FORT SMITH — In honor of National Police Week, U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes recognizes the service and sacrifice of federal, state, local, and Tribal law enforcement. This year, the week is observed Wednesday, May 11 through Tuesday, May 17, 2022.
“This week, we gather to pay tribute to the law enforcement officers who sacrificed their lives in service to our country,” said Attorney General Garland. “We remember the courage with which they worked and lived. And we recommit ourselves to the mission to which they dedicated their lives. On behalf of a grateful Justice Department and a grateful nation, I extend my sincerest thanks and gratitude to the entire law enforcement community.”
“The profession of serving as a police officer has faced unprecedented challenges over the last year,” said U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes. “These challenges include a rising tide of drug trafficking, directly accompanied by a dramatic increase in violent crime. Our police officers have also faced numerous challenges associated with a global pandemic. We are extremely fortunate in the Western District of Arkansas to have some of the most dedicated, trustworthy, and competent law enforcement officers in the United States. The law enforcement officers in Western Arkansas have met each one of these unprecedented challenges with the dedication and sacrifice that we too often take for granted. It is with great respect and deep admiration for their service that we take this opportunity to express our thanks and deepest gratitude for all that they do on our behalf.”
In 1962, President Kennedy issued the first proclamation for Peace Officers Memorial Day and National Police Week to remember and honor law enforcement officers for their service and sacrifices. Peace Officers Memorial Day, which every year falls on May 15, specifically honors law enforcement officers killed or disabled in the line of duty. Based on data submitted to and analyzed by the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), 472 law enforcement officers died nationwide in the line of duty in 2021. Of that number, 319 succumbed to COVID-19.
Additionally, according to 2021 statistics reported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) through the Law Enforcement Officer Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) Program, 73 law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty in 2021 were killed as a result of felonious acts, whereas 56 died in accidents. Deaths resulting from felonious acts increased in 2021, rising more than 58 percent from the previous year. In 2021, unprovoked attacks[i] were the cause of 24 deaths significantly outpacing all other line of duty deaths resulting from felony acts and reaching the highest annual total in over 30 years of reporting. Additional LEOKA statistics can be found on FBI’s Crime Data Explorer website for the LEOKA program.
The names of the 619 fallen officers added this year to the wall at the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial will be read on Friday, May 13, 2022, during a Candlelight Vigil in Washington, D.C., starting at 8 p.m. EDT. Those who wish to view the vigil live online, can watch on the NLEOMF YouTube channel found at https://www.youtube.com/TheNLEOMF. The schedule of National Police Week events is available on NLEOMF’s website.