On Wednesday, May 15th, the Fraternal Order of Police and its Auxiliary assembled on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol to honor the 228 law enforcement officers who gave their lives in the line of duty. The National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service is the capstone event of National Police Week.
“It is a day filled with sorrow and mourning as we remember those men and women who laid down their lives for the communities they protected,” said Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police.
This year, three officers from Washington State were honored during the ceremony. Kent Police Department’s Detective Derrick Focht and Officer Diego Moreno, and Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputy Daniel McCartney.
Detective Derrick Focht – E.O.W. 04/07/2017
“Detective Derrick Focht suffered a fatal heart attack following a shooting investigation involving two gang members,” reads his Officer Down Memorial Page (OFMP) biography. Despite feeling chest pains after attempting to interview two uncooperative suspects in their home, Focht returned to his office to continue his investigation. He was found unresponsive the next day in the hospital parking lot following a scheduled stress test.
“Detective Focht was a U.S. Navy veteran,” continues his biography. “He had served with the Kent Police Department for 20 years and had previously served as a corrections officer with both the King County Sheriff’s Office and Grant County Sheriff’s Office. He is survived by his wife and two children.”
Focht was the second line of duty death for KPD.
Sheriff’s Deputy Daniel McCartney – E.O.W. 01/08/2018
“Deputy Sheriff Daniel McCartney was shot and killed after responding to a burglary in progress,” according to the ODMP. “Deputy McCartney was the first officer on scene and became engaged in a foot pursuit of at least one subject. The man opened fire on Deputy McCartney during the foot pursuit, mortally wounding him.”
“Deputy McCartney was a U.S. Navy veteran,” continues his ODMP biography. “He had served with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department for three years and had previously served with the Hoquiam Police Department for six years. He is survived by his wife and three sons.”
McCartney is the seventh line of duty death for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office.
Officer Diego Moreno- E.O.W. 07/22/2018
The pursuit started after a fellow officer began investigating the sounds of gunfire they heard near a cantina. They attempted to stop a pickup truck leaving the area, but the driver refused to stop.
Officer Moreno deployed spike strips and was struck by one of the pursuing patrol cars involved when attempting to retract them.
Moreno is the third officer lost in the line of duty for KPD.
Footage courtesy Pierce County Sherrif’s Office
National Police Week
“National Police Week is a special time for our nation as we all pause, reflect and remember the enormous sacrifices made by our law enforcement officers and their families,” Canterbury said. “And today, at this National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service, we come together with, the President of the United States, to honor the memories and mourn with the families of the fallen.”
During National Police Week, thousands of law enforcement officers in every region of the nation and corner of the country gather at memorial services to honor their fallen brothers and sisters. More than 25,000 officers, as well as the surviving family members and friends of slain officers, have traveled to the nation’s capital to attend the 38th Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service, which is the nation’s largest and most prominent memorial service held on behalf of fallen law enforcement officers.
“In our grief, we find solitude. In our healing, we find gratitude. We carry on and renew our dedication to the communities we protect and serve,” said President Canterbury
In October 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation designating May 15th as National Peace Officers’ Memorial Day. Since the signing of this proclamation, this date has been the official day of recognition for law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the performance of their duty. This is the 38th year that the Fraternal Order of Police and its Auxiliary have held the National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service.
The Fraternal Order of Police is the largest law enforcement labor organization in the United States, with more than 348,000 members.
Information on This Year’s Event
• FOP National President Chuck Canterbury hosted the event, which honored 228 law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty This includes 59 officers who succumbed to illnesses they contracted when responding to the terrorist attack on 9/11, and 11 fallen officers not previously recognized at this Service.
• These officers come from 36 different States, Puerto Rico and 7 different Federal and tribal agencies.
• Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, is the keynote speaker for the event.
• Attendance is estimated to have exceeded 25,000.
History of the Event
• In October of 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation setting aside May 15th as National Peace Officers’ Memorial Day. Since the signing of this proclamation, this date has been the official day of recognition for law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the performance of their duty.
• On 15 May 1982, the Fraternal Order of Police and its Auxiliary hosted the First Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service. The ceremony has become nationally recognized, which contributed to the building and dedication of the “Wall of Remembrance” on Judiciary Square in Washington, D.C. Currently, the Wall is inscribed with the names of the more than 21,000 law enforcement officers who have made the supreme sacrifice “to protect and serve” the laws and the citizens of the United States.
Facts About Law Enforcement Officer Line Of Duty Deaths
• A total of 158 officers were killed in the line of duty in 2018, 59 officers who succumbed to illnesses they contracted when they responded to the terrorist attack on 9/11 and 11 fallen officers not previously recognized at this Service.
• Of the 53 deaths by gunfire suffered by law enforcement in 2018, 5 of them were ambush killings.
• Since the first recorded police death in 1792, there have been more than 21,000 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.
• A total of 1,582 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty during the past 10 years, an average of one death every 55 hours or 158 per year.
• The deadliest year in law enforcement history was 1930 when 304 officers were killed.
• The deadliest decade was the 1920s when a total of 2,437 officers died, or 243 each year.
• The deadliest day in law enforcement history was 11 September 2001, when 72 officers were killed while responding to the terrorist attacks on the United States.
• New York City has lost more officers in the line of duty than any other department, with 705 deaths. Texas has lost 1,682 officers, more than any other State.