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This Week is Police Week


This “Police Week” is a time to honor all those who are serving or have served in law enforcement.  U.S. Senator Tina Smith says it’s also a good reminder that there is more we can be doing to protect those who serve. Officers never know what will happen each day as they walk out the door. This week for Peace Officer Memorial Week, we remember those who served, and lost their lives in the line of duty.

National Police Week is celebrated on whatever week May 15 falls in, under President Kennedy’s decree to honor the men and women who risk their lives every day in the line of duty — it takes place from May 15 to 21 this year. It is also a time for police officers to honor their fallen colleagues, make sure those surviving them are supported, as well as to remember their commitment to keeping people safe. Citizens and civilians can also celebrate the day by showing some love and gratitude to the policemen around them. National Police Week is all about honor, gratitude, remembrance, servitude, and peer support.


National Police Week was created in 1962; after then-president of the United States, John F. Kennedy signed Public Law 87-726. The law designated May 15 as Peace Officers’ Memorial Day and stated that the week in which the day falls should be National Police Week. Every year, the National Law Enforcement Officers organize a Memorial Service to honor police officers who lost their lives in the line of duty.

Law enforcement has existed for centuries, although its officers haven’t always been known as ‘Police.’ In Ancient China, they were called ‘prefects.’ Old Babylonians called them ‘Paqūdu.’ In the Inca Empire, they called officials who held the roles of magistrates ‘Curaca.’ Inspectors or lower-level governors were called ‘Toqrikoq.’

The first centrally organized and uniformed police force was created during King Louis XIV’s reign in Paris in 1667. In 17th century Colonial America, the most important law enforcement official was the county sheriff. In 1789, the United States Marshals Service was established, and other federal law enforcement agencies started popping up, such as the U.S. Parks Police. However, the first organized and publicly-funded professional full-time police force wasn’t established until 1838 in Boston.

The United States police force has developed since then to become a powerful one, with dedicated officers. The goal of National Police Week is to honor and celebrate these officers. Individuals and governments have a responsibility to honor their brave and hardworking law enforcement on this day. In October 2020, the United States approved legislation authorizing the construction of a national law enforcement museum on federal property directly across the street from the law enforcement officers’ memorial.


The First Recorded Police Death

The first law enforcement officer to be killed in the line of duty in the United States is Constable Darius Quimby.

President Kennedy Gets the Ball Rolling

President John F. Kennedy signs a proclamation designating May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which the date falls as National Police Week.

The Memorial Service Begins

The National Peace Officers Memorial Service begins as a gathering of about 120 survivors and supporters of law enforcement in Senate Park.

Half-Staff Flag

President Bill Clinton amends Kennedy’s declaration by signing a law directing that the U.S. flag be flown at half-staff in all government buildings on May 15 every year.