National Peace Officers Memorial Day Observed On May 15

National Peace Officers Memorial Day will be observed on Sunday, May 15, 2022, across the United States.

Peace Officers Memorial Day is an observance in America that pays tribute to local, state and federal peace officers who have died, or who have been disabled in the line of duty.

National Police Week, honoring the service and sacrifice of United States law enforcement officers, takes place May 15-21, 2022. It’s a collaborative effort of many organizations dedicated to honoring America’s law enforcement community. The formal celebration of National Peace Officers Memorial Day is recognized on May 15 of each year during National Police Week.

Locally, a memorial service will take place at Catawba Memorial Park on U.S. Highway 70 in Hickory on Friday, May 20, 2022, to recognize fallen officers from this area. Newton Police Chief Vidal Sipe will be the featured speaker. The event is sponsored by the National Fraternal Order of Police and Catawba County FOP Lodge 26.

The names of 619 fallen officers added this year to the wall at the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial will be read on Friday, May 13, 2022, during a candlelight vigil in Washington, D.C. That list includes officers who were killed in the line of duty or had COVID-related deaths in 2021.

Thirty of those officers recognized are from North Carolina, including Dennis Wayne Dixon of the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office and William Oscar McMurtray III of the Burke County Sheriff’s Office.

Dixon died August 16, 2021, and McMurtray passed away on October 11, 2021.

Thirty-sixth Prosecutorial District Attorney Scott Reilly asked citizens in Burke, Caldwell and Catawba counties to display U.S. flags at half-staff on May 15 to honor fallen officers who lost their lives through courageous deeds while serving their communities.

The recognition of peace officers was established on October 1, 1961, when Congress authorized the president to designate May 15 of each year to honor peace officers. The bill was signed into law by President John F. Kennedy on October 1, 1962, and the first Peace Officers Memorial Day to honor those officers who lost their lives while carrying out their duties took place on May 15, 1963.