WASHINGTON D.C. – Every May 15 is designated as National Peace Officers Memorial Day. The designation was first started by President John F. Kennedy in 1962.
The annual service honors those in law enforcement who were killed in the line of duty.
This year’s ceremony memorialized 228 law enforcement personnel killed in 2018. Of those, three were remembered from the state of Washington.
For many of the officers, deputies, family and friends who lost loved ones, this was a day to remember those they loved and cared for.
For Cierra McCartney, wife of Pierce County Deputy Daniel McCartney, this was a day to remember her husband. And also for her sons to remember their dad.
She talked about the difficulties she’s faced throughout the past few months.
“It’s been full of change and transition. But it’s been filled with a lot of good things, and a lot of sad things,” she said.
Cierra said it’s been hard without Daniel, but the support she’s received has helped.
“Lots of bittersweet moments. But to be honest, as hard as it’s been, we’ve been incredibly blessed with the amount of support that we’ve received and continue to receive,” she said.
Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor and about a dozen others from the department made the trip to Washington D.C. to attend the ceremony.
“This matters to everybody who carries a badge. This event matters, and it should matter,” said Pastor.
Of those from Pierce County who attended, many wore McCartney’s badge number, 484, across their own. Pastor said having the support showed today extends to the families.
“It says something to Dan McCartney’s family. That says, we care deeply, we’re going to take time out of our own time to come here. To look out for them, to give them some extra respect,” said Pastor
Also remembered today from Washington were Kent Police Officer Diego Moreno and Detective Derrick Focht. The Kent Police Department sent 55 of its personnel to remember their fellow officers, said Kent Police Chief Rafael Padilla.
They also went to support the families.
“We felt it was important to support it. Hopefully we don’t have to come out specifically for one of our own. But we invested in it, because we feel like it’s the right thing to do,” said Padilla.
Along with Wednesday’s ceremony, law enforcement attended a candlelight vigil earlier this week. Some attended seminars on grief and about rebuilding after a traumatic loss.
But for those who attended today, it was about healing. A day of remembering.
“We lost one of our own, we miss one of our own. When we said we don’t forget, we’re serious. We do not forget,” said Pastor.