Every year since 1982, a memorial service honoring the men and women who perished in the line of duty is held during the week of May 15th in Washington DC.
What started with a group of 120 police survivors at a memorial has blossomed into a week-long event that boasts attendance rates in the tens of thousands.
Beginning this weekend, officers, survivors, family members, supporters and others from across the country will begin to gather together in our nation’s capital to remember, pay tribute, and give thanks to those that hold the Thin Blue Line.
163 officers passed away in the line of duty in 2018. Next week, we honor them and their families in front of the whole world.
Some have traveled a long way to get there. Law Enforcement United has a group of long riders that are pedaling a grueling 1,200 miles to the event. Some attendees even come from agencies in other parts of the world.
The National Peace Officers Memorial Service is one of a series of events which includes the Candlelight Vigil. One of the sponsors is C.O.P.S. – or Concerns of Police Survivors.
For the last 35 years, C.O.P.S. has created a tight-knit community of survivors. They ensure that everyone who has lost an officer in the line of duty knows they are never alone. Through annual conferences around the country to local chapters to weekend getaways and programs for children, they provide support when it feels like there is none.
In addition to sponsoring the vigil, C.O.P.S. will also be holding their annual Blue Honor Gala, a formal affair that gets active and retired LEO’s and their spouses on the dance floor, as well as providing drinks, food, and a private concert by country music star Mark Wills.
Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) also hosts the National Police Survivors’ Conference on May 14th and May 16th at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center, the host hotel. The conference includes breakfast, lunch, guest speakers, debriefing sessions, and a kids/teens program for the surviving children and siblings of the fallen officer. On May 16th, the conference closes with a picnic on the patio night, where dinner is provided with games, music, and more. This evening encourages survivors to relax and be with each other after a stressful week.
Law Enforcement Today National Spokesperson Kyle Reyes will also be attending Police Week, bringing exclusive stories and content to those who aren’t able to attend.
Reyes will be filming new episodes of the Behind the Uniforms series as well as interviewing survivors on the Blue Carpet prior to Tuesday’s Blue Honor Gala.
Anyone who has been to National Police Week before can also attest to the vast world that is Tent City, featuring vendors from everything inside the law enforcement and criminal justice world.
Our friends from Brothers Before Others will have multiple tents set up. The first is for their organization, BBO, a group of active and retired LEO’s that ensure flowers and support are sent along to every LODD funeral. Check out more on their Flower Fund here. They will also be displaying recently fallen Amy Caprio’s shadow box uniform during the entirety of NPW.
Proud Pig will also have a tent, selling their unapologetic blue-backing apparel. Jonny Castro will have a tent next door, where he displays the portraits of fallen officers that he’s created.
Finally, the group tells LET that they’ve reserved a special tent — not for retail space or to raise funds for their non-profit, but strictly to provide survivor families with a place to go. It’s called “The Blue Room” (sponsored in part by BLUE Magazine) and it’s specifically meant for survivors.
BBO says that the tent features blue velvet ropes upon entry and will have air conditioning and refreshments for the families to relax in between the bigger events.
We were also told that the O’Grady family from Blue Line Bears will be presenting 2 of their customized memorial bears for families at The Blue Room tent during the event. Started by a teen with a huge heart, Blue Line Bears aims to help the children of fallen law enforcement officers cope with the devastating loss of a parent.
Here’s a list of the major events for the week.
Candlelight Vigil hosted by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund
First Day of the National Police Survivors’ Conference hosted by C.O.P.S.
Annual Steve Young National Honor Guard Competition and Pipe Band Competition
C.O.P.S. Blue Honor Gala at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City (Tickets)
National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service hosted by the Fraternal Order of Police and its Auxiliary
Second Day of the National Police Survivors’ Conference hosted by C.O.P.S.
C.O.P.S. Picnic on the Patio
Tent City: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
We hope everyone has a great week and remembers the true meaning of why we gather together.