FBI Director Christopher Wray thanked the nation’s law enforcement officers for their work keeping communities safe while also recognizing the need to build—and rebuild—the trust of the people they serve. Wray’s remarks were delivered in observance of National Police Week, an annual tribute to the local, state, and federal officers who died in the line of duty.
“Every time one of our agencies loses someone in the line of duty, it’s heartbreaking,” Wray said. “It’s heartbreaking for the families who’ve lost a loved one, for the departments and agencies that lost a friend and colleague, and for the communities who’ve lost an ally and protector.”
Police Week is observed every May; in 1961, President John F. Kennedy declared May 15 Peace Officers Memorial Day, and Police Week is the week on which it falls. The week has traditionally been an opportunity for law enforcement officers to gather for fellowship events, but the COVID-19 pandemic has put many in-person events on hold until October.
“Like you, I’m disappointed that we can’t be together in person this week,” Wray said. “But I’m optimistic that by this fall, we’ll be able to have the in-person Police Week events we all look forward to.”
By several measures, last year was one of the deadliest for law enforcement. According to statistics reported to the FBI, 93 law enforcement officers were killed in line-of-duty incidents in 2020. Of these, 46 died as a result of criminal acts; 47 died in accidents.
In February, the FBI lost two special agents, Dan Alfin and Laura Schwartzenberger, who were killed while executing a search warrant in Florida. Director Wray thanked everyone who offered condolences and expressed support for the Bureau.
“We’re proud to continue working side-by-side with you to protect our families and our communities,” Wray said. “Thank you for your commitment, and for your service.”