Today, at the Washington Area Law Enforcement Memorial Fountain outside the DC Metropolitan Police Headquarters, dozens of law enforcement officers, honor guards, and surviving families gathered to pay tribute and honor the officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in years past. The 32nd Annual Washington Area Police Memorial Service is organized each year by the Metropolitan Police Department, the Fraternal Order of Police DC Lodge #1, and the DC Chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.).
Introductory remarks were given by Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier, followed by guest speaker Terrance Gainer, Senate Sergeant-at-Arms of the United States Senate. Vincent Gray, Mayor of the District of Columbia and Rob Baechtel, President of the DC Chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors expressed their gratitude to the officers, who were killed in the performance of duty and highlighted the sacrifices made by their surviving family members.
In 2010, the Washington metro area lost six officers, who were honored at today’s service:
- Corporal Thomas Paul Jensen, Prince George’s County (MD) Police Department
- Sergeant Hector Ismael Ayala, Montgomery County (MD) Police Department
- Trooper First Class Wesley Washington John Brown, Maryland State Police
- Police Officer James Early Folwer, III, Baltimore City (MD) Police Department
- Police Officer Thomas Russell Portz, Baltimore City (MD) Police Department
- Police Officer Paul Michael Dittamo, Metropolitan Police Department, Washington, DC
Agency heads from the corresponding departments paid special tribute to each of the fallen heroes lost last year. Following the tributes, Mirella Arroyo, Fraternal Order of Police DC Lodge #1 solemnly recited the names of all of the region’s fallen heroes over the past 32 years—a grand total of 120 officers representing 29 different agencies. During the roll call, law enforcement officers, survivors and supporters walked to the fountain to place a flower, while DC’s Ballou High School Choir sang Gospel hymns in the background.
All six of the officers honored today will have their names formally dedicated on the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial this Friday, May 13th, along with 310 other officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
Next up: the Police Unity Tour Arrival Ceremony – 2 pm at the Memorial on May 12, 2011. For more information about National Police Week 2011, including a complete schedule of events, visit www.LawMemorial.org/PoliceWeek.