LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week are significant observances in the United States, dedicated to honoring the brave men and women in law enforcement who have made the ultimate sacrifice or have been disabled while serving their communities.

This solemn tribute of Peace Officers Memorial Day occurs annually on May 15th, facilitated by the National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Memorial Committee. The FOP will be hosting the largest National National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service in its 43-year history today at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.

How did the occasion start?

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Established by Congress in October of 1961, this day holds a special place in the nation’s heart, as it symbolizes the gratitude and respect towards local, state, and federal peace officers.

President John F. Kennedy formally signed the bill into law on October 1, 1962, marking May 15th as the official day to recognize and remember these courageous individuals.

Many events scheduled during Police Week.

During Police Week, which encompasses the calendar week in which May 15th falls, various events are organized to honor law enforcement personnel. These include the annual Blue Mass (an event in the Catholic Church for those employed in the “public safety field,” a Candlelight Vigil, a Wreath Laying Ceremony including one for K9 officers, National Police Survivors Conference, an Honor Guard Competition, and more.

Michigan State Police honors fallen heroes.

One such tribute occurs at the Michigan State Police (MSP) Fallen Trooper Memorial, located on the grounds of the Michigan State Police Training Academy near Lansing. Here, fallen troopers are remembered and honored every May.

Additionally, throughout the year, the Michigan State Police commemorates their fallen troopers on social media, ensuring that their sacrifices are never forgotten.

According to MSP documentation, 56 MSP police officers have died in the line of duty over the years with no deaths in 2023. In January 2024, Trooper Joel E. Popp was tragically killed when he was struck by a vehicle during a traffic stop.

Gov. Whitmer and President Whitmer acknowledge day.

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Both Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and President Biden have made proclamations for the day with the governor ordering U.S. and Michigan flags within the State Capitol Complex and upon all public buildings and grounds across the state of Michigan to be lowered to half-staff Wednesday, May 15 in recognition of Peace Officers Memorial Day.

Gov. Whitmer said about the day in her press release, “Today, we unite as a community to pay tribute to the brave officers who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our state. These men and women have tough jobs and step up every day to protect their communities, risking their own safety to protect public safety. Let’s learn from their example of public service and honor their memory.”

The significance of Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week extends beyond mere recognition; it serves as a reminder of the dangers inherent in law enforcement and the selflessness exhibited by those who choose to serve and protect their communities. These observances not only pay homage to the fallen but also stand as a testament to the resilience and dedication of those who continue to serve on the front lines of law enforcement.