SALEM - Approximately 500 people attended the 2012 Police Memorial Ceremony at the Oregon Public Safety Academy May 8 to honor in remembrance those who serve to protect our communities.
Three names were added this year to Oregon's memorial wall, joining the names of 172 other fallen Oregon law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty since the 1880s:
* Eugene Police Officer Chris Kilcullen (died April 22, 2011)
* Oregon Department of Corrections Officer Buddy Ray Herron (died November 28, 2011)
* Lake County Sheriff's Office Deputy Samuel J. Lewis (died March 11, 1882)
During the hour-long ceremony, Eriks Gabliks, Director of the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training, was joined by guest speakers:
* The Honorable Paul J. De Muniz, Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court
* Chief Pete Kerns, Eugene Police Department
* Director Colette Peters, Department of Corrections
* Sheriff Phillip McDonald, Lake County Sheriff's Office
Following comments from guest speakers, the names of all 175 fallen Oregon law enforcement officers displayed on the Fallen Law Enforcement Officers Memorial were read. Oregon's memorial wall was constructed and dedicated May 15, 2000. It was moved to its current site in Salem and dedicated during the annual ceremony May 11, 2006.
During the month of May, hundreds of similar memorial events will be held throughout the country in addition to the National Law Enforcement Memorial's 24th Annual Candlelight Vigil scheduled on May 13, 2012. The Candlelight Vigil is one of many events honoring America's fallen law enforcement officers during National Police Week, May 13 - 19. Information regarding a live webcast of the emotional Candlelight Vigil, National Police Week and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is available on their website at www.nleomf.com.
The names of Officer Kilcullen, Corrections Officer Heron, and Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter are three of 164 names of fallen officers added this year to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. Chief Painter's name was added to Oregon's memorial wall last year.
Since September 1, 2009 a "Fallen Public Safety Officer License Plate", honoring fallen firefighters and law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, has been available from the Department of Motor Vehicles. Money raised from the purchase of the license plates will support families and escorting officers as they attend the national memorial honoring the fallen public safety officer. For more information about the special license plates, go to:
In 2011, 166 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in the United States. That is one officer killed every 52.77 hours.
In Oregon, three law enforcement officers gave the ultimate sacrifice while protecting and serving their communities this past year.
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15th as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as National Police Week. This year, National Police Week will be May 13-19.
In 2011, 67 officers were killed by gun fire. 34 were killed in an automobile accident. 4 were struck by a vehicle. 1 was killed in an explosion. 4 were killed during a vehicle pursuit and 11 died of a heart attack. 155 were male and 11 were female. The average age was 41 and the average tour of duty was 12 years, 9 months.