For many of us, Police Week means participating in state or local memorials, the American flag at half mast on Peace Officer’s Memorial Day, or a moment of silence for a fallen friend, partner or family member. It is the most meaningful week of the year for those of us in the law enforcement community and a time not only for solemn remembrance, but also to rededicate ourselves to the mission of keeping names off the wall.
For me, Police Week is closely associated with our nation’s capital and the Annual Candlelight Vigil that takes place at the National Law Enforcement Memorial. It is a time to step back and reflect on the role of law enforcement in this great country of ours and our role as PoliceOne in the world of law enforcement.
I am a civilian. I have never been a sworn officer, but I have had close contact with thousands. This year was my sixth candlelight vigil. Joining more than 20,000 officers and survivors in lighting a candle to commemorate those who have made the ultimate sacrifice each year has been one of the most powerful experiences of my life. Looking across the sea of candles, surrounded by a wall of 18,000 names and listening as the roll call of fallen officers is read, there is a unique mix of sadness and hope that each year reinforces my sense of purpose and the mission of all of us here at PoliceOne.
For us, it is the sacrifice of those who have fallen and the commitment of those who serve day in and day out that pushes us onward and keeps us steadfast in our watch: providing critical resources to keep officers better informed and better trained.
Since my first vigil in 2000, the Wall has remained a singular image that has come to represent both the sacrifice and heroism of the profession. It is impossible to be as immersed in the world of law enforcement as we are and not be deeply affected by the stories of tragedy and loss we read and cover on the site; the Wall is the embodiment of that solemn effect. Events like Police Week and the Memorial have helped us maintain our focus on our mission to help officers come safely home to their families after every shift.
Throughout our history as a company, one of the phrases engraved on the Wall has stuck with me: “In Valor there is hope.” While it is trivial to compare the sacrifice of one’s life to the trials and tribulations of a company, the message applies to both worlds. Just as each officer who gave his or her life made a difference to their profession and to the communities they serve, we strive to serve the law enforcement community by bringing officers together and arming them with life-critical information and training.
I am proud that PoliceOne has had the privilege to give back as a sponsor of the Law Enforcement Memorial Fund each year for the past seven years. We have contributed more than $150,000 in cash and services in our company’s history, spanning both good times and dire straits. This year we joined companies such as TASER, Blauer and Panasonic in the “Sterling Circle” of contributors to the memorial. The second smallest company on that list is 10 times our size and the largest more than 1,000.
2007 is an especially meaningful year for PoliceOne. We have brought the Police Marksman and Calibre Press, with its Street Survival Seminar, under the PoliceOne umbrella. Both entities have played leading roles in providing officer survival training during the past 30 years. They bring an unparalleled network of resources, knowledge and expertise that enhances our ability to provide education and training to more officers than ever before.
For me, the most important thing about Police Week each year is the effect it has in strengthening PoliceOne’s resolve to support law enforcement. It also puts our role in the law enforcement community in stark perspective; what we do on a daily basis is very little compared to your service and sacrifice.
Be safe in your service and continue to let us know how we can help.