“It is not how these officers died that made them heroes, it is how they lived.” – Vivian Eney Cross, Survivor
Two Local 117 Police Officers, Roger Gale of the City of Pacific and Willie Bergin from the University of Washington, attended National Police Week in Washington D.C. from May 12-18. The two Shop Stewards were accompanied at the event by Michelle Woodrow, Local 117’s Director of Corrections & Law Enforcement.
“It was the first time anyone in my Department has been to the event, and the first time I’ve been to Washington D.C.,” Bergin said. “The fact that the Teamsters sent me out there; it was a really nice gesture.”
The annual event, which draws tens of thousands of law enforcement professionals from around the world, honors fallen heroes that have been killed in the line of duty. This year’s event honored 321 American law enforcement heroes.
This year, two Washington State law enforcement professionals were honored for making the ultimate sacrifice, STATE TROOPER TONY VIAN RADULESCU of the Washington State Patrol, and MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK RANGER MARGARET ANDERSON. Last year, OFFICER JAYME LEE BIENDL, the fallen MCC Correctional Officer and Local 117 member, was honored at the event.
The week’s activities included a candlelight vigil at the National Law Enforcement Memorial on May 13 and the 32nd Annual National Peace Officers' Memorial Service on May 15 at the Capitol where President Obama was the keynote speaker.
“The candlelight vigil really hit home and the bagpipes struck a chord in my heart,” Bergin said. “Seeing some of the families there that have lost someone, my heart goes out to them. It reminded me – when you’re doing this work, anything can happen at any time.”
According to the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), one law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty somewhere in the United States every 57 hours. Since the first known line-of-duty death in 1791, more than 19,000 U.S. law enforcement officers have made the ultimate sacrifice.
The membership of Local 117 expresses our sincere thanks to all of the Union’s law enforcement professionals and everyone who works in law enforcement nationwide for the tremendous service they provide to our communities and for putting their lives on the line every day to keep us safe.
View photos from National Police Week, taken by Officer Gale, here.