesterday, I received the new 2011 calendar. When I turned to the month of June my heart stopped. A Police Unity Tour Rider looked back at me. That rider is Jersey City Police Officer Jane Louf. We tragically lost Jane to suicide on August 1, 2010. Jane and I enjoyed a Father/Daughter type relationship. I met her when she became a Hudson County Sheriff’s Officer. No one could miss her, not even in a crowd. She always wore a smile that melted the heart of anyone who looked at her. We never lost contact after her transfer to the Jersey City Police Department.

On that tragic Christmas night in 2005, Jane and her partner chased after Rob and Shawn on the Lincoln Highway Bridge attempting to warn them that the bridge was open. She watched in horror as the ESU truck plunged 45 feet into the water below. Jane’s partner actually had to prevent Jane from jumping off the bridge in an attempt to save them. This and many other tragedies were carried around by Jane for years. Here was a beautiful girl with a beautiful smile who was crying on the inside.

During my first Unity Tour Ride in 2008 I met a mental barrier when we approached the bridge in Delaware. I was convinced that I could not make that bridge. There appeared Jane Louf and Mike Stise, Jane saw in my face that I was ready to quit. She told me “ Put your head down and don’t look up. Keep peddling and I’ll stay with you all the way.” I made it! Nothing was impossible to me over the next three days. Jane and I had a long conversation during the 2010 tour. I was upset that I was not on my bike with my team due to setback and had to settle for a ride in the trailer.

Next thing I knew Jane was in the trailer with me and in distress. God sometimes places people together in strange ways and circumstances. Now I understood why I was off my bike. When I learned of Jane’s suicide I partially blamed myself for not calling her in over a month. I know from my training that I cannot save everyone but I hear her words over and over in my head “I’ll stay with you all the way.” I feel like I did not do the same for her.

I truly believe from what I learned and experienced that suicide by a police officer can sometimes be justified as “In The Line of Duty”. When you do what I do you come to understand that so many officers carry around a lot of job related issues over the years. They are faced with administrations that don’t care about their mental health, peers that look upon them as weak, distrust in municipal programs, fear of losing their jobs. Jane’s name will not be placed on the memorial wall but I take great solace in knowing she was partly responsible in raising the funds for it over the years and seeing her face in the 2011 calendar.

From the bottom of my heart I thank you both and all the staff that work so hard to keep memories alive. May God send you all his Blessings.

Deacon Robert A. Baker, Sr. MBA, CFE
Chaplain, Ambassasdor, Crisis Counselor
Jersey City Police, Hudson County Sheriff

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial

Tomorrow, families across the country will join together, many traveling great distances, to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Unfortunately, far too many will be celebrating without a beloved family member. This year alone 145 law enforcement heroes have been killed in the line of duty, a 45% percent increase from this time last year.

The Memorial Fund expresses our gratitude and thanks for all of America's law enforcement officers, especially heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Officers such as Hector Ismael Ayala of Montgomery County (MD) Police Department. Officer Ayala was responding to a call when his police cruiser crashed into a tree. He left behind a wife, Melissa, and four children, including triplets born in this June, shortly after Officer Ayala's death.

And Officers Brandon Paudert and Bill Evans of the West Memphis (AR) Police Department, who were conducting a routine traffic stop when they were brutally shot and killed. Two other officers were injured trying to catch their killers. Officer Paudert's father, Bob, is the Chief of West Memphis.

Everyday law enforcement officers work to protect and serve the American public. The holidays are no exception;they give up time with their families to protect our travels and ensure our safety. And for this, we are truly thankful.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Remembering Military Police Officers Killed in the Line of Duty

As the nation pauses to honor its military veterans, the Memorial Fund encourages you to remember the 29 men and women killed in the line of duty while serving as law enforcement officers, abroad and at home. The law enforcement connection runs deep with numerous officers serving in both America's military and law enforcement.

This Veterans Day we honor and remember these fallen law enforcement officers:

22-E: 20
40-E: 22
49-E: 17
10-E: 21
19-W: 22
37-E: 25
2-W: 26
48-E: 25
17-E: 23
52-E: 25
40-E: 25
62-W: 20
8-E: 20
48-W: 22
48-W: 20
37-E: 26
45-W: 20
18-E: 20
52-W: 20
46-W: 21
18-E: 21
5-W: 22
61-E: 21
60-E: 21
47-E: 21
14-W: 22
32-E: 22
1-W: 26
1-W: 26

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Department of Justice establishes new VALOR Initiative

At the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Annual Conference earlier this morning, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the Department of Justice's new Preventing Violence Against Law Enforcement and Ensuring Officer Resilience and Survivability (VALOR) initiative and the allocation of $800,000 to development a nationwide training and technical assistance program.

According to the Justice Department, "Every line of duty death is tragic. Not only is there a loss of a hero, there are long-lasting ramifications for families, agencies, and the erosion of public confidence in the safety of their communities."

The VALOR Initiative will train officers how to deal with the "deadly mix" situation of the officer, offender, and the circumstances that brought them together, along with training on identifying concealed weapons, hostage situations, dealing with domestic and international terrorists, and other violent scenarios.

"I applaud the Justice Department for their commitment to officer safety. This news comes on a day when law enforcement fatalities are up 42% from the previous year. We owe it to our law enforcement officers to ensure they are equipped with the best training and assistance," said Memorial Fund Chairman & CEO, Craig W. Floyd.

To learn more about the VALOR Initiative visit:

Monday, October 18, 2010

Race to Remember 2010

On a beautiful Sunday morning, nearly 700 runners gathered at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC for the 3rd Annual, "Race to Remember," organized by the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington, DC and benefiting the Memorial Fund.

Cheered on by family and friends (and bagpipers), runners started and ended the 5k race at the Memorial, passing through the heart of our nation's capital and other historic landmarks, including the Library of Congress, the Supreme Court, and National Mall.

After a mere 16:16 minutes, runner Birhanu Zejeke, age 27, crossed the finish line and won the race with a pace of a 5:14 mile. He was followed closely by Karsten Brown (16:58 minutes), and Antonio Epplito (17:11 minutes). For the women, Katie Schetting, also age 27, finished at 19:07 minutes, with Monica Soto (21:03 minutes), and Cori Sue Morris (21:13 minutes) close behind. (Complete race results are available online.)

Race to Remember was established by the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington, DC to honor the sacrifice of all law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line for our safety and protection by helping to build the National Law Enforcement Museum. The race was a fitting conclusion to the numerous events during the week celebrating the groundbreaking on the National Law Enforcement Museum.

Special thanks to our generous race sponsors - Grand Central Restaurant, Police Federal Credit Union, Rhino Pump House, Leaky Faucet, Town Tavern, DC C.O.P.S. Classic Golf, Safeway, UPS, and Town Danceboutique. The race would not have been possible without the efforts of the Fraternal Order of Police DC Lodge #1, Lodge and MPD Assistant Chief Patrick Burke (whose daughter, Bridie Burke came in second in her age division). Also, thanks to the FBI National Academy, who had an awesome showing of over 90 runners. And, of course, all of the volunteers and runners who came out early on a Sunday morning.

