- The Washington Times - Monday, May 8, 2017

Officials from around the D.C. region gathered Monday at Metropolitan Police Headquarters in Northwest to commemorate five local police officers who died in the line of duty last year and to kick off events for National Police Week.

“[Police officers] say goodbye to their families every morning and their desire is to return after every shift,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said during the memorial ceremony outside police headquarters.

No D.C. officers died last year, but five from Arlington and Prince William counties in Virginia and Hartford and Prince George’s counties in Maryland paid what Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham called “the ultimate price.”

“When a police officer is killed, it’s not just the family that mourns but the entire nation,” said Andy Maybo, president of the D.C. Fraternal Order of Police.

According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 143 police officers died in the line of duty across the country in 2016 — the highest figure since 2011, when 178 officers died.

Since 1791 more than 20,000 law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty, according to the fund. Officer deaths peaked in 1930, when 307 were killed.

Since the mid-1970s, the number of officer deaths has hovered below 200 every year. The exception was in 2001, when 243 died — 72 of whom were killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the most of any single incident in U.S. history.

So far this year, 44 officers have died in the line of duty nationwide, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

Gun-related incidents have long been the leading cause of officer deaths. Over the last 10 years, 537 of the more than 1,500 officers who died in the line of duty were shot to death. Almost 400 died in car crashes, and 270 died as a result of job-related illness.

Arlington County Police Cpl. Harvey Snook, 49, died Jan. 14, 2016, the result of cancer he contracted while saving people at the Pentagon after the Sept. 11 attacks. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2014 and had been on the force for 27 years when he died.

Prince William County Police Officer Ashley Guindon, 28, was shot and killed Feb. 27, 2016, while responding to a domestic disturbance in Woodbridge during her first shift as a cop. The alleged shooter, 33-year-old Ronald Hamilton, faces capital murder charges. His trial is set to begin this summer.

Prince George’s County Police Officer Jacai Colson, 27, was shot to death March 13, 2016, when he responded to an active shooter at the District III police station. Colson, who was in plain clothes, was killed by friendly fire. He had been on the force four years.

Two officers from the Harford County Sheriff’s Office were killed Feb. 10, 2016. Senior Deputy Pat Dailey, 52, responded to a call at an Abingdon Panera restaurant and approached David Brian Evans, who pulled out a gun and shot him in the head. Evans fled to his car.

Deputy First Class Mark Logsdon, 43, approached the car and was shot and killed by Evans.

Dailey had been with the sheriff’s office for 30 years and Logsdon 16 years.

Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger said at Monday’s ceremony that the legacies of the officers live on in their families.

“These heroes should not and will not be defined by their end of watch,” Chief Manger said.

 

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