The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund says officer deaths are up 36 percent from this time last year.
That’s why a Southeast D.C. mom decided to use her Mother’s Day differently, to honor the fallen.
“I’m missing my mother’s day for my daughter but she understands, I’m doing this for those who are not able to,” said Metropolitan Police Officer and Honor Guard member, Jasmine Flemmings-Simmons.
She and hundreds took part in a remembrance ceremony that started with a march of police pipe bands from as far as Canada. One-by-one, the different pipe bands drummed and played their way from the Union Station-area to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial on E St. NW. Once at the memorial, a vigil took place.
Various Honor Guards took turns participating in the ‘Changing of the Guard’ where a wreath sits in the middle of the memorial.
“I had an uncle who was killed back in ’92. He was with the Metropolitan Police Department as well. That made me 1st decide I want to be police officer and also join the honor guard … I saw for the first time when I was 12,” said the MPD officer.
More than one officer from the greater DC-area is being honored this year, including Prince William County’s Ashley Guindon and Prince George’s County’s Jacai Colson. Flemmings-Simmons said, “It hits home … I mean, It could be anyone one of us anytime. So you do this for those who are not able to. You do this because you love your job and you love your community and most of – importantly, the families who are out here and they need to know that we have their backs.”
After the bagpipes played to end the vigil, hundreds of people walked around the memorial while a number of honor guards took turns standing watch over the memorial’s wreath.
“Everyone is not bad,” said Flemmings-Simmions near the wreath, “they’re actually some good officers as you can see. Many of them are out there.” What does she want the public to know? “We’re here for them and not to be afraid of these police officers, you know. We’re human,” said Flemmings-Simmons.
Monday, the 36th Annual National Peace Officers' Memorial Service will take place at 11 a.m. The Memorial Service will be held on the West Front of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. with The Wreath Laying Ceremony to be held after.