National Police Week time to remember fallen officers, celebrate public service

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week. Currently, tens of thousands of law enforcement officers from around the world converge in Washington, D.C., to participate in a number of planned events which honor those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Kennedy honored the profession I love and have been a part of for 19 years. Within the proclamation, he wrote "Whereas, from the beginning of this Nation, law enforcement officers have played an important role in safeguarding the rights and freedoms which are guaranteed by the Constitution and in protecting the lives and property of our citizens." In one paragraph, Kennedy was able to capture the essence of what it means to be a police officer -- serve and protect. In the Air Force, Security Forces defenders and Air Force Office of Special Investigations agents provide this continued service and protection 24/7, without respite or mission failure.

Air Force Security Forces is the largest single Air Force specialty. In 2011, the authorizations in my career field stood at 27,548 enlisted and officers combined. While at home station, we are your "constables on patrol," touring the streets in our white sedans and SUVs. What may appear to be random patrol routes to most casual observers is quite the opposite. We work hand-in-hand with local police departments and federal agencies to ensure your safety beyond the protective boundaries of an Air Force base.

We man the gates in inclement weather and do our best to greet you with a friendly smile and a "Welcome to Peterson Air Force Base." For many of us, this is a passion and for some a temporary station in life until we reach a true calling. The public should never worry about our resolve or passion for our duty. Believe me when I say that every day, all 27,548 of us know it could very well be our last, and the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty may be our fate that day. We defend the Constitution and our country both here and abroad.

When we deploy, our mission becomes more complex. We train using U.S. Army standards for ground offensive and defensive warfare. We routinely conduct missions in hostile territory without regard for our own safety, but instead worry only about the safety of others and the mission. We served with distinction in all manners of conflict; Korea, Vietnam, Desert Shield/Storm, Operations Iraqi Freedom and Operations Enduring Freedom just to name a few. When we return home, we transition back into our peace officer roles without the public ever noticing and never skipping a beat.

We go by many names: Peace officers, policemen and policewomen, special agents, sheriffs, defenders, but we all answer one call across the nation: to serve and protect. During this special week of events, please take a moment to remember those fallen officers who gave their lives in the line of duty as well as celebrate those of us serving every day to protect the freedoms our country holds so dear.

The 21st Security Forces Squadron will host a series of events during the 2015 National Police Week, May 11-15:
May 12 - 12 hour vigil ceremony, building 350 flag pole plaza, from 5:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
May 14 - Shoot House Challenge and K9 demo and weapons display, building 1425 starting at 10 a.m.
May 15 - Law Enforcement Memorial (Colorado Springs Memorial Park) at 10 a.m.