The week of May 15-22 marks the annual celebration of National Police Week. Inaugurated by way of a Presidential Proclamation from President John F. Kennedy in 1962, National Police Week is a time to honor law enforcement officers, the work they do, and the sacrifices they make. I would like to take this opportunity to thank, from the bottom of my heart, all of the brave and dedicated men and women who put their lives on the line every day to protect our communities from danger.
This past Sunday, May 22, I attended the 26th Annual Rockland County Police Memorial Service which was held at the Rockland County courthouse, where local officers killed in the line of duty were honored and remembered. This year, New York City Police Officer Christopher McMurry of Orangeburg was added to the memorial. Officer McMurry served bravely at Ground Zero in the aftermath of the September 11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center. McMurray was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2003, and after he passed away in 2008, it was determined that his death was related to his service at Ground Zero. He will be the 30th officer honored in the history of the memorial.
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, one U.S. law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty every 53 hours. Since the first documented line-of-duty death in 1791, over 19,000 officers have made the ultimate sacrifice for our protection.i It is my job as an elected official to make sure that those who protect us are adequately protected themselves. Last year I sponsored the “Ambrose-Searles Move Over” law, which requires motorists to move over and slow down when approaching an authorized vehicle with emergency lights flashing, parked on a New York interstate highway or parkway (Ch. 387 of 2010). This legislation will help prevent unnecessary and tragic deaths in the line of duty.
National Police Week is a time to remember, reflect and honor the sacrifices of others, but it doesn’t and shouldn’t take a special week for us to express our gratitude for the brave men and women who defend us from harm and strengthen our communities. We should be taking the time to honor those who serve, those who have served and those who have died in the line of duty to protect us each and every day, not just during National Police Week.