In honor of National Police Week, Gov. Andy Beshear and the Department of Criminal Justice Training (DOCJT) are honoring the thousands of fallen men and women heroes and recognizing those who continue to serve in their honor.
During this National Police Week, our country is mourning the loss of 295 peace officers who died last year serving their communities.
“Sadly, four Kentuckians were lost serving in Stanton, Hopkins County, Louisville and Bloomfield,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “We come together this week across the commonwealth to honor those lost, to remember their families and to remind their communities that we stand together with them in gratitude to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice.”
The Governor thanked the commonwealth’s peace officers with a video message, which can be found here
President John F. Kennedy initiated National Police Week in 1962, and each year since, the week of May 15 has included a series of events honoring the more than 22,000 American law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty since 1786. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial monument in Washington D.C. holds the names of 22,611 fallen officers.
More than 500 of those names are Kentucky men and women who gave their lives in service to the commonwealth.
“There has never been a more important time in our nation’s history than today to honor the fallen men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect and serve our communities,” said Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Mary Noble. “These brave officers put others before self. They are the best of us. They are our peacemakers. I ask you to join me in remembering the fallen, and their families, and recognize those who continue to serve in their honor. It is a privilege to work alongside Kentucky’s peace officers who are creating a better Kentucky by keeping all of us safe.”
The Kentucky Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation (KLEMF) monument, located on DOCJT’s campus, holds 558 names of Kentucky officers who have died in the line of duty since 1845.
“I am grateful every day for the men and women who protect and serve this commonwealth. It’s a dangerous job, and we strive to offer training that helps each and every officer return home safely at the end of their shifts. When tragedy touches our law enforcement family, we all grieve. It has been said many times before, but is worth repeating. This week is an opportunity for us to remember these officers not for the way they died, but for the way they lived,” said DOCJT Commissioner Nicolai Jilek.
KLEMF seeks to recognize all Kentucky peace officers who gave their lives in service to the commonwealth. Preparations are currently being finalized by DOCJT and KLEMF to jointly host the annual memorial ceremony in-person during the summer in recognition of both those who died in 2020 and in 2019. A memorial ceremony was not held in 2020 in response to safety precautions from the COVID-19 nationwide pandemic.
Five officer names will be added to the KLEMF monument this year including four officers who passed away in 2020 and one who passed away in 2019.
The memorial foundation was established in 1999 to build the monument to Kentucky officers who have died in the line of duty. Once the monument was completed in 2000, the organization expanded its efforts to include an ongoing financial endowment program, which helps Kentucky peace officers and their families with educational, medical and emergency needs.