It’s National Police Week; please pay tribute and thank all officers

Police officers stand watch at the Police and Fire Memorial in Indianapolis.

During Police Week ceremonies in Washington, D.C., children of fallen police officers from across the nation leave notes on a bulletin board. Here are just a few.

As her mother watches, the daughter of a slain Indiana State Trooper traces her father’s name from the memorial wall in Washington, D.C.

The “Thin Blue Line” pierces the sky above the reflecting pool at the National Police Officer Memorial in Washington, D.C.

buy now WNLP story and photos by Mike Kellems

This week is National Police Week and Wednesday, May 15, was National Peace Officer Memorial Day, a day set aside, by law, to recognize those who serve as our communities’ protectors. It is one of only two days during the year that the great flag of our country is lowered to half-staff, the other being Memorial Day.

Mike Kellems

I thought it would be a good opportunity to share some statistics and information about police work that many may not know:

— There are more than 900,000 police officers in the United States. Since the first recorded law enforcement death in 1786, 21,910 police officers have died in the line of duty.

— In 2017 there were more than 60,000 assaults on police officers, with just fewer than 18,000 resulting in injuries.

— To bring this all a little closer to home, 445 officers have been killed in Indiana, 246 of those by gunfire. In LaPorte County, 14 policemen have died serving our citizens:

  • On April 3, 1921, two Michigan City Police officers, Captain Joseph Zimmerman and Patrolman George Spencer, were shot and killed by an intoxicated man on Franklin Street.
  • Indiana Department of Correction Officer Philip Curry was stabbed to death by an inmate at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City.
  • Long Beach Chief Marshal Jim Kautz was struck by a vehicle while directing traffic at a crash scene on U.S. 12 on December 4, 1997; he died a month later.
  • Indiana State Trooper Ray Dixon died after he was shot by members of the Easton Gang on June 28, 1938. The shooting occurred on Fail Road just south of U.S. 20. The two suspects later kidnapped two LaPorte County Sheriff’s Deputies while fleeing the scene of the shooting.
  • LaPorte Police Officer Thomas Ciecka died on Sept. 5, 1962, 11 months after being struck by a vehicle while directing traffic on Lincolnway Avenue. Officer Ciecka’s son-in-law, grandson and two great-grandsons all went on to serve as police officers.
  • LaPorte County Police Patrolman Neil Thompson was killed on Sunday, Sept. 21,1980. Patrolman Thompson’s police car was intentionally struck on Ind. 39 south of U.S. 6 by the driver of a stolen ambulance.

These are just a few of the stories of those who served and died while wearing the badge in LaPorte County. Their names are never far from the minds of the loved ones left behind. Their names are engraved on the walls of the memorials made to honor our fallen heroes — in Indianapolis, in the shadows of the state capitol in Indianapolis, and in Washington, D.C.

These beautiful memorials have been constructed with names inscribed in stone, an everlasting tribute to those who answered the call and gave their last full measure of devotion. Names that should never be forgotten on memorial walls that will never be completed.

158 police officers were killed in the line of duty in 2018, and to date in 2019, the number sits at 42. Those who work to help reduce the number who are killed each year hope to keep it under 100, something that has not happened since 1909.

As you move through your days this week, I’d like to ask you to take just a few moments to reflect on those who serve, those who have died and the families that have been left behind. We owe our fallen heroes at least that.

cheap generic viagra MIKE KELLEMS is a retired captain from the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Office and now serves as a part-time police officer in Westville.

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