Friday, October 15, 2010

National Law Enforcement Museum Groundbreaking Gala

Last night, after formally breaking ground on the National Law Enforcement Museum in Washington, DC, distinguished guests from the government, corporate, and private sectors, along with law enforcement officers and supporters gathered at the National Building Museum for the Groundbreaking Gala.

Inside the black-tie event, celebrities including Bill Kurtis, Linda Carter, and Vincent D'Onofrio shared their support for the law enforcement community.

Don’t get me wrong. I love portraying a cop on TV. And, I’d like to think I’ve helped our viewers gain an appreciation for the difficulties of the job, and the special talents and qualities it takes to be a law enforcement professional. I know I have tremendous respect for the men and women in policing, but it’s because I’ve experienced it having met many real-life cops. I want others to have that opportunity. That’s why this Museum is so important—it will change the way people think about the men and women who protect us”, said D'Onofrio.

The program also included videos from Target's Chairman, President, and CEO, Gregg Steinhafel and Law & Order: SVU's Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay, along with musical tributes by bagpipers Chris Jackson (Metropolitan Police Department of Washington, DC) and Steve Butterbrodt (Port Authority of NY/NJ Police Department) and Sergeant Michael Devine, and the keynote address by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.

"Homeland security begins with hometown security, and law enforcement play a critical role in keeping communities across our nation safe," said Secretary Napolitano. "The National Law Enforcement Museum will pay tribute to the selfless commitment of the men and women in uniform who serve and protect our homeland."

Boston Police Officer Thomas Griffiths, who was scheduled to speaking at the Groundbreaking Ceremony, shared his family’s story of law enforcement service and honor. On February 2, 1988, Tommy Griffiths' older brother, Detective Sherman C. Griffiths (Boston Police Department), was killed in the line-of-duty while executing a no-knock search warrant. His brother Billy, who had joined the Boston Police Department in 1986, was on duty the night Sherman was killed. Several other Griffiths’ brothers have served or currently serve as law enforcement officers.

"Today we are here to begin another journey, to build a Museum that will not only honor officers killed in the line of duty but it will honor all law enforcement officers and recognize the work that we do. This will be a piece of history that future generations will be able to share and enjoy," said Griffiths

The Griffiths' family story is part of the proud history of American law enforcement and just one of the many stories of our law enforcement heroes that will be told through the Museum. The event culminated an amazing and history day, moving us one step closer to opening the National Law Enforcement Museum in late 2013.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

National Law Enforcement Museum Breaks Ground

Inclement weather did not deter the National Law Enforcement Museum Groundbreaking Ceremony – a much anticipated and rousing occasion – from taking place this morning at 11 a.m., right on schedule despite the obstacles presented by mother nature.

Under rainy skies with umbrellas in hand, members of the U.S. Congress, major corporations, law enforcement officers, supporters and survivors gathered at the future site of the Museum, located across the street from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC. Loyal citizens traveled far and wide to celebrate building commencement of the Museum that will tell the story of American law enforcement through exhibits, collections, research and education.

Ten years ago, Congress authorized legislation to begin planning for the first-ever Museum dedicated to the law enforcement profession. For all involved in the project, the journey has been long and often tiresome. But today, all those efforts have been rewarded, and the once far-reaching dream to honor the men and women of law enforcement has finally been realized, with the goal of opening the Museum in late 2013.

“Almost ten years after Congress authorized this project, and following a lot of hard work, planning and generosity from the law enforcement community, corporate America and caring citizens, we are very excited and eager to get shovels in the ground later this year,” said Craig W. Floyd, Chairman & CEO of the Memorial Fund.

Shortly after shovels formally hit the ground this morning, the crowd processed in a mass of umbrellas across E Street to the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces for an abbreviated ceremony indoors.

United States Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr. gave the ceremony’s keynote address, expressing enthusiasm about the Museum and its goal to help the American people understand the value of law enforcement by highlighting our officers’ service to the community.

When the National Law Enforcement Museum opens in 2013, it will tell a story that no other museum does – of more than three centuries of law enforcement officers protecting their fellow citizens, advancing the cause of justice, and establishing a tradition of service that continues to keep us safe,” said Attorney General Holder.

In his closing remarks, the Attorney General captured the essence of the future National Law Enforcement Museum, as a landmark dedicated to honoring law enforcement officers for their service and endless commitment to protect Americans.

As our nation’s Attorney General, as the brother of a retired Port Authority officer, as a lifelong admirer of law enforcement, and, simply, as an appreciative American citizen – I look forward to the opening of what will be one of our nation’s greatest tributes to one of its greatest treasures: the devoted men and women in uniform who keep this nation safe and who make us all so proud,” he said.

Also speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony were Linda Moon Gregory, National President of the Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS); and retired Det. /Sgt. from the West Orange (NJ) Police Department, Harry Phillips, the Executive Director of the Police Unity Tour, which has raised $5 million for the Museum.

Due to the rainy conditions and a curtailed ceremony, Boston Police Officer Thomas Griffiths, who joined the ranks of law enforcement after his brother, Sherman, was killed in the line of duty, was unable to share his stunning story. He will speak tonight instead, at the Groundbreaking Gala, reception beginning at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m.

More information about the Groundbreaking Ceremony and Gala, to be held tonight at the National Building Museum is available at www.LawEnforcementMuseum.org/Groundbreaking.

Learn more about the National Law Enforcement Museum at www.LawEnforcementMuseum.org.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Jeff Gordon Salutes Law Enforcement at Dover International Speedway

On Sunday, September 26th, 2010, at Dover International Speedway, during the “AA400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race; Jeff Gordon ran a special paint scheme as part of a campaign with DuPont™ to raise awareness of law enforcement safety and support for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. The No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet showcased www.PoliceMuseum.org on both rear quarter panels, along with the Memorial Fund’s Rose & Shield logo on the trunk.

At the DuPont hospitality tent, Jeff Gordon spoke to a crowd of over 500 people about the important role of law enforcement safety and his support for the Museum and the Memorial Fund.

“I hope race fans get excited about this paint scheme ,and the meaning behind it, and go to the www.PoliceMuseum.org web site to see how they can get involved,” said Gordon.

Craig W. Floyd, Chairman & CEO, and John Shanks, Director of Law Enforcement Relations for the Memorial Fund joined special guests Detective David Spicer, Dover (DE) and Investigator Kyle Russel, Alexandria City (VA) who were invited by DuPont. The officers share something in common – they are both survivors, who escaped death by wearing Kevlar body armor made of the bulletproof fibers produced by DuPont.

