A couple of years ago I read the book “Into the Kill Zone” which featured first-hand accounts of what it’s like to put on a badge every day and put yourself in the line of fire for the protection of our community.
After reading the stories of 100’s of Police Officers who came face to face with split second life and and death decisions, you realize how movies and TV dramas have grossly distorted the public perception of peace keeping. This stuff is real and there are no do overs.
The stories introduce Police Officers who were tragically shot and other Officers who faced situations where they had to pull the trigger with equally tragic consequences. There’s no doubt that good comes from Police protection but what emerges from the book is that the use of lethal force changes lives forever no matter which side of the gun you’re on.
In honor of the men and women in blue this week, who take these risks on our behalf, we celebrate National Police Week from May 15th to May 21st. If you happened to drive by a City building on Sunday, May 15th you might have noticed that the U.S. Flags were hung at half mast, in memorial for all those officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
While it may not be a National holiday, May 15th is Peace Officers Memorial Day, a national day of observance that has been celebrated since 1961.
According to Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS), about 140-160 officers are killed in the line of duty each year and their families and co-workers are left to cope with the tragic loss. Many businesses and community members across the nation, especially those who lost family members, friends or colleagues who were local officers, will lower their flags in remembrance of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty and some police departments hold an annual law enforcement memorial ceremony on this day.
Each year, COPS organizes a national memorial service on the day, drawing thousands of people from many parts of the United States. The service is followed by the placement of a memorial wreath at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington DC. On this day, people are also reminded of the need to be vigilant against all forms of crime.
Kent Police Captain Urchek reminds us all: ““Twice, I’ve attended the Police Officer’s Memorial in Washington D.C. and found it to be a very moving and meaningful experience. If you have never attended one of these ceremonies, either in D.C. or in Ohio (BCI London), then I suggest you do so and pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice and their families as well.”
Thank you Captain Urchek, Chief Lee and all our Kent Officers for being the line in the sand between harm and safety in Kent.