Every year, we take the time to remember the courage of the men and women who serve as police officers in our community, and the ones that have lost their lives while serving. The 2015 National Police Week ceremony brought together all of Valparaiso’s police officers and members of the community to celebrate our current officers and remember the ones who are no longer with us.
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“We do this in remembrance of the officers that have gotten killed in the line of duty. It is a time both to reflect and a time to look forward and appreciate what we have. Sometimes it is just good to reflect on that,” Chief Michael Brickner, said.
John F. Kennedy proclaimed May 15th as National Police Day in 1962. Since then, whichever week May 15th falls on, is National Police Week. Valparaiso continues to honor this tradition with a ceremony.
Kids from Immanuel Lutheran School’s 8th-grade class came out to support the officers on this special day.
“They have gone through the G.R.E.A.T program and we were invited us here. They have showed the students leadership and ways for leadership, so this is a great opportunity for them to see that leadership in action. We are wearing our blue and black for support,” 8th-grade teacher at Immanuel Lutheran School, Candy Mues said.
As the ceremony started, all of the officers lined up and listened as Chief Michael Brickner spoke to the crowd on what this week means to officers around the United States.
“Each May, our nation salutes officers who put their lives on the line every day to maintain safety and hold accountable those who break the law. National Police week is a time to remember all those who were taken from us, only because they chose to serve. We mourn the loss of 126 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty last year.”
Brickner then addressed all the officers on their importance to our community.
“What you do as police officers makes a difference. You all make a difference in the lives of your families and fellow officers. You make a difference by influencing our police department’s culture and help shape the communities we serve. In today’s age of global technology, your actions reach far beyond the city limits. What you do here in Valparaiso can and does affect our entire profession. What we do can change entire neighborhoods and make them safer by partnering with our citizens and building trust. We should honor those who have died by remembering that what we do does make a difference.”
After he spoke, all of the officers took the Oath of Office together. Mayor John Costas then took to the podium to address the Valparaiso officers.
“I am immensely proud of our police department. You represent the finest police officers anywhere in the United States,” Mayor Costas said.
Mayor Costas spoke about the Importance of peace and what it means to our community. “The work that you do promotes this precious thing called peace. That may mean a dad coaching his daughter’s softball team, a 2nd grader walking to Memorial School, teenagers hanging out in Central Park Plaza with a guitar, a mother getting in an early morning run, the VU student from China walking to Kohl’s, and the grandfather reading to his granddaughter in his study. Those things can happen because the peace that you bring. I want to thank you for that today.”
After the speakers, all of the officers were invited to place a flower by a beautiful red, white and blue wreath, to honor all of the men and women killed in duty.
“It is nice to see the community come out and show their support for us. It is a tough time right now for police officers in general; so, it is really nice to see everyone here,” Patrol Officer, John Cordoba said.
The ceremony was followed by lunch and a chance for all of the officers and citizens to interact together on this special week.