Detective David Spicer was shot twice while detaining a career criminal and drug dealer in March of 2001 in Dover; losing almost half of his blood volume, before being shot twice more in the chest at close range. Had it not been for Detective Spicer’s Kevlar body armor, he would not have been able to attend the race and share his story.

Investigator Kyle Russel was attacked during a routine traffic stop on a highway outside of Washington, DC, in September 2008. As Investigator Russel approached the vehicle, the driver grabbed a .45 caliber pistol and shot Russel in the chest. When he reported the shooting to police dispatch, he said, “I’m okay. I think the vest got it.”

Gordon hopes the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet helped raise awareness of the importance of law enforcement safety – one of the goals behind the partnership between Gordon, DuPont and the Memorial Fund. He hopes the special paint scheme helped foster support for the National Law Enforcement Museum, which will break ground on October 14, 2010 in Washington, DC; with an expected opening in late 2013.

“I can’t think of a better way to make race fans aware of National Law Enforcement Museum which will salute the bravery of law enforcement officers from all over the country,” Gordon said. “It’s a great way to educate the public on how important it is to keep our police officers safe in such a dangerous line of duty.”

To support the Memorial Fund by purchasing a DuPont/Police Museum branded die-cast car or a commemorative T-shirt, go to www.PoliceMuseum.org.

For more information:




Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering the Law Enforcement Heroes Lost on 9-11

Today, we pause to honor the 72 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty nine years ago on September 11, 2001. We remember not only their heroic sacrifice, but their unflinching courage and devotion to their duty to the protect the American people. September11, 2001 remains the deadliest in law enforcement history and to commemorate the ninth anniversary of the attacks, Attorney General Eric Holder, joined by Board members and staff from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, solemnly read a roll call of fallen heroes before placing a wreath at the Memorial wall. All 72 names are carved continuously on line 23 beginning at panel 9-W and ending on panel 22-W.

In his remarks, Attorney General Holder shared the stories of officers such as Mitchel Wallace, from the New York State Court, who, on his way to work, saw the towers and ran in to the World Trade Center. "When Officer Mitchel arrived at the World Trade Center, which was engulfed in flames and flying debris, he called his fiancĂ©. She frantically urged him to stay away. “It’s an attack,” she declared, “not an accident!” But Officer Mitchel had already made his choice. He simply and resolutely responded: “I have to help.

Stories like Officer Wallace’s are extraordinary but not uncommon for 9-11. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Officer Richard Guadagno was aboard Flight 93 and was one of the passengers who fought to regain control of the airplane from the terrorists. There are countless other stories of officers, off duty, on vacation, rushing to the WTC to help in any way they could.

Officer James Lynch was out on sick leave when he heard the horrific news about the Twin Towers. But he did not hesitate. He phoned his co-captain and announced, “I’m going in.”

Officer David LeMagne, barely one year on the job, was at his PATH post in Jersey City. He was told to stay put. But, citing his training as a paramedic, he asked to be sent into the storm.”

“At the World Trade Center, New York Fire Marshal Ronald Bucca sprinted up 78 flights of stairs – as others around him raced down.”

In closing, the Attorney General shared that, “…for me, for many of you, and for so many Americans, the engravings on this wall are more than names on a memorial. They are smiles, spirits, personalities, moments, first encounters –and last words. They are personal memories etched forever on our hearts. "

Holder’s full remarks are available at http://www.justice.gov/ag/speeches/2010/ag-speech-100911.html.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

"We Run...We Remember"

Nearly 4,400 miles ago, on Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles, CA, 38 firefighters (16 from Australia & 16 from the United States) embarked on a cross-country journey to honor the firefighters, EMS workers, and law enforcement officers who died nine years ago on September 11, 2001. Now, a month after leaving California, the Tour of Duty group arrived in Washington, DC at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial to honor the 72 law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice on 9/11, before setting out on the final leg of their adventure culminating at Ground Zero in New York City.

After brief remarks and a moment of silence, a wreath was placed next to Panel 9-W on the Memorial Wall. All 72 officers are engraved together on line 23, starting on panel 9-W and ending on panel 22-W.

Officer Dan Steffens, from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, found special meaning in seeing Officer George Howard’s name. President George W. Bush, standing in front of Congress on September 20, 2001, held up Officer Howard’s police badge and stated, "Some will remember an image of a fire or story or rescue. Some will carry memories of a face and a voice gone forever. And I will carry this. It is the police shield of a man named George Howard who died at the World Trade Center trying to save others. It was given to me by his mom, Arlene, as a proud memorial to her son. It is my reminder of lives that ended and a task that does not end."

The Tour of Duty began in Australia twenty seven years ago, in 1983, claiming a world record for circumnavigating all of Australia. The group has since participated in numerous runs throughout Australia and Europe, raising awareness for fallen soldiers of the Australian & New Zealand Army Corps that have died in the line of duty.

September 11, 2001, remains the deadliest day in law enforcement history, with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department losing 37 officers, the single largest loss of law enforcement personnel by a single agency in U.S. history. To show your support for these true American heroes, share your personal experiences and stories of 9-11 at www.LawMemorial.org/Remembering9-11.

For more information:




Thursday, September 2, 2010

2010: Third Deadliest Year in History for Utah Officers

Last week, violent events transpired in Utah, resulting in three officers shot and one killed, in less than 48 hours. Kane County sheriff’s deputy Brian Harris was fatally shot on Thursday, August 26. Harris’ death marked the fourth Utah police officer killed in the line of duty in 2010. Just this year alone, the same number of officers has been killed in Utah as in the preceding six years combined.

Scott Curley is accused of shooting sheriff’s deputy Harris on Thursday, near the Utah-Arizona border during a foot chase. He was identified and detained near Kanab, Utah early Monday, August 30. Arizona authorities say they will pursue extradition and prosecution on a warrant issued for first degree murder.

For Utah law enforcement officers, this year has been the third deadliest in history. Twenty three years ago, five officers died in the line of duty – two fatally shot, two in car crashes, and one in an accidental shooting. 1913 still ranks as deadliest year for Utah police officers with six officers dead, five dying in a single man hunt.

This year also marks two unfortunate firsts for Utah – first female officer to die in a gunfight and first Latino officer to die in the line of duty.

Millard County sheriff’s deputy Josie Greathouse Fox was shot and killed in January. Sevier County sheriff’s Sgt. Franco Aguilar was knocked off an icy bridge, falling hundreds of feet to his death in May. Police officer for U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, Joshua Yazzie died in an automobile collision while responding to an accident.

According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund’s Mid-year Report, there has been a 43% increase in officer deaths from 2009, which had the fewest line-of-duty deaths in fifty years. Firearms-related fatalities made up nearly 36% of mid-year 2010 deaths.

Kane County sheriff’s deputy Brian Harris and the other three Utah law enforcement officers who died this year will be remembered for their dedication, sacrifice and service. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund extends our deepest sympathies to the officers’ families, the Utah Police Force, and the people of Utah, who are all grieving the loss of four faithful officers devoted to protecting their community.

