As our Nation celebrated National Police Week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) honored the men and women of the law enforcement community and remembered those who have given their lives in the line of duty.
“Our lost colleagues and many other sons and daughters of our nation who chose the hazardous profession of law enforcement represent the best of our country and the true spirit of service to others before self,” Secretary Johnson said. “We offer our condolences to the families, friends, and loved ones of those who we have lost in the line of duty.”
Throughout National Police Week, leadership from across the Department commemorated the occasion by participated in a number of events to honor the service and sacrifice of law enforcement professionals who lost their lives in the line of duty.
On Monday, Secretary Jeh Johnson and Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, joined by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Tom Winkowski, participated in the ICE Valor Memorial and Wreath Laying Ceremony at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.
Later in the day, Secretary Johnson joined President Obama and Vice President Biden at the White House to honor the 2014 National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) TOP COPS award winners - some of our nation's best law enforcement officials – to the White House to honor their remarkable service and sacrifice. The TOP COPS are chosen each year by the National Association of Police Organizations, after being nominated by their fellow officers for their notable service during the previous calendar year.
On Tuesday, Secretary Johnson and Deputy Secretary Mayorkas, joined by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske, participated in the CBP Valor Memorial and Wreath Laying Ceremony at Woodrow Wilson Plaza. CBP Officer Darrel Windhaus, who passed away in 2013 after years of dedicated service to our Department, was recognized and his name was unveiled on the Valor Memorial during the ceremony.
The names of law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty were read aloud to a crowd of thousands during a candlelight vigil on Tuesday evening at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. Secretary Johnson had the honor of participating in the 26th Annual Candlelight Vigil to honor the law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice, as was joined by Department leadership from across the Components. The names of the crew of U.S. Coast Guard CG-328 and U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Travis Obendorf were added to the Memorial this year in memoriam.
On Thursday, Secretary Johnson, Deputy Secretary Mayorkas, U.S. Secret Service Director Pierson, ICE Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Winkowski, CBP Commissioner Kerlikowske and Deputy Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, joined Vice President Biden and participated in the National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service at the U.S. Capitol. The Memorial Service, which began in 1982 with approximately 120 survivors and supporters of law enforcement, has become the centerpiece of National Police Week attracting tens of thousands of law enforcement officers from around the world to our nation’s capital.
Since the first recorded police death in 1791 more than 20,000 peace officers have paid the ultimate price for our safety, including members of our own Department. In addition to CBP Officer Windhaus and Coast Guard Petty Officer Obendorf, we also recognize and remember Transportation Security Officer Gerardo Hernandez, who was killed in the line of duty in November 2013.
Throughout National Police Week, we respect, honor and remember those we have lost, and we ask you to join with Secretary Johnson and the entire Department as we thank all of our dedicated DHS law enforcement officers for their devoted service, sacrifice and commitment to keep our communities safe and our nation secure.