In the U.S., there are over 680,000 employed full-time law enforcement officers maintaining law and order. Where there is hurt, danger, and pain, local law enforcement rush in to provide assistance and protection.
Every spring, we have the opportunity to honor police with national recognition. Read on to learn everything you need to know about Police Appreciation Week — and how to best honor the folks in blue in your life.
Everything you need to know about Police Appreciation Week 2023-2024
This year, National Police Week was held Sunday, May 14 – Saturday, May 20, 2023. For the early birds, mark next year’s calendar: The dates of celebration are May 12 – May 18, 2024.
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy appointed May 15th to be Peace Officer Memorial Day and the week surrounding it, National Police Week. A memorial service started in 1982 as a gathering in Senate Park, Washington D.C.
More recently, the day of recognition has grown to a series of events attracting up to 40,000 survivors, law enforcement, and their families to honor police officers.
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, 23,000 have made the ultimate sacrifice since 1791.
Summer of 2016, Shetamia Taylor was caught in an ambush style shooting, and after she was shot in the leg, realizing what was happening, Dallas police Senior Cpl. Lorne Ahrens, a 14-year veteran of the department, shouted at her, “He has a gun, run!”
“My son went to grab me but I was already shot so I grabbed him and lay on top of him. Police asked was anybody hit, because he didn’t know I was shot. I said yes, but not loud enough because I didn’t want my son to hear. The officer got on top of me and covered me and my son. Another cop [was] at my feet and another [stood] by us and they protected us. I saw another officer get shot in front of me.” She went on to say that the police officers who sacrificed their lives for her family and others should be honored and were heroes.
Senior Cpl. Lorne Ahrens was killed soon after he told Shetamia to run. Also killed in the ambush were police Sgt. Michael Smith, Officers Michael Krol and Patrick Zamarripa, and DART Officer Brent Thompson.
Police Appreciation Week honors these individuals and all officers who have died, or who have been disabled, in the line of duty.
You can find special events in cities across the country. Contact your local law enforcement agency or conduct a quick Google search to discover activities for Law Enforcement Appreciation Day (L.E.A.D.) and surrounding evengs.
In more recent years, National Police Week is a collaborative effort dedicated to honoring America’s law enforcement community by the following organizations:
- National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), which produces the annual Candlelight Vigil.
- Fraternal Order of Police/Fraternal Order of Police Auxiliary (FOP/FOPA), which organize the Peace Officers Memorial Day Service at the U.S. Capitol.
- Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.), which holds the National Police Survivors’ Conference.
How to celebrate Police Appreciation Week
Law enforcement officers deserve our appreciation, and a thoughtful gift during Police Appreciation Week is the perfect way to show it. And because you’re already here, we’re pretty convinced that you already understand the importance of appreciation!
A gift for your police officer, first responder, or supporter is a great way to externally show that you care and thank them for their hard work.
Here are some of our favorite police gifts to give this year:
- Tactical Pen: This tactical pen is the perfect gift for the practical law enforcement officer in your life. It’s equipped with a ceramic ball on the top for glass breaking and self-defense when there is an emergency. Includes a gift box.
- Black and Blue Silicone Wedding Ring: This ring is perfect for police officers and their spouses. These silicone rings are a safe, comfortable alternative to wear while working – or all the time!
- Police Officer Socks: Perfect for your police officer son or daughter – or anyone in law enforcement because who doesn’t love a good pair of socks?
- Vest Ventilation: This is a need amongst police officers and law enforcement. The Armadillo Dry Cooling Vest is a durable polyester-mesh vest that sits under the body armor. It creates space between the body armor and body, so refreshing passive air can circulate and cut down on heat and moisture build-up. It fits under any carrier, from any manufacturer.
- Smith & Wesson Police Watch: Smith & Wesson is one of the world’s most recognizable brands and for good reason. Their innovation and manufacturing expertise keeps them one step ahead, just like our boys and girls in blue.
- Peacemaker Coffee: Last, but certainly not least, our favorite gift! This coffee by the Peacemaker Coffee Company is home roasted and packed in Washington. It’s bold intense flavor is perfect for your first responder and/or supporter.
- See our round-up of the best gifts for police officers this year for even more gift ideas.
There are several other ways to say thank you to a cop for their service that don’t necessarily cost money, either.
Show your gratitude next Police Appreciation Week
What we must remember is that these law enforcement officers are mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, brothers and sisters. Each and every day, they wake up with the hope of contributing to a safer, more peaceful, and flourishing world.
It’s time to honor them!
Keep reading: What You Need to Know About Law Enforcement Appreciation Day (January 9)
Authored by Rebekah Bibee
Rebekah Bibee is a copywriter, digital marketer, and cat-herder. She writes about small businesses, best marketing practices, social media, and freelancing. In her free time, Rebekah is often preoccupied with the power of stories and how they inspire community-oriented action.
Rebekah lives in Fort Lauderdale with her husband and two kittens. And would love to grab coffee if you ever visit. Connect with her here on LinkedIn.