For more information on this story, go to:





Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Fatal Shooting in Alaskan Village Resulted in Two Officer Deaths

The Police Force in Hoonah, Alaska has been slashed in half by the untimely deaths of Officers Anthony Wallace and Matthew Tokuoka. The tragedy occurred late Saturday night, August 28. In a seemingly unprovoked attack, John Marvin, Jr. is accused in shooting the two police officers and is being charged with two counts of first degree murder.

The altercation that resulted in two officer deaths on Saturday in Hoonah, a village of 800 people on an island about forty miles west of Juneau, was not the first exchange Officers Wallace and Tokuoka had with their alleged murderer, John Marvin, Jr. According to court records, he was accused of attacking the same two officers while they were responding to a woman’s call about an intruder in 2009. The charges against him were dropped in December; the prosecutor assigned to the case declined to explain why these charges were dismissed.

After allegedly firing at Officers Wallace and Tokuoka—a shooting that Alaska State Troopers call an ambush—John Marvin Jr. retreated to his home where he barricaded himself from his ensuing arrest, until finally surrendering on Monday morning, August 30, after a two day standoff with authorities, including the Juneau Police Department’s SWAT team.

According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund’s Mid-Year Fatality Report, officer deaths surge 43% in the first half of 2010, and continue to rise with this tragedy in Alaska; a devastating shift from last year, which had the lowest number of line-of-duty deaths since 1959. Firearms-related fatalities made up nearly 36% of mid-year 2010 deaths. Following recent events, it is evident that the disturbing 2009 pattern of “cluster killings” – when more than one officer is shot and killed in the same incident – continues in 2010.

Officer Anthony Wallace, one of the only deaf police officers in the country, was on-duty when he was shot in front of the other passenger – his mother, who was visiting him in Alaska for the first time. Officer Tokuoka was off-duty, driving with his wife and two children, when he stopped to talk to Officer Wallace. He was shot soon after the bullet penetrated his fellow officer.

Officer Matthew Tokuoka was a Hawaii native, U.S. Marine Corps Veteran, who had worked for the department since spring 2009.

Officer Anthony Wallace was originally from Ohio, and attended the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology in upstate New York. He was a three-time All-American wrestler and was inducted into R.I.T.’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008. He followed in his father and grandfather’s footsteps to become a law enforcement officer, despite being hearing impaired.

Both Officers Matthew Tokuoka and Anthony Wallace will be greatly missed. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund extends our deepest sympathies to the officers’ families, the Hoonah Police Force, and the people of Hoonah, who are all grieving the loss of two devoted officers dedicated to protecting their community.

For more information on this story, go to:




Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Have you heard?

By Jim Donahue

There will be a Ground Breaking shortly. It will be for the first-ever National Law Enforcement Museum. The Museum is going to be in the heart of Washington, D.C. directly across from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Judiciary Square.

The groundbreaking is set to happen on Thursday, October 14, 2010. It is going to be awesome!

For the uninitiated: this is a really BIG DEAL. So far, $40 million has been raised. We have over half of the money needed to complete the Museum. “Where did it come from and how did we get it?” you ask. There have been lots of individuals who have contributed. We have had bunches of Police Unions and Associations that have kicked in.

This would not have happened without the huge gifts from many well-known corporations. You know their names: Motorola, Panasonic, Verizon, Target and many more. They are the company names we find on our gear, in our cars, and on the equipment used to protect us. In the case of Target, a name we find in the communities we protect all throughout the great land.

Raising that cash has taken more that 10 years of hard labor by the NLEOMF staff and volunteers. As cops, we have a working knowledge of the definition of hard labor. That’s what it took to get the money in the bank. We’re not done yet.

On that (hopefully) bright October Thursday, a chrome-plated shovel – or two – will be ceremoniously put in the ground to mark the commencement of construction. In the weeks and months that follow, the fancy chrome shovels will be replaced by hard-working, mud-covered, tough-talking, well-muscled construction workers who will turn the dream of the first National Law Enforcement Museum into a reality.

But, the groundbreaking day will be different. It will conclude with a large “Gala” event. That’s the Washington, D.C. term for a really fancy party. It’s the kind of event to which I am not usually invited. Any other time, I would be standing outside working a detail, providing security. But, not this time. This time, I get to be on the inside.

This Gala Event will host folks of style, of taste and dignity. (Note: this will be at the opposite end of the social spectrum from the locker room at shift change.) There will be black ties and men in tuxedos. Gorgeous ladies in beautiful gowns will abound. There will be a sense of ‘richness’ in the air.

We are all invited. This is OUR party.

I must admit: this Gala Event may not be within the budget of a lot of cops (like me). However, that doesn’t mean you and I must sit this one out. We can be part of the festivities.

At the next meeting of your F.O.P. Lodge, P.B.A. Lodge, or other local association, I encourage you to consider sending someone. This is the place for the folks who lead us in our brotherhood. They needn’t be high and mighty – just leaders. The notion of pooling our resources to get a job done isn’t new to a cop.

Why should this Gala Event be attended by cops who have experienced the streets, made the arrests, carried their weapons, and protected America? This is our chance – as a community – to thank the professionals of the NLEOMF staff that have made the museum possible.

They deserve our thanks. They deserve to be recognized. We need to do it in the national limelight. The Washington elite need to know just how much we value these folks and all they do for us. Yes, we put bad guys in jail and put our lives on the line. I haven’t forgotten that. But these folks are telling our story. They are making sure that all of the good folks in America know we are there and what we are dong.

Frankly, I doubt that I can attend. But, I can send a card to the staff expressing my thanks. (BTW, send it to the attention of Deloris. I’ve heard that she makes all the wheels turn in the office.)

I could send flowers to the office on that great day in October. They will be from my wife and me.

Craig Floyd deserves a gold star. He has been the man of vision and is truly one of a kind. Maybe I’ll call him so that I can say “thank you,” personally. No voice mail message for this one, Craig!

There are plenty of other NLEOMF staff who made this happen, too. There are also the Ambassadors who have volunteered and raised lots of money. The list goes on. They will all be at the Gala.

I may not be there in person. But, I will be there in spirit. My pride, congratulations and gratitude for a job well done will precede me.

Even if I don’t make it to the Gala in person, I can still express my heartfelt thanks to our friends – the staff – at the NLEOMF offices who toil every day for us. I can do it.

So can you.

To find out more about Groundbreaking and the Gala you can contact the NLEOMF’s Development office at 202-737-3400 or visit www.LawEnforcementMuseum.org/Groundbreaking.

Jim Donahue is a native of the Midwest, getting his education at Michigan State University. He is now training patrol officers on Technology & Tactics which translates for street cops into how to use patrol car computers -- safely.

