WASHINGTON – Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón, Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orange County Sheriff John Mina and scores of law enforcement officers from across the country have made the trip to Washington D.C. for observances of National Police Week. On Sunday, they gathered at the Capitol Building for Peace Officers Memorial Day.
The holiday and week of remembrance were made law in October 1962 by then-President John F. Kennedy, who approved a joint resolution honoring U.S. law enforcement for working devotedly and selflessly to safeguard the lives and property of their fellow Americans.
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For Peace Officers Memorial Day, federal, state and municipal officers killed or disabled in the line of duty were honored by a crowd of thousands.
President Joe Biden — the memorial service’s keynote speaker — gave remarks from the steps of the Capitol, beginning his speech by addressing Saturday’s mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, where a retired Buffalo police officer working as a security guard was among those who were killed.
“A lone gunman, armed with weapons of war and (a) hate-filled soul, shot and killed 10 innocent people in cold blood at a grocery store on Saturday afternoon. Jill and I, like all of you, pray for the victims and their families, and a devastated community,” Biden said. “. . . Our hearts are heavy once again, but our resolve must never ever waver. No one understands this more than the people sitting in front of me — moms, dads, children, family members — about how those folks in Buffalo feel today when they got the call.”
Jason Raynor — a Daytona Beach police officer who died on Aug. 17, 2021, after being shot in the line of duty at 26 years old — was recently inducted to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.
Photos sent to News 6 by a museum visitor show Raynor’s name and likeness on display, representing one of 619 officers added to the memorial in its most recent Roll Call of Heroes, which it seeks to complete every year before National Police Week begins.
According to a news release, Chief Rolón and his fellow Orlando police officers planned to visit the museum to honor Kevin Valencia as well, who died on March 15, 2021, after he was shot while responding to a domestic violence call in June 2018.
Several of the recent updates on the department’s Facebook page honor Valencia, such as the tribute below.
Officer Kevin Valencia Remembered
Officer Kevin Valencia epitomized what members of the law enforcement profession represent- a leader who put the needs of others before his own. On #PeaceOfficersMemorialDay, we remember Kevin's courage, pride, & commitment to the City of Orlando - Government & support his family always.Posted by Orlando Police Department on Saturday, May 14, 2022
National Police Week runs annually from May 15-21.