by Erin Freeman | Lynnwood Times Staff
Saturday, May 16 marked the end of National Police Week, a chance to honor the officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
The observance of National Police Week began on Sunday, May 10. The Lynnwood Police Department (LPD) along with other Washington State first responder agencies traditionally participate in a variety of ceremonies throughout the week at the community, state, and national levels.
But with COVID-19 restrictions and health advisories in place, Behind the Badge, an organization providing support after the death or significant injury of an officer in the line of duty, postponed the state’s Law Enforcement Medal of Honor & Peace Officers Memorial Ceremony- the annual event in Olympia memorializing Washington’s law enforcement who have died in the last year.
Amongst other police week events, the 39th Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service in Washington D.C. was canceled. It’s the first time in the close to 40-year history the ceremony will not take place.
In past years, LPD officers traveled to the state and nation’s capital to participate in various events throughout the week. Lynnwood Police Commander Sean Doty attended the 38th Annual National Police Officers’ Memorial Service last May.
“I happened to be in the D.C. area last year during the 2019 National Police Week,” he stated. “Visiting the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial during that time was something I’ll never forget.”
The LPD uses in National Police Week to honor the officers who lost their lives in the line of duty while acknowledging their workforces everyday heroism. Unable to participate in familiar and customary events, the department got creative to safely honor and remember the fallen officers throughout the state.
“Due to the inherent challenges that we are all facing right now, we are somewhat curtailed in the manner in which we remember those officers who made the ultimate sacrifice,” explained Doty.
Thursday, May 14 the LPD posted a tribute video to their social media platforms to honor the lives of the officers lost in the past year while celebrating their officers. The video included messages from city officials and community members expressing their appreciation for their local police department.
Lynnwood City Councilmember and a Public Information Officer for Behind the Badge Shannon Sessions says that the best way to honor officers during police week is to connect with them in whatever ways that you can- particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s about taking the time to stop and thank a police officer,” explained Sessions. “But also, if you know any officer’s families, reach out and call the spouse or the child of an officer to honor police week. They say goodbye to their loved one every day not knowing if they’re going to come home; they’re in this too.”
Throughout Washington, four police officers died in the line of duty in 2019. So far in 2020, two have died, the most recent being a COVID-19 illness-related death on April 10. Across the nation, 146 officers lost their lives in 2019, while as of May of 2020, 73 have already fallen.
The officers across the United States who lost their lives in the past year were memorialized by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund during a virtual Candlelight Vigil on Wednesday, May 13. The names of officers recognized during the vigil are being scribed into the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.
To watch the 32nd Annual Candlelight Vigil, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01VE7oypHUg. The Lynnwood Police Department remembrance video can be viewed here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=244736966633162.