Jim has recently earned his peace officer certification in the State of Florida. Previously, 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 has worked with police departments across the country on process improvement at the patrol car level, focusing on technology to improve tactics, safety, and productivity. He instructs in a variety of police academies and having taught "Technology and Tactics" to thousands of cops in-service nationally. He is an accomplished grant writer. Jim is a certified ILEETA member.

Jim is married to Paula and they have two children. He is a competitive bodybuilder, with six contests to his credit. Jim is active in his community and his church.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Mountains for Mark - Tribute to a Fallen Friend

Just nine short months ago, on November 29, 2009, Sergeant Mark Renninger, and fellow Officers Tina Griswold, Greg Richards, and Ronald Owens were killed in the line of duty at a coffee shop in Lakewood, WA. To honor Mark's memory, Chris Eline, a firefighter and Mark's childhood friend, will climb to the top of Mt. Rainier in Washington state.

Chris and fellow climber Martin Coleman will make the arduous trek up the 14,410 ft mountain, from August 14-21, 2010, not only to remember their fallen friend but also to raise funds for the Boys and Girls Club of Bethlehem, where Chris and Mark spent a considerable amount of their youth. Their goal is to raise $20,000, and currently, they are slightly over the halfway mark, at $10,800.

You can follow Chris and Martin through training and their arrival in Washington via their blog, here. To learn more information, visit http://www.mountainsformark.com/.

Monday, July 12, 2010

2010 Florida Police & Fire Games

From June 20-25, 2010, over 5,000 law enforcement and firefighter professionals competed in the 26th Annual Florida Police & Fire Games in Treasure Coast, FL. The annual event draws participants from 200 agencies competing in more than 45 Olympic sports.

Special thanks go to the Citrus County Sheriff's Office Bowling Team, who sported National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial shirts as their uniform. And congratulations to two of the team's members, Diana Plevell and Jannette Spencer, who won individual silver and bronze medals.

Information about the 2011 Florida Police & Fire Games is available at, http://www.lawgames.org, and results from the 2010 Games are online at http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2010/jun/25/no-headline---spt_police-fire_results_c6/?partner=yahoo_feeds.

Thanks to John Plevell for providing the photo.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Maryland Enacts "Blue Alert" System

Just two weeks after the fatal shooting of Maryland State Trooper Wesley Brown on June 11, 2010, and the ensuing hunt for his killers, Governor Martin O'Malley signed an executive order on June 25 to immediately begin the use of the Blue Alert information system. The program was formally signed into law earlier this year, but originally was not set to be in place until October 2010.

Similar to the Amber and Silver Alert systems for children and senior citizens, the Blue Alert system is used whenever a law enforcement officer is killed or injured, spreading information on the suspects throughout state agencies, including make, model, and color of any vehicles or other information pertinent to identifying and apprehending suspects who kill or injure officers. In Maryland, the State Police will be able to notify 150 radio and TV stations, coupled with posting information on the Internet and utilizing signs on the state's highways.

In comments to WBAL Radio, Col. Terrence Sheridan, the State Police Superintendent, said, "I never want to use it. It's a devastating effect losing a law enforcement officer that represents our citizens. You're not killing a human being, you're taking a shot at all of us."

Maryland joins just a handful of other states, including Texas, Florida and Oklahoma, in the use of the Blue Alert system. Feel your state should use Blue Alert? Learn how you can help support Concerns of Police Survivors in its national campaign to implement Blue Alert: http://www.nationalcops.org/survivorsforms/BlueAlert.pdf.

For more information on Maryland's Blue Alert program:



Thursday, June 17, 2010

President Signs the Special Agent Samuel Hicks Families of Fallen Heroes Act

The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) is proud to report that on June 9, 2010, President Obama signed into law H.R. 2711, the Special Agent Samuel Hicks Families of Fallen Heroes Act.

This bill was first introduced by Rep. Mike J. Rogers on June 4, 2009, and initially covered only Special Agents of the FBI. FLEOA worked closely with Rep. Rogers and Chairman Edolphus Towns' staff to have the bill expanded to include its FBI members and all federal law enforcement officers. The final bill included all federal law enforcement officers as well as all employees of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

With the passage of H.R. 2711, the Department of Justice will "provide for the transportation of the dependents, remains, and effects of certain Federal employees who die while performing official duties or as a result of the performance of official duties."

"This bill is a tribute to the ultimate sacrifice made by our brother, Special Agent Samuel Hicks, as well as all our heroes who embrace the risk that goes with wearing an American law enforcement badge," remarked FLEOA National President Jon Adler. FLEOA is a member of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund's Board of Directors.

Read the full story at FEDagent.com.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

In East Arkansas, Another Cluster Killing

Just days after the nation paused to remember law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty during 2009 – 15 of them in brutal cluster killings – the law enforcement community is mourning another multiple fatality shooting.

Shortly before noon on Thursday, May 20, West Memphis (AR) Police Officer Brandon Paudert, son of the city's police chief, Bob Paudert, and Officer Bill Evans were gunned down after they stopped a minivan with Ohio license plates on I-40. About an hour later, the gunmen were cornered and killed in a parking lot shootout that also wounded Crittenden County Sheriff Dick Busby and Chief W.A. Wren, head of enforcement in the sheriff’s department.

Thursday’s murders continued a troubling trend of cluster killings – instances in which two or more officers are gunned down by the same shooter. Last year, cluster killings claimed four officers each in Oakland (CA) and Lakewood (WA), three officers in Pittsburgh (PA), and two officers each in Seminole County (OK) and Okaloosa County (FL). These 15 officers were among 116 killed in the line of duty in 2009. Their names were engraved and then formally dedicated on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial during the 22nd Annual Candlelight Vigil a week ago, on May 13.

Officers Paudert and Evans are just the second and third West Memphis Police officers to be killed in the line of duty in the department’s history. The first was Officer Michael Waters who died in an automobile accident on September 11, 2003, during a pursuit of armed robbery suspects. “From an emotional standpoint of all law enforcement, this breaks the heart of every agency around,” Memphis (TN) Police Director Larry Godwin told the Memphis Commercial Appeal. “I’ve known Chief Paudert for 36 years. It’s unbelievable the hurt and pain this has caused his family.”

Added Arkansas State Representative Keith Ingram of West Memphis: "I guess you thank God that we’ve got police officers that put their lives on the line for citizens.”

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Salute to Law Enforcement at the Monster Mile

At the close of National Police Week, over 900 law enforcement supporters attended the 2nd Annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Day at Dover International Speedway, honoring all of America's law enforcement heroes and supporting the work of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Event goers were treated to trackside tours, performances by bagpipers, and a Q&A appearance by driver Greg Biffle of the No. 16 3M car. Then, they headed to the grandstands to take in the Autism Speaks 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

In the pre-race ceremony at the track, Mark Rossi, Vice President of Marketing for Dover Motorsports, presented the Memorial Fund with a check for $21,500 based on proceeds from a special promotion offered to members of the law enforcement community for the race. An additional $10,000 was raised through the sale of special race t-shirt, which are still available from the NLEOMF.

