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The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial was dedicated in 1991 by President George Bush. It honors all of America's blue-gray marble walls where the names of more than 16,500 officers who have been killed in the line of duty, dating back to the first known death in 1972.
Designed by Washington, DC architect David Buckley, the Memorial sits on three acres of Federal Park Land called Judiciary Square. The site has served for over 200 years as the seat of our nation's judicial branch of government. A glance around the space finds plush carpets of grass, nearly 60,000 plants and 128 trees decorating the Memorial grounds.
Most Common Causes of Police Death
Of the more than 16,500 officers who have been killed, approximately half of them were shot to death, 28% died in traffic-related accidents, and the remaining deaths resulted from a variety of causes.
New York has lost more officers in the line of duty than any other department with more than 580 deaths. The state with the highest number of police deaths is California with more than 1,350.
The Sacrifice of an Officer
On average, one law enforcement officer is killed somewhere in America nearly every other day. More than 57,000 officers are assaulted each year and about 17,000 are injured. Today, more than 870,000 sworn officers put their lives on the line for our protection each and every day. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial is a richly deserved tribute to that extraordinary service and sacrifice.
Remembering the Names of Fallen Officers
The names of the fallen officers are displayed in random order on the Memorial's walls, with directories available to assist visitors in locating a particular name. At an annual candlelight vigil held each year in May, to coincide with National Police Week, new names of fallen officers are added to the Memorial. With each new addition, a message carved on the Memorial rings out:
It is not how these officers died that made them heroes, it is how they lived.
Photos Courtesy of Detective Bill Woltz.
Information for this page was collected from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.