Every year, pro-police groups in Washington D.C hold a convention during National Police Week to honor the fallen officers of the past year. 58 years ago in 1962, President John F. Kennedy announced that May 15 would be celebrated as National Peace Officers Memorial Day, and the subsequent week would be National Police Week.
Policing is an extremely dangerous line of work to be in. An average of 176 officers die in the line of duty each year, and in 2020, 362 officers were murdered. 119 officers have been killed in the line of duty so far this year, and it is only five months in. The violence against police officers has been on the rise the past few years, and this has made policing even more difficult and more dangerous than ever before.
National Police Week is there to honor the families of fallen officers of the previous years.
“In February of 1992 one of our fellow Rochester Police Officers, Micheal Love, was shot while trying to take police action off-duty and was killed “in the line of duty” trying to disarm the shooter. During the ceremonies at police week, the surviving family members get to place one rose in a large wreath,” State Trooper Ed Hermick said.
The fallen officers also get their names placed on the wall of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C.
“The year that Mike Love’s name was engraved on the wall, several of us from the Rochester Police Department, along with a few friends from the neighboring departments, made the trip to Washington D.C for the ceremony. Police Week ceremonies brought back happy memories of the good times with Mike, but it was also sad and upsetting remembering that he is no longer with us. There is some comfort knowing that his name is viewed by thousands of people who visit the police memorial in D.C yearly,” Hermick said.
Beaver County also celebrates Police Week with a bike run, candlelight vigil and a memorial. The bike run will be held on May 13 and will fundraise for the widows of Chief Sealock and Chief Romutis. The bike run will lead into the Candle-Light vigil at the Beaver County Courthouse. The next morning, May 14, will be the Memorial Service. Everyone is welcome, so please come and support your local officers
There is a marble statue near the front of the courthouse that has the names of every police officer who was killed in the line of duty in Beaver County.
This year, Chief Robert Sealock of Aliquippa and Chief Mark Romutis of Ambridge will have their names placed on the statue in front of the courthouse. Both Sealock and Romutis passed away in 2020 from “line of duty” injuries. Chief Romutis was better known as Mr. Romutis to students because he was a substitute teacher for many years.