Briefing Room: officers mark National Police Week with heavy hearts

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Hi Seal Beach,

In 1962 President Kennedy signed into law a bill which would commemorate every May 15th as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week.

In 1994, President Clinton signed a bill which directs all flags to be flown at half-staff on May 15 in honor of this day.

So why did I decide to write about Police Week for this week’s article?

I can assure you that it is not for the purpose of soliciting praise or complements. One of the greatest parts about this community is the fact that we get thanked by the public very often. While we are grateful that the community appreciates what we do, that is not the point of this week.

We celebrate Police Week not as a joyous celebration, but with heavy hearts. The purpose of this week is to remember all of the brave men and women who gave their lives in the service of the community.

Since 1915, Seal Beach has only suffered one line of duty death. On Tuesday, August 23, 1988, 31 year-old Police Officer Edward William Clavell, Jr. tragically lost his life in an on-duty traffic accident.

In 2016, after five Dallas police officers were killed, President Obama spoke the following words: “Like police officers across the country, these men and their families shared a commitment to something larger than themselves. They weren’t looking for their names to be up in lights. They’d tell you the pay was decent but wouldn’t make you rich. They could have told you about the stress and long shifts, and they’d probably agree with Chief Brown when he said that cops don’t expect to hear the words ‘thank you’ very often, especially from those who need them the most. No, the reward comes in knowing that our entire way of life in America depends on the rule of law; that the maintenance of that law is a hard and daily labor; that in this country, we don’t have soldiers in the streets or militias setting the rules. Instead, we have public servants — police officers — like the men who were taken away from us.”

Despite the fact that Seal Beach has only lost one brother, just about all of us know a police officer or deputy sheriff that was killed. It may have been an academy classmate, a partner at a former agency, or a friend from a neighboring jurisdiction. Police funerals are tough. Even if we didn’t personally know the officer that was killed, even for the most stoic of police officers, there is not one dry eye in the house.

This week I ask you, Seal Beach, to please join us in remembering those who have given their lives to protect American communities.

This week is about them, not us.

Visit the Officer Down Memorial Page at https://www.odmp.org/ to find out more about these men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice. I’ll be back next week to answer more of your questions.

Briefing Room: officers mark National Police Week with heavy hearts