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Honoring law enforcement in May

When: Week of May 15

What: There are more than 900,000 law enforcement officers in the United States, but even with steady declines in violent crime, 120 lost their lives in the line of duty in 2012. Commemorate local, state and federal officers during Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week, starting May 15.

Background: Peace Officers Memorial Day was signed into law on Oct. 1, 1962 by John F. Kennedy, and it eventually grew into a week of events centered on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Story Pitch: Law enforcement branches and the community groups that they work with have a great chance during this week to recognize one another’s contributions and talk about efforts to create better communities. Highlighting specific events and initiatives that have created a better sense of appreciation between officers and their communities are ideal. Local, state and federal law enforcement branches can hold community workshops, school visits and other forms of community outreach during this time. Community groups that work to protect citizen’s rights can also join with law officers in creating events that help people better understand how officers operate, as well as offering resources for interacting with them. Industries that develop body armor, firearms, radio systems and even software can also show their support this week with charitable contributions and discussions about how their work keeps officers safe and allows them to do their jobs with more efficiency.

Story Hook: In response to high profile gun violence in the United States, a Gallup Poll reported the majority of citizens support increases in government spending to train officers and responders, as well as increasing funding for 15,000 street officers. Aside from these methods, what are other ways law enforcement can be better prepared for life threatening situations? Keep the following in mind when making your pitch:

  • What are the causes for the decrease in crime, and has it lowered officer fatalities?
  • What challenges do the families of deceased law enforcement officers face?
  • What advances have been made that increase law enforcement and public safety?
  • What initiatives can community groups undertake to improve relations with law enforcement?

Tips: Provide contact information for an expert on the history of U.S. law enforcement or for a local branch of either state or federal law enforcement. Talk to a local policeman about officer safety and the dangers of the job.

Resources:

Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association
(202) 293-1550
jmattingley(at)fleoa.org
www.fleoa.org

Fraternal Order of Police
(615) 399-0900
www.fop.net

National Association of Police Equipment Distributors
director(at)naped.com
www.naped.com

 National Police Week
amaybo(at)dc-fop.org
www.policeweek.org

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