In the wake of a fatally gunned down NYPD officer, an officer injured from gunfire by Islamic radicals in Texas, and six Baltimore Police Officers facing murder charges, tens of thousands of law enforcement officers from all over the world are expected to descend upon Washington this week.
National Police Week begins Tuesday starting with the annual Blue Mass at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and ending with the 36th annual Washington area law enforcement memorial service next Monday. The primary purpose of police week is to memorialize officers that passed away in the line of duty last year.
“I think that people recognize that these officers made the ultimate sacrifice. This year we’re honoring 131 officers who were killed in the line of duty last year. Their families travel all over the country to be here for this national service,” police week chairman Andy Maybo told The Daily Caller.
“In some ways, this national service is the funeral their families didn’t have. Some departments don’t have the capabilities or the funding to have bagpipes or 21 gun salute or something of that nature and that’s all provided,” he said.
Although there has been anti-police sentiment in some cities over the past few months, Maybo says law enforcement officers feel safe during the week, primarily because of the massive number of attendees. Anti-police brutality organization DC to Ferguson, did not respond to an inquiry if they plan to protest any police week events.
“They’re joined together in community and a family of blue. We’re going to have thirty to forty thousand police officers coming to Washington, D.C. The fact that they’re together with their police family, I believe that creates the safety net for them,” Maybo said.
Additionally, many of the attending law enforcement officers will likely be carrying their service weapons.
Maybo told The DC, “Yes, weapons are absolutely allowed. The officers have to have the proper credentialing. The officers will have their weapons, especially when they’re in uniform.”
Police week came about as a result of a proclamation signed in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy, in which he designated May 15 as the national peace officers memorial day. Police officers now know that as police week.
The national memorial service began in 1982 as a small gathering in the Senate park with only 120 people, Maybo notes, but the event has grown exponentially since.