Under a canopy of blue, laser-generated light, thousands of people wearing black-wrapped badges raised lighted candles in Judiciary Square in Washington at sunset to honor fallen colleagues. As darkness fell, the candlelight and laser beams illuminated the area around the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, which recently added 358 names to its smooth gray marble panels. Among them were 181 officers who died on duty in 2007, one of the deadliest years for law enforcement in two decades, reports the Washington Post.
Traffic-related accidents were the leading cause of death for officers and claimed 83 lives across the country last year. U.S. Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey said: “Law enforcement is not about badges and uniforms. It is about taking a stand to protect the rights of our neighbors and shield them from danger.” Steeped in solemnity, the ceremony is a centerpiece of National Police Week. Officers from all over the country, as well as from England, Australia, New Zealand and Italy have come for the annual events. “If you’re a cop anywhere in the world, you’re a cop,” said Sgt. Jaiye Warwick of the London police service. With the inclusion of the names read aloud last night, 18,274 have been engraved on the memorial.