WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Typically, thousands of people flood Washington D.C during Police Week to honor the law enforcement officers across the country, who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. The public event was set to begin this weekend but has been canceled because of the coronavirus.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, many events associated with Police Week have been canceled. This year, the fallen officers will be honored virtually. (Source: Gray DC)
“I’ve been going to Police Week since 1989,” says National Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS) President Emilio Miyars. “It’s almost like a family reunion, you go back and reconnect with friends who have become family.”
Police week is a heartbreaking, yet sobering event that Emilio has been attending since childhood, when his father was killed by a gunman inside of a Florida mall.
“[My father] and his partner chased him down. They started wrestling the suspect gained my dad’s weapon and shot and killed him,” said Emilio, reflecting on the 1986 incident.
Now as the COPS National President, Emilio uses the gathering to grieve and connect with loved ones left behind. This year, he’s forced to refocus his efforts.
“With the coronavirus and pandemic and fears of public safety, we were forced to cancel for the first time in 39 years,” said Fraternal Order of Police National President Patrick Yoes.
The 307 men and women killed in 2019 will not be forgotten, though. Their names will still be etched in stone, alongside more than 20,000 others, at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.
The officers will also be honored through a digital candlelight vigil on Wednesday. You can light a virtual candle and stay connected through the National Police Week 2020 App.
“People are willing to put themselves in harm’s way,” said Yoes. “We owe them a huge debt of gratitude and recognize they are exposing their families to this lifestyle as well.”
At next year’s event, organizers say they plan to honor the 2019 and 2020 fallen officers together.
You can learn more about the virtual vigil and App on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund website.
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