Keeping Law Enforcement Safe during the COVID-19 Crisis

Stay safe!

The Centers for Disease Control has issued specific guidelines for law enforcement to help officers stay safe during the current COVID-19 public health crisis. Sadly, no segment of our population will escape this persistent virus, including our law enforcement community. Officers are already used to facing the unknown, but this invisible enemy poses an immediate threat, not only to an officer, but to the officer’s family and coworkers.

As we navigate this public health crisis, the law enforcement community must be exceptionally vigilant in keeping our first responders and their families in top physical and mental health. Already law enforcement departments across the country are beginning to see its own officers infected with COVID-19, and sadly even succumbing to the virus in some areas.

Officers should follow the same guidelines as the general public when coming into contact with others, whether responding to a call or even interacting with coworkers. These guidelines include washing hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, maintaining a physical distance of at least six feet and avoid touching the face.

If soap and water are not readily available and the officer is not responding to a case involving illegal drugs, alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol is an acceptable substitute. When possible, an officer should meet people outside of their homes and avoid unnecessary contact with other individuals.

When possible, encourage the public to use non-emergency numbers to submit a police report by phone, rather than sending officers to people’s homes. If an officer is responding to a call involving anyone who is suspected of having COVID-19, a trained Emergency Medical Service person should transport that individual. Officers should also wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when in contact with individuals who may have COVID-19. These may include protective masks, gloves, goggles and clothing.

Officers need to stay mentally healthy as well. That means getting enough sleep, limiting alcohol consumption and staying connected with loved ones. Spend time playing video or board games with family, participate in video calls with loved ones who are far away, take walks with family members who live in the same home and make time to pursue hobbies.

Most important, know that as a law enforcement officer, your role is vital to the safety of your community and to our nation. It is a commitment that is not made lightly and one that is greatly appreciated.

Fallen Law Enforcement Officers to be Honored During Virtual Candlelight Vigil on May 13

National Police Week signature event to take place virtually in response to COVID-19 public health crisis

The names of fallen U.S. law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty will be formally dedicated on the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial during a virtual Candlelight Vigil on Wednesday, May 13, 2020.

Traditionally held on the National Mall with more than 30,000 first responders, surviving families and law enforcement supporters in attendance, special remarks and the names of each of the men and women who died in the line of duty during 2019 will be read aloud during the virtual Candlelight Vigil, which will be live streamed. The names of fallen law enforcement officers who died earlier in history, but whose sacrifice had not been previously documented, will also be read during this time.

“The current crisis that our nation and the world is facing has resulted in the cancellation of public gatherings in DC during National Police Week 2020,” said National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund CEO Marcia Ferranto. “We will not let this crisis deter us from honoring the fallen. We plan to march forward in solidarity with a virtual Candlelight Vigil and the reading of the names that can be watched from anywhere in the world. Then, as the future becomes more certain and the end of the crisis is near, we will begin to make plans for an in-person reading of names to honor our fallen officers.”

Located in Washington, DC, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial is a living monument to ensure the men and women who died in the line of duty will never be forgotten. The names engraved on the Memorial’s walls represent fallen officers from all 50 states, the District of Columbia,  U.S. territories, federal law enforcement, and military police agencies.

Making Space on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial is running out of room. Dedicated in 1991, the Memorial currently contains the names of 21,910 officers who died in the line of duty. Those names include officers who have given their lives as a result of shootings, traffic crashes, or deaths as a result of a medical condition contracted while on the job, such as rare cancers contracted from helping with rescue and recovery operations in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks. Every year these fallen officers and other historical fallen officer deaths discovered through research, are immortalized on the walls of the Memorial. Sadly, the names keep coming.

“We’re embarking on an expansion project to insure we do not run out of space. We will never stop honoring the fallen,” said National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund CEO Marcia Ferranto. “Our mission is to make sure all officers who have died in the line of duty are never forgotten.”

At the current rate, the Memorial may run out of room within six years. To avoid that happening, the Memorial Fund is working with Davis Buckley Architects, designers of the original Memorial, on the design of the proposed expansion. The three-year expansion plan will add another 15 inches to the height of the existing curved Walls of Remembrance and is intended to serve the needs of the Memorial through 2063.

The expansion plan will also include a newly designed pathway from the Memorial to the adjacent National Law Enforcement Museum, which educates the public about the history of law enforcement and provides on-going programs relevant to the current issues facing law enforcement and the communities they serve.

“By uniting these two important structures into one entity, we are creating a single law enforcement campus. It is the nation’s only living memorial,” said Ms. Ferranto. “It symbolically unifies the core mission that we as an organization are already doing: honoring the fallen and educating the public about law enforcement and the heroism of these brave men and women who wake up each day to keep our nation safe.”

Work on the Memorial expansion is slated to begin in late 2020.

Spotlight on Law Enforcement January 2019

(Megan O’Grady) Megan O’Grady started Blue Line Bears two years ago. She makes and delivers teddy bears to the families of fallen police officers.

Teen makes personalized teddy bears for families of fallen police officers

Megan O’Grady not only makes the bears but travels to deliver them.

