By the President of the United States of America
Each year, we pause to remember and to honor the brave men and women whose heartfelt commitment to the law and to their fellow citizens cost them their lives. During 1994, we lost 56 law enforcement officers to on-duty accidents. Seventy-six officers-72 State and local police and four Federal agents-were murdered. Thirty-three of these officers were wearing body armor when they were killed. All but one were killed with a firearm. Three were gunned down inside police headquarters in our Nation's capital.
America's law enforcement officers face extraordinary risks-breaking up a drug ring, apprehending a fugitive, responding to an incident of domestic violence, even making a traffic stop. Since the first recorded police death in this country in 1794, more than 13,500 law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty. On average, more than 62,000 officers are assaulted and some 20,000 are injured each year.
Tragically, the dangers of law enforcement service are increasing. From 1960 to 1993, the number of violent crimes in America increased 567 percent. In the past 10 years, it increased 51 percent. During 1993, more than 1.9 million violent crimes-murders, rapes, robberies, and assaults-were reported to police. And our police responded.
Despite the rising tide of crime, good and brave men and women continue to join the ranks of law enforcement. Today, more than 600,000 sworn officers work every day to preserve the peace and improve the safety of cities and towns across America. These heroic individuals and their fallen colleagues come from many different backgrounds. But they are linked by a common faith-that freedom is worth defending and that justice shall prevail. For those who died to uphold these ideals and for those who still stand to protect them, we salute America's law enforcement officials.
The Congress, by a joint resolution approved October 1, 1962 (76 Stat. 676), has authorized and requested the President to designate May 15 of each year as "Peace Officers Memorial Day," and the week in which it falls as "Police Week," and by Public Law 103-322 (36 U.S.C. 175) has requested that the flag be flown at half-staff on Peace Officers Memorial Day.
Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 15, 1995, as Peace Officers Memorial Day, and May 14-20, 1995, as Police Week. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this occasion with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities. I also request the Governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag be flown at half-staff on Peace Officers Memorial Day on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels throughout the United States and in all areas under its jurisdiction and control, and I invite the people of the United States to display the flag at half-staff from their homes on that day.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of May, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-five, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and nineteenth.
William J. Clinton
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 2:38 p.m., May 15, 1995]