National Police Week pays tribute to fallen officers

Law enforcement officers across the nation are being honored as part of National Police Week. (Courtesy Photo/Michigan State Police)

MANISTEE COUNTY — Law enforcement officers across the nation are being honored as part of National Police Week.

Events at the nation’s capitol in Washington D.C. are taking place all week, while the names of 371 fallen law enforcement officers were formally dedicated to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial on Monday. There are currently 21,910 names on the memorial.

Locally, law enforcement officials are speaking out this week to honor those who make the ultimate sacrifice.

“Our law enforcement officers have chosen a profession that requires putting their life on the line every time they put on the uniform,” said Manistee County sheriff John O’Hagan. “I want to recognize and remember those officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, and extend a heartfelt thank you to all police officers who go above and beyond the call of duty.”

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation designating today as “Peace Officers Memorial Day,” which falls during National Police Week.

According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, a total of 158 officers died in the line of duty in 2018, and 42 fatalities have been reported this year.

“We never forget, because any day that could be one of us,” O’Hagan said. “When an officer signs onto the force, they take an oath to serve and protect. They don’t sign up for a death warrant. So when (an officer) loses their life while keeping their community safe, I am glad we pay tribute to each and every officer killed in the line of duty.”

O’Hagan paid tribute to detective deputy sheriff Robin Arnold, who was killed on Feb. 4, 1994, in a traffic crash while returning home from training. He also paid tribute to Michigan State Police trooper Paul Butterfield, who was shot and killed in the line of duty.

“Robin was not only my partner for my entire five years with the agency, she was my mentor and my dear friend,” O’Hagan shared. “We also remember trooper Paul Butterfield, he was gunned down on a traffic stop on Sept. 9, 2013, just for doing his job. A senseless loss of an human life.

“I want to express my deepest gratitude for the hard work and dedication displayed in their roles as police officers; not only safeguarding our community, but enhancing our citizens’ quality of life.”

Tim Kozal, Manistee Department of Public Safety director, said most law enforcement officers have known or worked alongside someone that was killed in the line of duty.

“I think that every law enforcement officer throughout their career has probably known somebody or worked with somebody, side by side that died in the line of duty — myself included,” Kozal said. “It’s one of those things where you always remember, you always reflect on it and look back at your relationship with that person.”

National Police Week also serves as a way to shed light on the dangers of the job.

“It serves as a reminder of just how dangerous the job can be, especially when you recognize those who gave their lives serving their communities,” O’Hagan said.

“We always have to learn from past events and try to strengthen our resolve so that we can be safe,” Kozal added. “We want to come home safe to our families.”

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Posted by Ashlyn Korienek

Ashlyn is the cops & courts and city reporter for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3109 or akorienek@pioneergroup.com

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