National Police Week begins on Sunday, May 14. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation that designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week.
National Police Week offers honor and remembrance while allowing law enforcement, survivors, and citizens to gather and pay homage to those who gave their lives in the line of duty. Remembering our fallen officers helps ensure their bravery and dedication to serving and protecting our communities are not forgotten.
Nationwide in 2022, 246 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty. Seven of those officers were from Arkansas. Two of the Arkansas officers who lost their lives died from Covid-19. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, protective service workers, including police officers, have had some of the highest Covid mortality rates of any occupation.
One of the Arkansas officers who lost their lives in the line of duty last year was Jonesboro Police Officer Vincent Parks. Officer Parks died on his first day of training at Camp Robinson last summer.
His death prompted changes in training procedures. During the most recent legislative session, we passed Act 199 creating the Vincent Parks Law. It would require instructors to complete training on the recognition and management of certain health conditions and establish procedures in the event a cadet or officer has symptoms of cardiac arrest while receiving training.
When an officer is killed it is not only a loss to the agency, it’s a loss to our entire state. We will continue to find ways to support our law enforcement agencies and invest in resources that make their job safer.
You can find the names of all the Arkansas officers killed in the line of duty in 2022 at arkansashouse.org. The link includes photos and stories about their bravery and service to our state. May we all remember and honor them and their families this week. Arkansas will forever be in their debt.