During my 33 years in law enforcement, I faced countless dangers—but nothing was more difficult than losing a fellow officer. I think about these friends and their loved ones every day, as if they were part of my own family.
This is the week Congress sets aside each year to honor fallen law enforcement officers.
For National Police Week, officers and families from around the country travel to Washington, D.C. to remember their loved ones who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
The names of 360 officers who died in the line of duty will be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, 129 of whom were killed in 2017. Every name added to the wall is a reminder of the beautiful life that was lost and the spouses, children, parents, friends, and fellow officers who have been left behind.
Every day, our law enforcement officers put on a uniform, which places a target on their backs. They kiss their loved ones goodbye, not knowing what they will encounter on their shift or whether they will make it home.
This week, we remember these officers, and take the time to say thank you to the more than 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers currently serving in the United States, for they continue to protect and serve despite knowing the very real dangers that their work entails.
Our men and women in uniform display bravery and courage that cannot be rivaled. Even in the face of increasing violence, they put their lives on the line every day to protect our families.
There are no words to describe the heartbreak and sadness we face each time a life is lost in the line of duty.
This week, and every day, I am reminded of their service and sacrifice. Let us all take a moment to thank our law enforcement officers and remember how they run towards danger, instead of away from it, to keep our communities safe.
About the author. Rep. Dave Reichert, a 33-year veteran of law enforcement, is in his seventh and final term representing the Eighth Congressional District of Washington. In 1972, he joined the King County Sheriff’s Office and in 1997 he became the first elected sheriff in 30 years. Under his leadership, the county saw a significant drop in violent crime. Reichert brought national recognition to the Sheriff’s Office as head of the Green River Task Force solving the largest serial murder case in U.S. history.