Honoring service and sacrifice since 1962

Since 1962, the week surrounding National Peace Officers Memorial Day has been recognized around the country as National Police Week. Sheriff John Urquhart and King County Council Vice Chair Reagan Dunn invite King County residents to join the nation next week in honoring the law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting others in the line of duty.

King County Sheriff's Department“Every year police officers coalesce at our nation’s capital to honor those who have made protecting others their life’s work,” said Sheriff John Urquhart.  “It is an honor to be a police officer, and I could not be more proud to serve as King County’s Sheriff representing our deputies and community in Washington, D.C. next week.”

This year, Sheriff Urquhart will be attending the National Police Week events in Washington D.C. He will join members of law enforcement, family members and the public in honoring those who have fallen.

“I have a deep respect for the work law enforcement officers do and feel it’s more than fitting that we in turn honor the service of those officers who have fallen in the line of duty,” said Council Vice Chair Reagan Dunn.

This year, two King County Sheriff Deputies will be added to the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. Deputy John Frederick Mines, who died July 19, 1946 and Deputy George H. Yeaman, Jr, who died July 22, 1946, will be forever memorialized in the National Memorial. These two names will be added to the King County Sheriff’s Memorial at a later date.

“This is a time set aside each year to honor the courageous men and women in law enforcement who serve us every day,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert. “My dad was an officer in the San Francisco Police Department so I learned from an early age about the sacrifices made by these brave people. Sometimes the ultimate sacrifice. Their commitment to public safety keeps our society civil and safe.”

Joining other municipalities around the country, King County recognizes May 14-20 in honor of law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting the public.

There are approximately 900,000 law enforcement officers currently in the U.S. Since the first recorded death in 1791, over 20,000 law enforcement officers—representing cities, counties, states, and federal agencies in the United States—have died in the line of duty.

4,000 men and women are in law enforcement in King County serving 39 cities, three Tribal Governments, the University of Washington, and nearly 250,000 residents living in unincorporated communities.
In 1853, King County Deputy Wesley Cherry was the first King County law officer to lose their life in the line of duty. Since Cherry, 97 county-based officers have made the ultimate sacrifice, with 18 of those officers working in the King County Sheriff’s Office. In addition, King County Sheriff’s K-9 Officer Jimmy, who died in 2015, has also been recognized.

Each year, Washington State adds names of officers who lost their lives in the line of duty to the Washington State Law Enforcement Memorial in Olympia. On May 5, Tacoma Police Department Officer R Jake Gutierrez, who died November 30, 2016 and Randall Scott Gibson, Chief of the Kalama Police Department, who passed away January 10, 2017 were added to the memorial. Governor Jay Inslee also presented the Medal of Honor for posthumous service to the family of King County Deputy Wesley F. Cherry at the ceremony.

Contributed by King County Council Communications