KANSAS CITY, Mo. – National Police Week is a week set aside to honor and remember law enforcement officers who gave their lives in the line of duty while serving in federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day, and National Police Week is held annually to commemorate fallen officers. One of the events held during the week is the inclusion of the names of fallen officers on the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C.
This year, the names of 619 officers killed in the line of duty are being added to the National Law Enforcement Memorial. This number includes 472 officers who died in 2021 (319 were COVID-19 related), plus 147 officers who died in previous years and were verified to be line of duty deaths.
The fallen officers being memorialized include 10 members of the law enforcement community from Missouri. Three of these officers were from the Western District of Missouri: Officer Blaize Madrid-Evans, Independence Police Department, was shot and killed on September 15, 2021, during an encounter with an armed suspect; Sgt. John Bullard Jr., Independence Police Department, died on August 11, 2021, after presumably contracting COVID-19 at work; and Lt. Leslie Lentz, Missouri Department of Corrections, died on July 1, 2021, after being exposed to COVID-19 at work.
The names of these 619 officers will join the over 22,600 names already engraved on the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C. They will be formally dedicated during the 34th Annual Candlelight Vigil to be held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on May 13, 2022. You can register and watch the Candlelight Vigil live by going to https://NLEOMf.org/RegisterCV.