Candlelight vigils and solemn ceremonies honoring fallen law officers are being held across Iowa and across the U.S. this week as part of National Police Week. A ceremony this morning (Wednesday) in Davenport featured a procession of police units from at least six local law enforcement agencies, honor guards and a rifle team salute. Bruce Mendelsohn is spokesman for the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial Fund and explains the premise of the various activities. National Police Week was established in 1962 by President Kennedy to recognize the service and sacrifice of our nation’s law enforcement officers, both the ones who have died in the line of duty and those who continue to serve today. While the September 11th attacks renewed a focus on the vital role firefighters and law officers play in our society, Mendelsohn says some of that adoration has faded. He says “Certainly we are more cognizant of our law enforcement officers and firefighters when there’s a crisis, yet recognizing them is just as important for their day-to-day activities, after all, they’re out there on the front lines protecting our safety and the security of our communities and we owe them a debt of gratitude for their service.” Nationwide, 153 law officers were killed in the line of duty in 2004, while in Iowa, one lawman, a state corrections officer from Fort Madison, was killed. Scott Edward Bryant was killed a year ago yesterday, May 17, 2004, while participating in the Iowa State Torch Run for Special Olympics. During the Run, Bryant was struck by an errant 81-year-old driver, who also hit Officer Michael Heston. Both men were taken to the local hospital, where Officer Bryant was pronounced dead on arrival and Officer Heston was treated and released. Bryant was the 136th Iowa law officer killed in the line of duty. For more information, see “www.nationalpolicememorial.com”.
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