Nearly forty-five years ago President John F. Kennedy signed a law designating May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day. Each year on this date we remember the sacrifice made by law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty nationwide. The calendar week, beginning on Sunday, which includes May 15 has become known as National Police Week.
For the past twenty years a Law Enforcement Memorial Service has been held in Pinellas County during National Police Week. The service features a roll call of the 20 law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty in Pinellas County since 1905. These fallen officers are also recognized during the ceremony by a wreath laying, a 21-gun-salute and the playing of "Taps."
As these important dates approach, I believe it is important for Pinellas County residents to recognize the role of local law enforcement officers who provide a very vital public service in our community. It is equally important to know and understand the duties and responsibilities of their law enforcement agencies and the people who staff them.
The Sheriff's Citizens Academy is a good way to learn about the workings of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office and to gain a general insight into the field of law enforcement. The program meets one evening a week over a period of twelve weeks. Another way to learn about the Sheriff's Office is by participating in one of several volunteer programs. Such programs as the Sheriff's Citizen's Patrol or the Volunteers in Partnership (VIP) provide an opportunity to learn about the agency and the criminal justice system while giving back to the community.
This year the Pinellas County Law Enforcement Memorial Service will be held at the Memorial Park, located just west of the Sheriff's Office at 10750 Ulmerton Road in Largo beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 14, 2008. Representatives from local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies attend this ceremony, and it is open to the public.