Honoring our police officers

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as “Police Week.”

Every year since, thousands of law enforcement officers from around the nation converge on Washington, D.C., to participate in a number of planned events which honor those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

The first official memorial service took place on May 15, 1982.

On that date, approximately 125 people gathered in Senate Park to honor 91 law enforcement officers.

Over the past 30 years, we have honored thousands of law enforcement officers from around the nation.

Today, the National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service has become one in a series of events which includes the Candlelight Vigil, which is sponsored by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and seminars sponsored by Concerns of Police Survivors.

Each year during National Police Week, thousands gather on the site of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., to salute all of America’s law enforcement heroes – past and present.

Ceremonies are held locally as well.

The 2014 Upper Peninsula Peace Officer Memorial Ceremony will be held at Escanaba High School on Thursday.

Four Delta County officers who were killed in the line of duty will be specifically recognized during the event.

Those fallen officers are Frank Curran of the Delta County Sheriff’s Department; Gerald Welling of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Darryl M. Rantanen of the Michigan State Police Post in Gladstone; and Jake James McCullough of the Hannahville Tribal Police Department.

The ceremony will honor a total of 27 officers who lost their lives while serving communities in the Upper Peninsula. There were 10 natives of the U.P. who died in the line of duty while serving at police agencies downstate.

The ceremony will also honor the survivors of these officers who gave the ultimate sacrifice. It will serve as a tribute to all peace officers who serve and protect their communities every day.

The first U.P. officer killed in the line of duty, a Marquette County Sheriff’s Deputy, died on March 9, 1885, in Marquette County.

The last U.P. officer killed in the line of duty, a Hannahville Tribal Police officer, died on Dec. 5, 1981.

Four officers with ties to Dickinson County have died in the line of duty.

They include Carl Linderg of Iron Mountain (Detroit Post-Michigan State Police), Bert Pozza of Iron Mountain (Flint Post-Michigan State Police), Ralph Broullire of Iron Mountain (Bay City Post-Michigan State Police) and Kenneth Moraska of the Norway City Police Department.

Moraska was killed on May 23, 1971.

It is fitting that we recognize their contribution to our nation.

Since 1791, there have been 21,743 known line of duty deaths in America, including 568 in Michigan.

The Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., has space for 29,233 names.

If officer fatalities continue to occur at the current annual rate (167 per year), the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial will reach its engraving capacity around 2050.

According to recent studies, more officers are killed on Wednesday in felony related incidents, than any other day of the week.

The fewest number of felonious fatalities occurred on Sundays. More officers are killed between 10:01 p.m. and midnight than during any other two-hour period.

On average, more than 58,066 law enforcement officers are assaulted each year, resulting in some 16,494 injuries. Further, based on a study by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, less than one-tenth of one percent of all contacts between police and the public (i.e., traffic stops, pedestrian stops, calls for help, etc.) ever result in the use of any type of force.

In other words, police do not use force of any kind more than 99.9 percent of the time in the performance of their duties.

The deadliest year in law enforcement history was 1974, when 271 officers were killed.

The deadliest decade was the 1970s when a total of 2,240 officers died, or 224 each year.

The Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center marked the single deadliest incident and the deadliest day in law enforcement history.

On that horrific day, 72 officers were killed responding to the terrorist attacks.

One of those officers was killed aboard downed Flight 93, which was diverted from its Washington, D.C., target by the bravery of passengers and crew.

The previous incident to hold this unwanted distinction occurred on Nov. 24, 1917, when a bomb exploded in a Milwaukee, Wis., police station house, killing nine officers.

Today, on page 8A, The Daily News recognizes the importance of our local police officers.