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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Arkansas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 11, 2018

Attorney General Sessions and U.S. Attorney Hiland Recognize Law Enforcement Service and Sacrifice During National Police Week

LITTLE ROCK—Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Cody Hiland, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, recognized the service and sacrifice of federal, state, local, and tribal police officers on the occasion of National Police Week, and commented on the FBI’s 2017 Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted report.

In support of National Police Week, Hiland and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas publically salutes and honors the service of law enforcement officers in our community and in communities across the nation. To show their support for law enforcement officers, Hiland asks citizens to adorn the front of their homes and local businesses in blue ribbons and/or place blue-tinted light bulbs on their outside lighting for the week.

In 2017, three law enforcement officers in the Eastern District of Arkansas were killed in the line of duty. Yell County Sheriff Lt. Kevin Clyde Mainhart died on May 11, Newport Police Department Lt. Patrick Neal Weatherford died on June 12, and Drew County Deputy Sherriff Timothy Braden died on August 24.

“One officer death is too many,” Attorney General Sessions said. “While we are inexpressibly grateful to have had a decrease in the number of officers killed in the line-of-duty last year, the number is still far too high. At the Department of Justice, we honor the memories of the fallen and we pray for their families. We are also following President Trump's Executive Orders to back the women and men in blue, to enhance law enforcement safety, and to reduce violent crime in America. Those priorities will help keep every American safe, including those who risk their lives for us. As always, we have their backs and they have our thanks.”

“Lt. Mainhart, Lt. Weatherford, and Dep. Sheriff Braden died helping keep the people of Arkansas safe; in other words, doing their job,” Hiland said. “Their sacrifice will never be forgotten. During National Police Week, we honor these brave men, as well as the service of all law enforcement officers across the Eastern District of Arkansas and the nation. It is important that all citizens understand the sacrifices, hazards, and immense responsibilities of each of the men and women in law enforcement who put their lives on the line every day. Our communities, our state, and our country depend on them.”

While recognizing those law enforcement officers who have ultimately paid the price while protecting us, Hiland also remembers Forrest City Police Department Officer Oliver Johnson, Jr., who was tragically killed on April 28 by a stray bullet while off duty and inside his home with his family.

There are more than 900,000 law enforcement officers serving in communities across the United States. Since the first recorded death in 1791, more than 20,000 law enforcement officers in the United States have been killed in the line of duty.

According to statistics collected by the FBI and released Thursday, 93 law enforcement officers were killed in line-of-duty incidents in 2017—a 21 percent decrease from 2016 when 118 law enforcement officers were killed in line-of-duty incidents.

Additionally, in 2017 there were 46 law enforcement officers killed in line-of-duty incidents as a result of felonious acts—this is a 30 percent decrease from 2016, when 66 law enforcement officer were killed in line-of-duty incidents as a result of felonious acts.

For the full comprehensive data tables about these incidents and brief narratives describing the fatal attacks and selected assaults resulting in injury, please see the 2017 edition of Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted report, available at www.fbi.gov.

In October 1962, Congress passed and President Kennedy signed a joint resolution declaring May 15th as National Peace Officers Memorial Day to honor law enforcement officers killed or disabled in the line of duty. The resolution also created National Police Week as an annual tribute to law enforcement service and sacrifice.

During Police Week, which is observed from Sunday, May 13 to Saturday, May 19, 2018, our nation celebrates the contributions of police officers from around the country, recognizing their hard work, dedication, loyalty and commitment in keeping our communities safe.

The names of all 93 fallen officers nationwide—including Lt. Mainhart, Lt. Weatherford, and Dep. Sheriff Braden—will be formally dedicated on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC, during the 30th Annual Candlelight Vigil on the evening of May 13, 2018. So that people across the country can experience this unique and powerful ceremony, the vigil will be livestreamed beginning at 8:00 p.m. EDT on May 13th. To register for this free online event, visit www.LawMemorial.org/webcast.

Additionally, Tuesday, May 15, 2018, is designated as Peace Officers Memorial Day and in honor of all fallen officers and their families, U.S. flags should be flown at half-staff on this day.

The Candlelight Vigil is one of many commemorative events taking place in the nation’s capital during National Police Week 2018. For more information about other National Police Week events, please visit www.policeweek.org.

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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the
United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, is available on-line at

http://www.justice.gov/edar

Twitter:
@EDARNEWS

Topic(s): 
Community Outreach
Updated May 11, 2018