By Enjoli Francis and Susan Schwartz,  ABC News, January 4, 2019

This new year, one Florida teen is pushing forward with her mission to ensure that the families and particularly children of fallen law enforcement officers have a little something to cuddle to help them remember their loved ones.

Megan O’Grady, 16, of Cape Coral, Florida, runs the nonprofit organization Blue Line Bears, which makes and delivers personalized teddy bears.

This week, she and her parents traveled to Denver to deliver bears that she’d made for the family of Adams County Sheriff’s Deputy Heath Gumm, 32, who was killed while on duty in January 2018.

Using the uniform shirt of the fallen officer, which she gets from relatives or the police department, O’Grady sews and stuffs bears that wear miniature versions of the uniforms including the officer’s name, badge number and even department.

It takes O’Grady, a high school junior, up to two days to complete each bear.

“Part of the reason that I started this was because there’s such a negativity towards police. … It has really lifted my spirits knowing that there are so many people out there who really care about police.”

Read article | Watch Video

Ohio law enforcement honored at NHL game

Ohio law enforcement honored at NHL game
Ohio law enforcement honored at NHL game

November was a busy month as the NHL hosted several Law Enforcement Appreciation Nights in honor of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. On November 17 the Columbus Blue Jackets hosted their annual First Responders/Law Enforcement Night which was a huge success.

A sold-out crowd watched the Blue Jackets beat the visiting New York Rangers with a final score of 2-0.

The Columbus (OH) Division of Police Mounted, Motorcycle & Freeway Units were on hand, as well as the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Columbus Division of Fire, to greet arriving fans.

The Columbus Division of Police Motorcycle and Freeway Units provided a VIP escort to the family of Kirkersville (OH) Police Chief Eric DiSario from their home to the game. They were hosted by the Blue Jackets at a pregame experience on the ice, and after the game they were invited in the Blue Jackets locker room by player Cam Atkinson.

Ohio law enforcement honored at NHL gameSeveral families of first responders were able to greet players as they entered the ice and children of local law enforcement officers were able to ride the Zamboni throughout the evening.

During the first intermission the Columbus Division of Police Chief Kim Jacobs’ patrol cruiser was driven around the ice by CPD Officer of the Month Anthony L. Johnson.

Interactive stations were located throughout the arena for the fans to visit, along with K9 demonstrations by Columbus Airport Police Officer David Knepper and his K9 partner.

The Franklin County (OH) Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad brought their robot to explain how they use their special equipment.

Special thanks to the Columbus Blue Jackets organization, especially Malinda Smith, Dani Knell and Cam Atkinson. Our thanks to the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, Columbus Police Department, Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police for their continued support of this great event.

Memorial Commemorates 25th Anniversary with FBI National Academy

Dressed in the standard khaki cargo pants and green polo
shirts, the members of the 266th Session of the FBI National Academy
walked among walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial on
Wednesday night. As the sun started to set, they kneeled by the 20,789 names.
Some sat nearby in silence, others etched names they recognized onto paper.

The officers looked across E Street at the wide 30-foot hole
in the ground, part of the construction that will eventually become the
National Law Enforcement Museum. They talk about making a trip back to
Washington, DC, in mid-2018, when the Museum is slated to open.
The FBI’s Jeffery S. McCormick started the wreathlaying
ceremony with the introduction, welcoming the 266th Session to the
Memorial. The presentation of colors was provided by the Alexandria (VA) Police
Department.
Memorial Fund President and CEO Craig W. Floyd was happy to
have the members of the National Academy at the Memorial this week.
“Tonight you help us commemorate a very special milestone in
law enforcement history,” he said. “It was 25 years ago this past Saturday, on
October 15, 1991, when we dedicated this majestic monument that was built to
honor the men and women in law enforcement. To honor our service, remember
those who have sacrificed their lives in the performance of duty.”
Mr. Floyd took a few minutes to share the history of the
Memorial, how it was built and the special significance of Judiciary Square,
where the Memorial, and soon the Museum, stands.
“It was in 1972 when a detective from Suffolk County in New
York, by the name of Donald Guilford, had the vision to build a national law
enforcement officers memorial. And he took that to his local Congressman, and
they introduced a bill. Language for some time, but ultimately they went to a
leader among law enforcement. His name was Mario Biaggi, a Congressman from New
York City. He had served for 23 years with the New York City Police Department.
A legendary figure, he was wounded 10 times in the line of duty, the most decorated
officer in New York City history when he retired in 1965. He served 20 years in
Congress, and he always said one of his proudest, if not the proudest, achievement he ever had was the establishment of the
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.
“He introduced the legislation, became law in 1984. And
after seven years of dedicated effort, we opened this monument to the public.
It wasn’t easy. It took us two years to pick the specific site it should be
built on. Congress didn’t legislate that. So we scoured the city, and we came
upon Judiciary Square, where we’re standing here tonight. They say that
President George Washington once stood in this very place. He decided that this
Judiciary Square would become the seat of our judicial branch of government, the
seat of criminal justice in America. It’s one of the three major spaces they
designed Washington around. We felt that this was the spot to honor the men and
women who enforce the laws of our nation, and keep the peace.
“So in 1991, when we dedicated this memorial, there were
12,561 names added to these Memorial walls. It was a Herculean task to identify
those fallen heroes. It’s never been done before. We were the first.”

