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National Police Week: Local law enforcement honors families of fallen officers in D.C.

National Police Week: Local law enforcement honors families of fallen officers in D.C. (Photo courtesy: Richland police)

TRI-CITIES, Wash. - Tens of thousands of law enforcement officers from around the world are together in Washington, D.C. for National Police Week to honor those who have fallen in the line of duty.

Action News spoke with local law enforcement who are paying their respects in D.C. as well as from home.

Last year was a deadly year for law enforcement: 143 officers were killed in the line of duty, with a 60 percent increase in targeted attacks.

Just in the last two days, 46-year-old Lt. Kevin Mainhart was shot and killed in the line of duty, while trying to rescue hostages Thursday in Arkansas.

In Ohio, a police chief was fatally wounded Friday morning, when a gunman opened fire in a nursing home, killing two others before turning the gun on himself.

Richland police say these officers paid the ultimate sacrifice.

"So for us it’s emotional as well because these are your friends and people who share an occupation and a passion for serving our communities, and so it really is like one large family," Richland Police Captain Mike Cobb said.

Captain Cobb, accompanied by Officer Parish and Officer Muai, join as tens of thousands gather for National Police Week in Washington, D.C. to honor fallen officers and their families.

"For a large part that's what we do every single day, is we care for our communities,” Cobb said. “And so remembering for this brief period of time the sacrifice made by so many, and so many family members is an important thing to do, too."

Captain Cobb says this time of remembrance helps start the healing process for grieving families and revitalizes the strength of fellow officers.

"Police officers from across the nation and really from around the globe are here to reflect, to remember, to grieve but also to renew and restore the commitment they have of keeping our community safe," he said.

While local officers remember those fallen in our nation’s capital, local law enforcement also remember those fallen here at home.

"I was actually a Trooper here in 1999 when Trooper Saunders was murdered, and I know it affected the local community a lot and to this day we still have a lot of people upset about the murder,” WSP Trooper Chris Thorson said. “But we really want to emphasize that the State Patrol appreciates all the local support and we want to thank you very much."

Trooper James Saunders died at the age of 31, from gunshot wounds while conducting a traffic stop in Pasco.

Police say the Tri-City community has shown their gratitude for law enforcement time and again.

"So I want the community to know that that 'thank you' is reciprocated, we are truly blessed to live in Tri-Cities community that we do, and we never under value that," Cobb said.

The Candlelight Vigil for the National Peace Officer’s Memorial Service will be held on May, 13th. Family and friends can watch together at www.unitedbylight.org.

May 15 is National Peace Officers Memorial Day, and Richland officers will wear their mourning bands in memory of the officers that have fallen in the line of duty.

The following weekend, May 20-21, there will be a local ceremony to honor officers in Columbia Park, alongside Kidz Dig Rigz.

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