Sixty years ago, President John Kennedy declared the first National Police Week, and set aside a special time to pause and remember the sacrifice of law enforcement officers across America who fell in the line of duty and to celebrate the hundreds of thousands of men and women who work tirelessly every day to keep our communities safe.
Since then, the week has been marked with an annual gathering of officers in our nation’s capital, as well as scores of events that honor and remember these brave heroes.
Here in New York, National Police Week events actually have spanned three weeks. As the wife and mother of police officers, I feel especially privileged to have been invited to attend separate Police Memorial events in Suffolk County, hosted by the Suffolk County Police Department, and at the New York State Police Memorial, located in the shadow of the Capitol building in Albany.
To coincide with National Police Week, May 15-21, I’m unveiling an online tribute to all the fallen officers and State Troopers who made the ultimate sacrifice here in Suffolk County. Law enforcement officers like Henry Stewart, of the Suffolk County Police Department, are examples of the grit and courage these officers display every single day, even while off duty.
Officer Stewart was killed while trying to confront a teenager who was vandalizing cars and signs on his block. When Officer Stewart approached, the suspect drove off, dragging the officer 500 feet before crashing into a parked car.
Officer Stewart was a military veteran who served with the Suffolk Police Department for 19 years, following five years as a member of the NYPD. His life was truly dedicated to the people and communities he was sworn to serve.
Officer Stewart is one of 38 Suffolk County law enforcement officers—county police, corrections officers, local constables and State Troopers assigned here—who gave their lives in the line of duty, and are featured in my online tribute. You can view the tribute at weik.nysenate.gov. Each day during National Police Week I will be releasing additional information about these officers and the work that they do on my facebook page.
I hope that you will take some time during National Police Week to remember all those law enforcement officers who gave their all, and take a moment to thank an officer who still serves today.