Joining NLEOMF Chairman and CEO Craig W. Floyd on stage to accept the check were survivors Kim Renninger and Jim Syler, the wife and partner of Lakewood (WA) Police Sergeant Mark Renninger, who was murdered along with three of his co-workers on November 29, 2009. Race fans were asked to observe a moment of silence for all law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, immediately followed by "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes.

Sergeant Renninger was a huge NASCAR fan -- in particular, a fan of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Prior to the race, Dale Jr. greeted Kim and Officer Syler trackside, a special honor for a fallen hero who loved NASCAR racing.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

29th Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service

To commemorate National Peace Officers Memorial Day, thousands of law enforcement officers and citizen supporters from across the country gathered on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol on Saturday to pay solemn tribute to those officers killed in the line of duty last year and the loved ones they left behind.

In brief remarks to open the ceremony, President Barack Obama offered condolences to the survivors and thanks to the officers still serving. Reflecting on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial’s lions as symbols of law enforcement, the President said:

It is an honor roll engraved in stone not far from here, at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. Guarding over the park – and the memories of Americans memorialized there – are four bronze lions. Beneath one is a verse from the Book of Proverbs I impart to you as a prayer: “The wicked flee when no man pursueth; but the righteous are as bold as a lion.” May God’s face shine upon the lions that we have lost. May He watch over the ones that guard us still. And may He bless, now and forever, the United States of America.
Following his remarks, President Obama was escorted to the Memorial Wreath by Chuck Canterbury, President of the Grand Lodge Fraternal Order of Police, and Beverly Crump, President of the Grand Lodge Fraternal Order of Police Auxiliary. There, the President inserted a flower, the first of many that would be placed in the wreath by the surviving family members of each of the 123 officers remembered during today’s service.

A Special Flag of Honor Escorts a Special Wreath of Honor

The devastation of the 9-11 terrorist attacks spawned a number of special tributes to those who made the ultimate sacrifice that day. For the law enforcement community, one of those tributes is the U.S. Honor Flag. On Saturday, Peace Officers Memorial Day in the nation’s capital, the U.S. Honor Flag was front and center once again.

Shortly after 9/11, the Texas House of Representatives gave the flag that was flying over the state capitol that day to businessman Chris Heisler. With the flag in tow, Heisler headed to Ground Zero, picking up numerous tokens of support along the way. After the flag flew over Ground Zero for a period of time, Heisler decided it should continue to fly in honor of America’s fallen heroes.

Since then, the U.S. Honor Flag has criss-crossed the country and traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan. It has been present at more than 1,000 funerals and memorial services for law enforcement officers, firefighters and soldiers killed in the line of duty. In 2009, for example, the flag went to Pittsburgh after three officers were gunned down in April, and it is soon heading to the Pacific Northwest to honor the seven Washington state officers killed in the line of duty in late 2009.

For Peace Officers Memorial Day, the U.S. Honor Flag was brought into the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Saturday afternoon by the Miami-Dade (FL) Police Department Honor Guard, escorting the Memorial Wreath from the service at the U.S. Capitol. That wreath is filled with flowers placed by the survivors of officers killed in 2009. The wreath remains at the Memorial and is watched over by honor guard units from across the country until midnight.

For the U.S. Honor Flag, the Memorial was one more special stop for one very special tribute to American law enforcement.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Undeterred by Rain, Bagpipers Honor Those who Have Fallen

Bagpipers are hearty souls. For proof of that, one need look no further than this evening's 16th Annual Emerald Society & Pipeband March and Service at the Memorial.

After processing six blocks up E Street, NW, and into the Memorial, pipebands from across the country proudly formed around the Center Medallion ... only to have the skies open with a burst of rain. But that was only a temporary delay in what has become one of the most colorful and boisterous events of National Police Week.

Bagpipes trace their toots to the Middle East several centuries before the birth of Christ. But it was in Ireland and Scotland that the instrument became popular, used to signal a death and escort the fallen to the final resting place. Their strong association with law enforcement in the United States developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as Irish-Americans stepped forward and began to fill the growing ranks of our law enforcement agencies. One of the enduring traditions they brought with them 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. And as the ceremony was coming to an end, the skies darkened and an even harder, driving rain pelted the Memorial. But the pipebands and their honor guard escorts ceremoniously filed out of the Memorial as they came in -- loud and proud and determined to play and march to the very end, paying special honor to the fallen as only they can.

Bagpipers are hearty -- and honorable -- souls indeed.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Images from the 2010 Candlelight Vigil

The names of 324 law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty — 116 of them during 2009 — were formally dedicated on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Thursday evening in Washington, DC during the 22nd Annual Candlelight Vigil.

The full news release is available at http://www.nleomf.org/newsroom/news-releases/324-fallen-law-enforcement.html.

At the Candlelight Vigil: May 13, 2010

7:55 pm
The last few buses have dropped off survivors at the Memorial. The Memorial grounds are packed, with an overflow crowd filling E Street and the courhouse plaza across the street. The Vigil is about to begin.

7:25 pm
The risers set aside for the news media are completely full. Crews from CNN, NBC Network News, as well as media representatives from Seattle, Tampa (FL), Pittsburgh, the San Francisco Bay Area and, of course, DC are here to cover this national ceremony to honor America's law enforcement heroes.

7:00 pm
Buses carrying survivors of the fallen officers continue to roll up E Street to the Memorial. Lining the Reflecting Pool are lines of crisply dressed officers from across the country. As survivors depart the buses they are greeted by an officer, given a rose and escorted to their seats, front and center in the central pavillion in front of the stage.

6:30 pm
Prior to being elected to Congress six years ago, Dave Reichart spent three decades in law enforcement with the Pierce County (WA) Sheriff's Office, becoming elected sheriff in 1997. This evening at the Memorial, he stopped to greet officers and family members from the Seattle area. Washington state lost seven officers in the line of duty during 2009, the third highest among the states. One of those officers was Pierce County Deputy Walter Kent Mundell Jr., who had the unfortunate distinction of being the last officer to die in the line of duty in 2009.

Thank You, USA Today, for Honoring our Fallen Heroes

When it comes to honoring the memory of our nation’s fallen law enforcement heroes, the Gannett Co. gets it.

For the second year in a row, the company’s flagship newspaper, USA Today, has donated a quarter-page ad paying tribute to officers killed in the line of duty.

The ad, which appears on page 3D of today's edition (May 13), lists the names of all 116 officers who died in law enforcement service during 2009. And it reminds the family members, loved ones and colleagues of the fallen that a grateful nation will always remember these brave men and women.

