In 1962, President Kennedy proclaimed May 15th as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week in which May 15th falls, as National Police Week. Established by a joint resolution of Congress in 1962, National Police Week pays special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others.
On May 10th, our Mayor, Robert M. W. Shalhoub, signed a Proclamation declaring the week of May 15 through May 21, 2016 as Police Week in Lake Clarke Shores and May 15, 2016 as Peace Officers Memorial Day in Lake Clarke Shores.
On average, one law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty somewhere in the United States every 61 hours.
In 2015, 124 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty. Traffic-related incidents were the leading cause of officer deaths, killing 52. Thirty-five officers died in automobile crashes, 11 were struck and killed outside their vehicle and six were killed in motorcycle crashes. Firearms-related incidents accounted for 42 deaths and job-related illnesses, such as heart attacks, rose to 24 officer deaths in 2015.
Nine of the fallen officers were female, more than double the four killed in 2014. The average officer was 41 years-old, with 12 years of service. The average number of children left behind by an officer was two.
In Florida, we lost two officers:
On April 6th, Officer Jared Forsyth was killed. He was 33 years old and had 3 years with Ocala P.D. Officer Forsyth was accidentally shot during a training exercise. A second officer was unloading his weapon and it accidentally discharged. The round ricocheted off a bench and struck Officer Forsyth.
On September 22nd, Deputy Sheriff William Myers was killed. He was 64 years old and had 26 years with Okaloosa County S.O. Deputy Myers was shot and killed while serving a domestic violence injunction. He had served the papers to the suspect at the suspect lawyer's office. When asked if he had any weapons, the suspect stated they were in his vehicle. As they both walked to the suspect's vehicle, the suspect shot Deputy Myers in the head.
Both these officers left behind families that struggle with their loss. Please keep these and all the officers that have given their lives, as well as their families in your thoughts and prayers.
Through generous donations from an anonymous donor, lunches and dinners will be provided by the Palm Springs Baptist Church and the Faith Presbyterian Church, for the local Police Department personnel.
Chief Wes Smith
Lake Clarke Shores Police Department