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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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