Thank you, Gannett and USA Today, for honoring our heroes during National Police Week.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Police Unity Tour Rides Triumphantly into DC

They came two-by-two, a seemingly endless line of blue-and-white clad bicyclists, riding into the heart of Washington, DC, Wednesday afternoon. More than 1,000 members of the Police Unity Tour, exhausted yet triumphant, rode into the grounds of the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial to a hero’s welcome. Each had just completed a grueling 300-plus mile journey from starting points in New Jersey and Virginia, all in honor of America’s fallen law enforcement officers.

The Police Unity Tour started 14 years ago as a somewhat rag-tag group of 18 police officers from northern New Jersey who wanted to do something to remember our fallen heroes. Today, the Unity Tour has grown into nothing short of a national movement, with riders from California, Washington state, Texas, Florida, Vermont and myriad points in between.

Their motto: “We Ride for Those Who Died.” And their mission is twofold: to raise awareness of officers killed in the line of duty, and to raise money for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and our programs to honor those who have died in law enforcement service.

At the conclusion of today’s welcoming ceremony at the Memorial, Police Unity Tour Founder and CEO Pat Montuore, chief of the Florham Park (NJ) Police Department, and Executive Director Harry Phillips presented the Memorial Fund with a check for $1.1 million. A beaming Craig Floyd, NLEOMF Chairman and CEO, accepted the check, noting that the Unity Tour has now contributed more than $8 million to the Memorial Fund—the largest of the organization’s donors.

This year’s donation will be used for a very special project: a major restoration of the Memorial grounds, including the re-engraving of all 18,983 names on the monument’s two walls. Almost 20 years after its dedication, the Memorial – and the names – are showing signs of wear and tear. But thanks to the hard work and generosity of hundreds of dedicated Police Unity Tour members – law enforcement officers and survivors – those names will be restored to their original strength and grandeur later this year.

Stories of the Police Unity Tour

The leadership of the Police Unity Tour has always stressed the word “unity” in the organization’s name. Every rider wears the same uniform. Every one has the same minimum fundraising goal ($1,700 per rider). And every participant chooses a fallen officer that he or she rides in honor of. But within that united front of law enforcement honor and fellowship are literally hundreds of stories of individual courage and compassion. Here are just a few of them.

Trooper Dean Kerklo, Pennsylvania State Police

In September 1999, Trooper Kerklo was shot in the chin when he intervened in a domestic violence dispute. The bullet lodged in the sixth vertebra of his spine, leaving him partially paralyzed. His family and colleagues were concerned that he might not live, let alone walk again and return to the job he loved. But after hundreds of hours of hard work and rehabilitation, he did walk again and he did return to the PA State Police. In December 2001, he was one of 11,500 people to carry the Olympic Torch on its way to Salt Lake City. This year, he decided to get on his bike and join the Police Unity Tour. He rode in honor of Eric Kelly, Stephen Mayhle and Paul Sciullo – the three Pittsburgh Police officers gunned down in April 2009 – and also his 14-year-old daughter, Carlie, who, sadly, passed away last year from a heart ailment. “She fought and pushed so hard throughout her life. She is one of the reasons that I am not feeling sorry for myself,” Trooper Kerklo said.

Michelle Canfield

Last year at National Police Week, Michelle was a first-year survivor. Her husband, Deputy Larry Canfield of the Sacramento County (CA) Sheriff’s Office, was killed in a motorcycle accident in November 2008. Larry was the one who always organized northern California motorcycle cops to come to DC for National Police Week. Last year, dozens of Larry’s colleagues and Michelle were here to honor him. This year, Michelle is back in DC riding in memory of her husband and all of the dedicated motorcycle officers who have fallen in the line of duty.

Toshi Kempkes

Toshi is the big sister of Sergeant Daniel Sakai, one of four Oakland (CA) Police officers shot and killed by the same gunman on March 21, 2009. Toshi eulogized him so eloquently last March: “My brother was one cool dude. His work wasn’t ‘work’ to him, because he loved it so much. He was a man amongst men, the best of the best.” Now, she has honored her brother by riding in the Police Unity Tour for the first time. Oakland has always had a major presence in the Unity Tour, this year especially so with the sudden, violent deaths of Sergeants Mark Dunakin, Ervin Romans II and Daniel Sakai, and Officer John Hege. Twenty-four riders and 25 support personnel, many of them on motorcycles, make the journey from Jersey City (NJ) to the Memorial.

Lakewood (WA) Police Department

Like Oakland, the Lakewood (WA) Police Department experienced the execution of four of its officers in 2009. Sergeant Mark Renninger and Officers Tina Griswold, Ronald Owens II and Gregory Richards were gunned down in a local coffee shop, as the officers prepared for their shift on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Members of the Lakewood department had never heard of the Police Unity Tour before early January, when an Oakland police officer called and mentioned the ride. That called inspired four members of the Lakewood Police Department – Sergeants Mark Eakes and John Fraser, and Officers Michelle Hector and Charles Porche – to take part in this year’s ride. The officers felt it was important to have four riders, one for each of their fallen colleagues.

Sergeant Cade Veigel, North Salt Lake City (UT) Police Department

Sergeant Veigel attended National Police Week 2009 in support of Katy Skinner, the wife of fellow North Salt Lake Officer Charles Skinner, who died in the line of duty on November 8, 2008. Sergeant Veigel and Katy attended the 2009 Police Unity Tour arrival ceremony. At the conclusion of the ceremony, Sergeant Veigel observed an officer from Goodyear (AZ) walk over and greet Katy. That officer, who Katy had never met or talked to before, had just finished his four-day journey riding in honor of her husband. Katy said she was so overwhelmed at the time that someone would take several days out of his life to honor a fellow officer he didn’t know, that she was speechless. So she just decided to give him a hug. Witnessing that exchange inspired Sergeant Veigel to join this year’s Unity Tour. He rode in honor Sergeant Jeffrey Shaw, of the Kosciusko County (IN) Sheriff’s Office, who died in 2009. Sergeant Veigel said he chose Sergeant Shaw because he died under similar circumstances and at about the same time of year as his friend Charlie Skinner.

Carol Sakofsky

Carol has been a member of the Police Unity Tour for seven years. In fact, she was one of the first law enforcement survivors to ride in the tour. Each year, she rides in honor of her son, Military Police Officer James T. Sakofsky, of the United States Army, died in the line of duty on June 1, 2001. For a number of reasons, Carol had to miss last year’s ride, but she was back for 2010. She continues to provide leadership and support to other survivors who want to honor their loved ones by riding a bicycle 300-plus miles over several days.

Paul DiNardo

Detective MarcAnthony DiNardo, of the Jersey City (NJ) Police Department had planned ride in this year’s Unity Tour, joining the long tradition of Jersey City cops in the ride. He had gotten a bicycle and begun training. But Detective DiNardo was tragically gunned last July in a shootout with armed robbery suspects. He was described as a “cop’s cop,” always ready to jump in – sometimes literally – when people needed help. Just one month before his death, Detective DiNardo and fellow members of the Emergency Services Unit rescued a woman who had jumped from the Wittpenn Bridge into the Hackensack River. To honor his brother and fulfill his desire to take part in this year’s Police Unity Tour, Paul DiNardo, MarcAnthony’s brother, rode instead. This year’s send-off ceremony took place in their hometown of Jersey City.

