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Press Release

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and U.S. Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. Recognize Law Enforcement Service and Sacrifice During National Police Week

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of North Carolina

 FBI Releases 2017 Statistics on of Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted


RALEIGH - Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., 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.

 Jay Russell Memelaar, Jr., Meggan Lee Callahan, Justin James Smith, Veronica Skinner Darden and Wendy Letitia Shannon.  These five names – all North Carolina law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in 2017 -  will be added to the National Law Enforement Officers Memorial wall in Washington, D.C. next week in remembrance of their service and their sacrifice.[1]

 “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.”

“Protecting those who protect us is one of the most important responsibilities of the United States Department of Justice.” United States Attorney Higdon said.  “And, here in the Eastern  District of North Carolina, we stand squarely behind law enforcement at the federal, state and local levels.  We are honored to support and advise them as they work to prevent crime, to prosecute the cases they investigate as they bring offenders to justice, and to back them in every way as they seek to make our communities safer and more secure.  Where their work leads them into harm’s way, we stand ready to aggressively pursue those who would commit violent acts against our law enforcement officers.  It is our first priority.”

According to statistics collected by the FBI, 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, released today.  See, Information about the numbers of officers killed in the line of duty during the first months of 2018 can be found at

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 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

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


[1]     The name of Zack C. Ramsey, formerly of the Cherokee County, North Carolina Sheriff’s Office, was also added.  Deputy Ramsey gave his life in the line of duty on October 2, 1942.  We honor his service and sacrifice as well.

Updated May 11, 2018