Tuesday, August 19, 2008


The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial honors more than 18,200
officers killed in the line of duty in the United States since 1792.
In the background is the National Building Museum.

Dedicated in 1991 by President George H.W. Bush, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Judiciary Square honors the men and women of city, county, state, and federal law enforcement who have died in the line of duty serving and protecting the citizens of their communities. This tree-lined plaza with its simple fountain is the site of twin curving walls etched with the names of more than 18,200 officers who have fallen since 1792.

Some of the more than 18,200 names on the NLEOM walls

The most common causes of law enforcement deaths? Auto accidents and shootings. In the last ten years, 492 officers have died in vehicular accidents and 582 officers have been shot to death. The deadliest single day for law enforcement? September 11, 2001, when 72 peace officers were killed while responding to terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

Sculptures of lions guard the memorial walls

Here are some interesting facts about law enforcement in the United States:
  • In 1631, the City of Boston established the first law enforcement system in the 13 colonies. Night watchmen were part-time and unpaid. In 1712, the city hired its first full-time, paid officers. In 1863, pistols are issued to officers.
  • In 1789, the first federal force--the U.S. Marshalls--is created and George Washington appoints 13 men as the first marshalls.
  • On May 17, 1792, Isaac Smith, a deputy sheriff in New York City, is killed in the line of duty. His is the first recorded law enforcement death.
  • In 1835, the force that will eventually become the Texas Rangers is formed making it the oldest statewide law enforcement agency.
  • On April 14, 1865, the day President Abraham Lincoln is assassinated, he approves the formation of U.S. Secret Service.
  • To see more important dates in law enforcement history, go here.
Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 08/08


Virginia said...

What a fitting memorial to these brave men and women. The wall is a stunning photograph. Well done.

Maya said...

This is a moving post. And the photos, of course, are great! I especially like the one of all the names. Those types of memorials always seem to make a profound statement.

marley said...

What a striking memorial. These kind of tributes always upset me, as they show so many lives lost in such a visual way.

D.C. Confidential said...

VJ: I'd agree. And thank you!

Maya: Thanks. Memorials like this can be rather shocking as the lists of names really put the loss in perspective.

Marley: I find these kinds of tributes upsetting, too, for precisely the reason you state.

mirage2g said...

The photo you made a different angle of the slab is very dramatic.

You havent picked your award yet =)


april said...

Vielen Dank für die vielen Informationen.
I like the first photo very much, maybe because of its symmetry. The nice building in the back seems to be of brick?

Curly said...

I love the different perspectives on your images, quite imaginative, and thanks very much for your support at South Shields Daily Photo.

D.C. Confidential said...

Mirage: I just retrieved my award. Thank you! I'm flattered. Glad you like the picture of the names.

April: Bitte sehr! The building in the background is brick. You can read more about it here..

Curly: My pleasure! And thank you for your kind words re: my pics.