Monday, May 10, 2010

DC Region’s Fallen Heroes Are Remembered

In terms of law enforcement fatalities, the Washington, DC, region was fortunate last year: it did not lose any officers in the line of duty during 2009. Even so, dozens of people gathered at the Washington Area Law Enforcement Memorial Fountain outside DC Metropolitan Police Headquarters on Monday to remember those who had made the ultimate sacrifice in years past. A longstanding tradition of National Police Week, the 31st Annual DC Area Memorial Service and Dedication is organized by the Metropolitan Police Department, the Fraternal Order of Police DC Lodge #1, and the DC Chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.).

In addition to welcoming remarks by Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier, attendees heard from Alonzo Pena, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Operations for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). He announced that later Monday, ICE was dedicating an agency memorial to its agents who have been killed in the line of duty. Sixteen agents from ICE and its predecessor agencies are remembered on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

Following the speeches, Terrica Gibson, President of DC C.O.P.S., solemnly recited the names of all of the region’s fallen heroes over the past 31 years—a grand total of 93 officers representing 27 different agencies. As she did, a column of law enforcement officers, survivors and supporters walked to the fountain to place a flower. Officers paused to salute, while DC’s Ballou High School Choir sang Gospel hymns in the background.

The 16th name on the list—Brian T. Gibson—carried special meaning for Terrica and her mother, Shirley, who was also in attendance. Brian Gibson was a DC Metropolitan Police officer who was ambushed in his patrol cruiser in February 1997 and shot dead by a man who had set out to kill a cop … any cop. Brian was also Terrica’s brother, Shirley's son.

Footnote: Regrettably, last year’s encouraging news on law enforcement fatalities in the DC region has not continued into 2010. So far this year, two officers in the region have died in automobile accidents: Prince George’s County Police Corporal Thomas Jensen and Montgomery County Police Sergeant Hector Ayala.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

LawRide 2010: 15 Years of Riding to Honor the Fallen

Jonathan Nash really loved two things: being a police officer and riding motorcycles. So when the opportunity arose last September to help escort the remembrance ride for a fellow member of the South Carolina Highway Patrol, Corporal Nash stepped forward.

Trooper Hardy Godbold was killed by a drunk driver in an on-duty automobile accident in February 1992, and his friends and colleagues organized a memorial charity ride for September 19, 2009. Corporal Nash was on his department motorcycle leading the procession northbound, when a southbound vehicle made a left turn in front of him. Corporal Nash, a 15-year veteran of the South Carolina Highway Patrol, was struck and dragged across an intersection. The 41-year-old father of one was pronounced dead at the hospital a short time later.

Corporal Nash was one of three officers killed in the line of duty in motorcycle accidents in 2009. There are now some 1,249 motorcycle officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice throughout our nation’s history and whose names grace the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. On Sunday, May 9, these heroes—and all law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice—were remembered during the 15th Annual LawRide. The event traditionally kicks off the National Police Week observance in the nation’s capital.

With the morning chill still in the air, hundreds of law enforcement officers and other supporters—many of them members of various chapters of the Blue Knights—gathered in a parking lot at RFK Stadium in Northeast DC. At approximately 11 am, they started the solemn, three-mile journey down East Capitol Street, around the U.S. Capitol building, and to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. There, they held a brief ceremony and laid wreaths in honor of all the fallen heroes of American law enforcement, including Corporal Nash and Trooper Godbold.

As usual, it was a poignant start to National Police Week 2010.

Upcoming on the National Police Week Schedule

  • Monday, May 10: 31st Annual DC Area Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Service, organized by the Fraternal Order of Police DC Lodge #1 Auxiliary. Begins at 11 AM at the Metropolitan Police Department Memorial Fountain, 300 Indiana Avenue, NW.

For more information about National Police Week 2010, including a complete schedule of events, visit www.LawMemorial.org/policeweek.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

National Police Week, A Badge of Honor

By Mike Maiorana

On any given night, American television sets are fixed firmly on police dramas from Law & Order to CSI to NCIS. And while the public is endlessly fascinated by the lives of the men and women in blue, Hollywood can't begin to tell this very human story.

As the son of a police officer, I feel a special affinity for our country's greatest heroes -- those who serve in law enforcement. I lost my father when I was only 9 years old. And, while he was not one of the thousands of our country's officers killed in the line of duty (he lost his life to a battle with cancer), he served proudly every day. As a child, I saw a man who was committed to serving and that commitment guides my choices every day. Since his death 33 years ago, I've worked in many jobs in corporate America, married and become a father myself, but I've never stopped thinking of myself as the son of a police officer.

This month, we'll commemorate National Police Week, and while this nationwide remembrance is not as well known as Mother's Day or Father's Day, for children of fallen officers, it's more important. It's the one time all year when we gather to express our thanks for those officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty and to salute those who currently protect us, our communities and our country.

For the last two decades, I've worked for Verizon Wireless, and my career has provided me with many rewarding moments and milestones. Ranked high among these achievements are the partnerships my company has forged with law enforcement officers.

Recently, the Verizon Foundation delivered the final installment of a $1.5 million contribution to the new National Law Enforcement Museum, scheduled to break ground this October in Washington, DC. The contribution will fund innovative education and technology programs, including one that focuses on the need for increased respect, trust and confidence between law enforcement, domestic violence survivors, their families and the general

Domestic violence is an issue of tremendous importance to the 83,000 employees of Verizon Wireless. Since 2001, our company has donated nearly $8 million and tens of thousands of wireless phones, each with 3,000 minutes of airtime, to domestic violence agencies and organizations through the Verizon Wireless HopeLine phone-recycling program. At the same time, we've collected seven million phones that would have otherwise been gathering dust or clogging landfills. The phones -- from any carrier, in any condition -- are collected in our stores nationwide and in special collections, often organized with the help of local police.

Through the HopeLine program, our company has been privileged to work with many extraordinary members of laws enforcement. We've sponsored phone collection drives with police and sheriffs' departments and partnered with attorneys general in several states to create campaigns around elder abuse, teen dating and other domestic violence issues. Because of our unique and extremely gratifying relationships with police officers, we created the HopeLine Law Enforcement Partnership Award, which recognizes the outstanding contributions of these leaders to our HopeLine program.

National Police Week will bring thousands of law enforcement officers and their families to our nation's capital this week. Many of them will visit the site in Judiciary Square where the new National Law Enforcement Museum will be built. For this son of a cop, there's nothing better than sharing in this commemoration, acknowledging the sacrifice of so many members of law enforcement, honoring those who currently serve, and simply saying thank you.

Mike Maiorana is president of the Washington, Baltimore. Virginia Region of Verizon Wireless.