May 13, 2024

VBPD Recognizing Fallen Officers During 2024 Police Week

Public invited to attend ceremony May 17 at Law Enforcement Memorial

Officers in front of Law Enforcement Memorial

For the past 62 years, National Police Week has given Americans across the country the opportunity to honor law enforcement officers who paid the ultimate sacrifice. 

“It’s a chance for us to reflect on the level of selflessness that our law enforcement officers display each and every day,” said Virginia Beach Police Department (VBPD) Chief Paul Neudigate. “We shall never forget the sacrifices that these officers have made in service to their communities.” 

President John F. Kennedy saw the need to honor those sacrifices in 1962, when he signed a proclamation designating May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as National Police Week. Every year, thousands of law enforcement officers across the country come together to recognize, honor and thank the men and women that have fallen in the line of duty. 

VBPD staff look forward to taking part in these events every year. Master Police Officer Allen Perry is among those officers participating in memorial events this week. 

“We’re fortunate to live and serve in a community that supports us in our service to others,” Perry said. “We owe it to all the officers before us to remember their sacrifices and to pay it forward to the next generation.” 

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund records the deaths of officers across the country, ensuring that each officer is recognized. Since 2020, the organization reports that 1,472 officers have fallen in the line of duty. 

Sadly, mental health challenges may contribute to these figures, as some public safety personnel die by suicide, and police departments across the country focus on officer wellness. VBPD expanded on its efforts to support its officers’ health and well being, by adding new resources for officers and hiring a dedicated clinician that is available to all VBPD personnel. 

“Police Week is also a time to think about how we can support the officers with us today,” Neudigate said. “Ensuring that our officers are resourced and supported to keep them healthy and safe is a priority for VBPD.”  

This week, VBPD officers will participate in a variety of events each designed to remember fallen officers, including the 36th Annual Candlelight Vigil on the National Mall, the Emerald Society Parade and National Peace Officers Memorial Service in Washington, D.C. 

Local law enforcement agencies will also hold the 2024 Virginia Beach Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Ceremony to honor officers who died in the line of duty and pay tribute to all local law enforcement. Held annually by the Virginia Beach Fraternal Order of Police, the public is invited to attend the event at 2 p.m. on May 17 at the Law Enforcement Memorial at the Oceanfront, 100 35th St. 

Participating in these events is a source of pride for law enforcement officers. Remembering those who have given the ultimate form of service is critical to support officers who continue to serve today. 

“Being part of these events brings everything into perspective,” Perry said. “The officers serving today stand on the shoulders of those who came before us.” 

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