Honoring heroes in blue: National Police Week’s Peace Officer Memorial Service marks the contributions of local law enforcement

By Natalie Skelton, DLA Aviation Public Affairs

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The ripple of law enforcement contributions were felt by over 340 attendees during a Peace Officer Memorial Service held May 15 in the Frank B. Lotts Conference Center on Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia.
 
Capt. Ernest Clayborn, police watch commander, Police Services Branch, Fire and Emergency Services Division, Defense Logistics Agency Installation Management Richmond served as the master of ceremonies. As part of National Police Week, Clayborn told the captive audience why the ceremony is held: to honor law enforcement officers who have lost their lives protecting our communities. “More than 20 thousand names are carved on the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C. to appreciate the ultimate sacrifices of these brave men and women,” said Clayborn. “Each year, more than one hundred names are added to the memorial.”
 
Sheriff Todd Wilson of the City of Colonial Heights Sheriff’s Office served as the event’s guest speaker. Wilson is a U.S. Recon Marine Corps veteran who served in Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield before joining the Colonial Heights Sheriff’s Office in 1996 as a deputy sheriff. He became Sheriff in 2005.
 
“As a community we do our utmost to learn from these tragedies, we reflect on how our fallen served and the ripples these individuals made on us and our community,” said Wilson.
 
He asked the crowd to visualize the community as a body of water, and each person as a rock that is thrown into that [community] water. He said, “Effecting change sometimes requires long-term action but sometimes it can be the smallest of actions such as a pleasant greeting, a thank you, a smile or just acknowledging one another as you pass that can cause a ripple, impacting someone else’s life.”
 
Wilson also recognized the trust challenges that face the law community. “That video showing one officer saying or doing exactly what we should not do has tarnished us all,” Wilson said. “This is why I feel it is so important to focus on making positive ripples. Being nicer to everyone you meet, whether uniform or not, treat each other with respect always. Be that person whose ripples positively change those around you. Be the role model, but have a real world plan to respond to the worst.”
 
DLA Police Shift Supervisor Lt. Hanif Granville added his reflections, “We are proud to serve, and honored to stand alongside good people, whose goodness shines brightly, especially in times of trouble. It is important you know we’ll be there if you need us.” He said. “We’ll come when you call and we’ll continue to enforce the values set forth by the founders of this great nation.”
 
National Police Week began with the proclamation and establishment of Peace Officers Memorial Day in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy. The memorial service began 30 years later as a gathering of survivors and supporters of law enforcement. Today, National Police Week is celebrated during the week of May 15 across the nation and in Washington, D.C. Major events include the National Peace Officers Memorial Service.
 
“A positive attitude can change not only your life, but it can create a ripple that can change an entire community. The ripples we choose to create impact every piece of everyday life,” Wilson said.