So far this year, 2019, there have been 42 police Officers who died in the line of duty, 18 of them shot to death. That doesn’t count the 5 K9 officers who died in the line of duty as well. National Police Week was set up in 1962 by proclamation of President John F Kennedy to honor the sacrifices of those who have perished in the line of duty. This year’s Memorial service begins tomorrow, May 15, which is designated as Peace Officer’s Memorial Day.
One of the latest deaths was an Army veteran, Sgt Kelvin Ansari, with the Savannah, Georgia police department. He spent 21 years in the US Army, only to be gunned down on May 11, 2019 after 10 years on the police force. He was the father of four.
He and his partner approached a suspect vehicle that was possibly involved in a robbery. The officers were unaware that the suspect was in the vehicle. He shot them when they approached and then fled the scene.
The suspect was later killed as well, but Sgt Ansari did not survive his wounds. The other officer survived and was released from the hospital. (ABC news).
There two words of radio traffic that police officers and dispatchers never want to hear: “officer down.”
Police work of any kind is exceedingly dangerous now more than ever. Thanks to politicians who have created an atmosphere of hatred toward police, the climate has changed significantly from previous years.
Twenty four year police veteran and US Air Force veteran Robert McKeithen, 58, of the Biloxi Police Department in Mississippi was ambushed and shot multiple times in the parking lot of his own department just a week before Sgt Ansari was killed. He was due to retire soon.
Thousands of law enforcement officers attend the funerals of those who die in the line of duty…it’s a brotherhood, a sisterhood, a close knit family. Every officer understands that when one is killed, they could be the next.
The flip side of law enforcement is the PTSD that comes with the territory. In 2018, police officer suicides outnumbered line of duty deaths, according to PoliceOne. Few departments have suicide prevention programs. Awareness is growing for them, but slow to keep up.
National Police Week brings together police officers of every different type of law enforcement, even from around the world. Attendance can be from 25,000 to 40,000. Washington DC fills with police who come to honor those who have fallen, and to participate in daily events. It’s a welcome respite for those who attend.
Featured photo: Sgt Kelvin Ansari, Savannah Police Dept