WASHINGTON -- As more restrictions were made nationwide this week amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the decision was made on Wednesday to cancel the public events scheduled for National Police Week in May.
All event normally held during the week, including the 39th Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service in Washington, D.C., have been canceled due to the spread of the coronavirus.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund announced that the names of the U.S. law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty will be formally dedicated on the walls of the memorial during a virtual Candlelight Vigil on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, according to a news release.
"The current crisis that our nation and the world is facing has resulted in the cancellation of pubic gatherings in DC during National Police Week 2020," National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund CEO Marcia Ferranto said in a statement. "We will not let this crisis deter us from honoring the fallen. We plan to march forward in solidarity with a virtual Candlelight Vigil and the reading of the names that can be watched from anywhere in the world. Then, as the future becomes more certain and the end of the crisis is near, we will begin to make plans for an in-person reading of names to honor our fallen officers."
The event is traditionally held on the National Mall with more than 30,000 first responders, surviving families and law enforcement supporters in attendance. The virtual Candlelight Vigil will be live streamed and the names of each of the men and women who died in the line of duty during 2019 will be read aloud, along with the names of fallen law enforcement officers who died earlier in history.
Dianne Bernhard, the Executive Director of Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS), said in a letter to survivors that her organization understands the devastation and disappointment the cancellation of events will cause, and that families and co-workers will have an opportunity to visit our nation’s capital where they can participate in events honoring their officer.
"This decision was extremely difficult, yet necessary to protect the health and wellness of our members," Bernhard said in a statement.