SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – For the past 55 years, May 15 has been designated as Peace Officers Memorial Day with the week in which the date falls National Police Week.
In honor of this designation, seven of South Plainfield’s police officers traveled to Washington, D.C. last weekend to take part in events honoring honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. South Plainfield Police Detective Joe Indano coordinated the trip and was joined by Captain Matt Koep, Sergeant James McConville, and Officers Antonio Grasso, Brian Iarrapino, Kevin LoMonte, and Jason Ortiz.
“I worked with another agency before coming here and had a lot of friends that went down to D.C. so when I came here I just carried on the tradition,” said Indano, who has personally been attending police week events in D.C. for the past 11 years.
According to the detective, participation by South Plainfield officers has grown over the years with 2017 marking the largest group to head down to date. “In the past, it was just two or three of us; this was the first year we had a large group,” said Indano.
While in D.C, the officers gathered to watch as participants of the Police Unity Tour arrived, attended a candlelight vigil on the National Mall, and laid commemorative wreaths at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in remembrance of fallen South Plainfield Officers Richard Conklin and William Cady.
“This is a week to remember the sacrifices of all the fallen officers and, most importantly, the sacrifices of their families,” Indano said.
National Police Week was also recognized on a local front. The flag at the borough’s Police Memorial was lowered to half-staff and, at a May 15 borough council meeting, South Plainfield Mayor Matt Anesh declared May 14-20, 2017 as ‘National Police Week’ in the municipality. During the meeting, the mayor presented a proclamation to South Plainfield Police Officer Mark Hollain.
“The members of the South Plainfield Police Department play an essential role in safeguarding the rights and freedoms of the citizens of South Plainfield …” states the mayor’s proclamation. “It is important that all citizens know and understand the problems, duties, and responsibilities of their police department and the members of our police department recognize their duty to serve the people by safeguarding life and property, by protecting them against violence or disorder, and by protecting the innocent against deception and the weak against oppression.”
In the proclamation, the mayor calls upon all citizens as well as patriotic, civil, and educational organizations to observe the week of May 14 through May 20, 2017 as National Police Week and urges ‘all citizens to honor and salute the service of law enforcement officers in our community and in communities across the nation.”
About National Police Week
According to www.policeweek.org, President John F. Kennedy, in 1962, signed a proclamation designating May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week. A Memorial Service was first held in 1982 when approximately 120 survivors and supporters of law enforcement gathered in Senate Park to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Decades later, the event, more commonly known as National Police Week, has grown to a series of planned events which attracts thousands of survivors and law enforcement officers from around the world. Events include the National Peace Officers' Memorial Service, which is sponsored by the Grand Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police and includes a Candlelight Vigil, sponsored by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), and seminars, which are sponsored by Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.
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