WASHINGTON, D.C. – Law enforcement officers and families of fallen heroes are making their way to the Nation’s Capital for 2012 National Police Week events.
A Mass at St. Patrick’s on Tuesday officially kicked off the series of events planned to remember the law enforcement officers who gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving their communities.
The “Blue Mass” has become a tradition, and hundreds of both police officers and first responders marched to the church for the 18th annual remembrance.
On Saturday about 2 p.m., people will line the streets of Washington to welcome thousands of bicyclists as the Unity tour arrives.
Their long journey ends after they pedal along the walk through the memorial.
New to the Police Week events this year is a training component – Officer World Expo.
“We are excited to be partnering with the National Sheriff’s Association (NSA) in offering three courses: ‘Officer Down Training,’ ‘Ambush/Counter Ambush Tactics,’ and 'Leadership in the Field,'” said Ed Nichols, vice president of events, Public Safety & Security, Cygnus Business Media.
The sessions – free for law enforcement officers – will be held Sunday and Monday from 8 a.m. to 12 noon at the Ronald Reagan Federal Building.
In addition to the education each day, there will be free lunch provided.
On Sunday at 12:15 p.m., Lt. Col. Dave Grossman will give the keynote address, “The Bullet Proof Mind.’ He will be discussing the issues facing today’s law enforcement, the mindset required to be effective, the effects that mindset can create, and how to effectively deal with the uniqueness of being in law enforcement in the 21st century.
He frequently speaks to the U.S. military, and Nichols said he was very excited that Grossman has made time in his schedule.
Nichols said the Sunday event is near capacity in pre-registrants, but there is plenty of room on Monday. He added that officers carrying weapons must have agency badges to enter the federal building.
“Police Week memorializes the line of duty deaths suffered by U.S. law enforcement annually and we are proud that Officer World is the ‘prevention’ component of Police Week events. The education at Officer World, as well as the products (featured), are designed to prevent future line of duty deaths and ensure that everyone goes home at the end of every shift,” Nichols said.
During the 24th annual candlelight vigil Sunday night, the names of 362 law enforcement officers will be added to the wall of the National Law Enforcement Memorial.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will deliver the keynote address during the solemn service slated to begin at 8 p.m.
Steve Groeninger, senior director of marketing and communications for the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund, said people have already started placing items on the wall in memory of their loved ones and fellow officers. “The crowds will continue to grow this week,” he added.
A complete list of the events planned can be found at National Police Week 2012 Schedule of Events.