Candidates for political office are gearing up early, and the DSA seems to be a popular “whistle stop” for the campaign trains. The largest law enforcement association south of Los Angeles is often an important and sought after endorsement in most races. We also welcome the opportunity to discuss public safety issues with our friends in the political world.
There is not a thing you don’t obtain through some degree of the political process, and here at the DSA we proudly have one of the most sophisticated public safety PAC’s in California. We not only conduct political endorsement interviews, but we often meet with officials in a more casual environment throughout the year.
We meet with the sheriff often and most recently had a good discussion on public safety issues, policy, and politics during his visit to our office. At our last meeting, the board of directors voted unanimously to endorse Sheriff Gore for his re-election to the office of sheriff. As for other local races, the board has indicated that it is not in any hurry to make other endorsement decisions this spring, but is in the process of scheduling many interview requests.
On May 4, 1963, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation. To quote just a small passage in the usual eloquence of such a document: “I, John F. Kennedy, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate May 15, 1963, and May 15 of each succeeding year, as Peace Officers Memorial Day, in honor of those peace officers who, through their courageous deeds, have lost their lives or have become disabled in the performance of duty. I also designate the week of May 12 through May 18, 1963, and the calendar week during which May 15 occurs of each succeeding year, as Police Week, in recognition of the service given by the men and women who, night and day, protect us through enforcement of our laws.”
May is a month where peace officers and others around our nation pay their respects to those who have left a life with loved ones and friends early. They gave it all through their sacrifice in the name of peace and freedom. Through the pomp and circumstance of formal ceremonies, we hear the reading of those all too familiar names and perilous dates, often accompanied by the sound of a lone bugler or bagpipe. Our eyes gaze toward a family, sitting near the front of the seated crowd. Our hearts sink with thoughts of their pain and suffering.
While these ceremonies bring up emotion and the reminder of our own mortality, it is important to remember why we are there. We also celebrate their lives—their service and courage. Hundreds of marked cars and a sea of uniforms cause citizens to notice, take pause, and reflect on the high cost of peace. Sacrifice does not only have to take place on a distant shore with a foreign adversary. The battle is often fought in our own neighborhoods here at home and the soldier in this case wears a star or a shield.
I encourage each of you to dust off your “Class A” and to carve a few hours out of your day and attend a memorial. You may even consider a trip to the state or national memorials to experience these services on a grand scale.
We are again sponsoring many members to attend the memorial in Sacramento as well as sending several to our nation’s capital, where you experience 25,000 to 40,000 peace officers in one place from all over the country and abroad gathered together to give their respects and pay tribute to our fallen heroes. This year, 120 names were etched into the national memorial from 2012, with 2 from California.
Sadly, peace officer deaths in California alone this year have more than tripled that statistic. Nationally, they have risen 19 percent from this time last year.
Please be safe, remain focused and cherish every day God gives you.