Area law enforcement to be honored during National Police Week

May 15, 2019

Area law enforcement and the public will gather together Thursday to honor law enforcement officers.

The Scottsbluff Police Department will host a law enforcement memorial ceremony on Thursday, May 16, at 11 a.m. at the lawn east of the Scottsbluff Public Safety building. The lawn is accessible along Avenue A in the 1800 block.

Police Chief Kevin Spencer said it is the third year that the Scottsbluff Police Department has hosted the ceremonies, which are being held during National Police Week. Police Week became a designated observance under President John F. Kennedy’s administration in 1962, with the designation of May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day.

Recently, the Scottsbluff City Council approved a proclamation recognizing this week’s observance of National Police Week. Spencer noted that ceremonies will be held throughout the United States and the state to honor fallen law enforcement on Peace Officers Memorial Day, which will formally be observed on Wednesday. Earlier this week, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts announced that all U.S. and Nebraska flags are to be flown at half-staff Wednesday. The White House also issued a proclamation on May 10.

Oftentimes, ceremonies are held to commemorate fallen officers. In 2018, 158 police officers died in the line of duty. That figure includes 27 deaths due to illnesses related to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

During Thursday’s ceremonies, Spencer said leaders of area law enforcement agencies will speak.

“(The event) is a time for everybody in public safety to get together and show our unity,” he said. “It’s a time for us to show our appreciation for everyone who is involved in public safety and supports public safety.”

Spencer said he also sees the ceremonies as a day for the public to recognize law enforcement and to honor the sacrifices that they and their family members make every day on the job.

“Personally, it is my opportunity to thank the men and women of the area, especially the officers of the Scottsbluff Police Department, for all the work they do. It’s not an easy job,” he said. “I don’t think people recognize how difficult the job is.”

The department will host a picnic after the ceremonies.