King County Council recognizes and honors officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice

King County - Contributed Art
King County
— image credit: Contributed Art

The Metropolitan King County Council today joined municipalities across the country in proclaiming May 12–18 National Police Week in recognition of those men and women who have fallen in the line of duty.

“It is an honor to take part in this recognition and pay tribute our fallen heroes,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn, the sponsor of the proclamation. “The men and women of law enforcement deserve our utmost respect and gratitude for all they do.”

Police Week was created in 1962 when President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation designating May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week. Currently, tens of thousands of law enforcement officers from around the world converge on Washington, DC to participate in a number of planned events which honor those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

King County is home to nearly 3,100 commissioned law enforcement personnel who serve and protect the residents and businesses of 39 cities, the Port of Seattle, three Tribal governments, the University of Washington and the 250,000 residents of unincorporated King County.

In 1853, Deputy Wesley Cherry was the first recorded law enforcement death in King County. A total of 95 King County-based law enforcement personnel have made the ultimate sacrifice, with 16 of these officers being members of the King County Sheriff’s Office.

There are approximately 900,000 law enforcement officers serving in communities across the United States. The first recorded death took place in 1791, and since that time almost 20,000 law enforcement officers in the United States have died in the line of duty.

As part of the yearly celebration of Police Week, the names of officers lost in the line of duty are added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.

This year, two officers from Washington State will be added to the memorial: Washington State Patrol member Sean O’Connell, Jr and Deputy James Franklin Chatfield of the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office who passed away in 1921. Patrolman O’Connell’s name was also added to the Washington State Law Enforcement Memorial in Olympia on May 2.

In 2013 the Metropolitan King County Council unanimously passed legislation to study the creation of a King County Sheriff’s Office memorial. The memorial is now in the planning stages and a design is being chosen for eventual installation in the King County Courthouse.

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