That is the number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty nationwide in 2010. The death of Deputy Sam Brownlee from the Weld County Sheriff’s Office last November is among those in that list. In fact, at least one Colorado officer has been added to that list every year for a while now.
It’s officers like Deputy Brownlee and all of the men and women who gave their lives to protect our communities that we honor this week, National Police Week. Every day men and women put on the uniform and head to work, not knowing what they will face that day, but they do it because they love their communities and the people in them.
There are some sobering numbers in the annual report by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. We saw a spike in the number of deaths in 2010, which comes after two years of decline. Although traffic fatalities are still the number one cause of line of duty deaths, firearm fatalities increased 24% in 2010, with 61 officers shot and killed. And so far in 2011, we are already seeing an increase over the 2010 numbers, with total fatalities so far sitting at 71.
In Grand Junction we, law enforcement, are fortunate to have good support from our community. We see it often and appreciate the thanks we hear from our residents. We hope that you will join us for the annual Police Week Memorial Vigil on Thursday, May 19 at 7:30pm outside of Grand Junction City Hall. This event grows each year, and this year the plans include a lot to see and experience, complete with the Combined Honor Guard, the Appleton Acoustic Angels Choir, the Veterans Memorial Bell, a 21-gun salute, and a number of police and fire vehicles. The heads of our local law enforcement will be there as well, and we hope to see you there too. The whole event usually takes less than an hour, but it is a great way to pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Below are photos from last year’s Police Week Memorial Vigil.