Minnesota Wild Supports Law Enforcement at Special Game

On Tuesday night, the Minnesota Wild held their annual law enforcement night to honor and recognize Minnesota Law Enforcement.

The Wild battled the Los Angeles Kings in an exciting game where the Wild came out on top in a final score of 6-3.

This special night benefited the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, and each fan that purchased a discounted ticket through the special offer received a co-branded Minnesota Wild and Memorial Fund rally towel and were treated to a pregame party.

Prior to the game, law enforcement friends, family and supporters gathered on the ice for a photo.

The next Minnesota Wild law enforcement night will take place in early 2017. For other law enforcement night events with NHL teams across the country visit www.LawMemorial.org/sports.

We salute the Minnesota Wild on supporting the thin blue line. Good luck this season!

Law Enforcement Recognized Throughout Major League Baseball

On Saturday, September 17, the Cleveland Indians brought their entire “Tribe” out as the Indians battled the Detroit Tigers in extra innings as they continue to fight for the playoffs and a chance to win the American League Central. The Indians won 1-0.

Not only was it a big win for the “Tribe” but it was a special win for law enforcement as the Indians held their annual Law Enforcement Night at Progressive Field.

Before the game started, a moment of silence was held in honor of Ohio State Trooper Kenneth Velez who was struck and killed by a vehicle while conducting a traffic stop in Cleveland on September 15. Trooper Velez is the seventh officer to be struck and killed in 2016 and the fourth law enforcement fatality for the state of Ohio.

The National Anthem was performed by Sergeant Michael Maughmer of the Ohio State Highway Patrol as the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department Honor Guard presented the colors.

Throwing out the first pitch (which was a strike) and representing Federal Law Enforcement was Ohio native and current United States Marshal of the Northern District of Ohio Peter Elliott.

Despite the overcast weather, 26,654 were attendance to witness a great game and a great night supporting law enforcement, which raised over $2,700 for the Memorial Fund.

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund would like to thank JP Makari and the Group Sales Team, Cleveland Indians Community Impact Team, Bill Swank, Ohio Chiefs of Police Association, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association Cleveland Chapter and the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police for their support and making it a great event.

Also around the league, Texas Rangers also hosted Law Enforcement Night on Saturday, honoring our August 2016 Officer of the Month Award winners Ed Pietrowski and Michael Sarro. This event was held in partnership with the Texas Rangers and the Police Officers Angel Foundation. Special thanks to Maria Alvarado and Zak Ganter.

For the latest law enforcement sporting events, visit www.lawmemorial.org/sports.

Twin Cities Honor Law Enforcement on 9-11 Anniversary

The afternoon game on Sunday, Sept. 11, was a day to remember in the Twin Cities as the Minnesota Twins and the Cleveland Indians honored and recognized Minnesota law enforcement and paid tribute to those who died on the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. Great weather was on hand as more than 20,300 were in attendance for Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.

Before the game, representatives from the Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial Association, Minnesota Sheriffs Association and the Concerns of Police Survivors’ (C.O.P.S.) Minnesota Chapter gathered at home plate as the St. Paul Police Department Honor Guard presented the colors during the national anthem. The Minnesota Twins Territory Flag was raised and saluted by the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association’s Minnesota Chapter.

The Minnesota Twins salute law enforcement and thank everyone for attending and supporting the annual event. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund would like to give special thanks to Luis Breazeal and Sam Henschen and to the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association for going above and beyond and making this a great event.

Other NLEOMF events that took place on Sunday, Sept. 11, included games with the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros. For the latest in law enforcement appreciation sporting events visit www.lawmemorial.org/sports.

Kansas City Honors Law Enforcement

On Monday, July 18, the Kansas City Royals and Major League Baseball teamed up with the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund as they hosted the annual Law Enforcement Night at the “K” as the World Series Champions Kansas City Royals battled the Cleveland Indians. The Royals beat the Indians in a final score of 7-3.

More than 38,000 were in attendance on this special night which gave the general public along with family and friends to come out to the “K” and honor and thank law enforcement.

The Royals’ support for police took on extra significance that evening in wake of recent shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge. Slain Kansas City (KS) Police Detective Brad Lancaster was also honored by the Kansas City Royals. Detective Lancaster was killed in the line of duty earlier this year helping other officers respond to a suspicious person near the Kansas Speedway.

Detective Lancaster daughters threw out the first pitch as Kansas City Police Officer Dustin Dierenfeldts sang the National Anthem.

Royals manager Ned Yost says he has a deep respect for the officers who work at Kauffman Stadium and on the streets.

“We know how important they are to everybody’s safety,” Yost said before the game. “To continue to find ways and to support them for what they do. They are very important to this community and every community.”

Our thanks goes out to all the law enforcement officers and the Royals fans that attended, special thanks to Royals Group Sales Representative Ariel Peralta and Community Relations Director Ben Aken. For the latest on law enforcement sporting events visit www.lawmemorial.org/sports.