Seattle, Washington, USA: August 20, 2010: Honor guard Police Officers from several counties folding the American flag for a Memorial Service for Fallen Law Enforcement Officers.

Peace Officers Memorial Day

Police Officers Memorial Day is a holiday that falls on May 15th every year and is used as a day to pay tribute to law enforcement officers who have been injured or killed while on duty.

This holiday is observed during Police Week and is used to commemorate not only federal law officers but also those at the local and state levels as well.

The History of Police Officers Memorial Day

Police Officers Memorial Day was first created in 1961 when the 87th U.S. Congress authorized the President of the United States to designate May 15th as a day to honor law enforcement officers.

On October 1, 1961, U.S. President John F. Kennedy signed the bill into law. In 1994, Public Law 103-322 directed that the American flag be flown at half-staff when it is observed on this holiday. The tradition was continued by both U.S. President George W. Bush in 2002 and by U.S. President Barack Obama in 2013.

Interesting Police Facts

As we researched this holiday, we came across some interesting facts about police officers that we would like to share with everyone below. We believe that everyone will find the following facts intriguing and will want to share them with friends and family members.

  • American law enforcement agencies solve approximately 21% of all reported crimes.
  • The U.S. has approximately 19,000 separate law enforcement agencies.
  • In honor of Sir Robert Peel, police officers in England are sometimes referred to as “Bobbies.”
  • When policing was first started in the American colonies, it wasn’t a paid position but the duty of each adult male to watch out for fires and crime.
  • In 2017, almost 130 police officers were killed in the U.S.
  • Texas has the most law enforcement deaths—having lost over 1,730 police officers since becoming a state.
  • The first Latina policewoman was Josephine Serrano in 1946. She served in the L.A. Police Department.
  • The first recorded peace officer to die in the line of duty in the United States was in 1791.
  • Police officers are more likely to commit suicide than the general population.
  • 90% of police officers in London don’t carry firearms.

Observing Police Officers Memorial Day

Police Officers Memorial Day can be observed by citizens and government agencies flying the American flag at half-staff, or by attending one of the many services that commemorate this day, which can be found all across the United States. Many people observe this holiday by visiting the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.

For those observing this holiday, they can also use the hashtag #PoliceOfficersMemorialDay on social media to let everyone know that they are paying tribute to fallen police officers.

Where is it celebrated?
United States (Observance)
When is it?
This year (2024)
May 15 Wednesday
Next year (2025)
May 15 Thursday
Last year (2023)
May 15 Monday