View Header


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 10, 1999
                      PEACE OFFICERS MEMORIAL DAY
                         AND POLICE WEEK, 1999

                            - - - - - - -


                            A PROCLAMATION

Whether working in big cities, suburban communities, or small rural towns, America's law enforcement officers serve each day as a defense against the forces of crime and brutality. These courageous men and women defend our lives with their own. All too often they pay the ultimate price for their dedication, as America saw again this past year when an armed intruder invaded the United States Capitol and gunned down Officer Jacob J. Chestnut and Detective John M. Gibson. These brave men were husbands, fathers, neighbors, and friends. We must honor and remember their sacrifice and the loss of the loved ones they left behind.

We must also remember that the heroes who died defending the U.S. Capitol were just 2 of the 61 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty last year. Firearms took all but 3 of these lives. In addition, 78 officers died in tragic accidents. All of their memories live on, not only with their friends and families, but also in the hearts of all of us who enjoy safer, more peaceful lives because of their dedicated service.

This week we honor with special gratitude the nearly 600,000 highly trained law enforcement personnel who serve our Nation each day. Whether working undercover against drug pushers, gang leaders, and terrorists; apprehending fugitives; responding to domestic violence calls; or arresting drunk drivers, these courageous men and women uphold their pledge to preserve the peace and promote the public's safety. In large part because of their skill and determination, crime rates in our Nation have fallen to the lowest point in 25 years, with the murder rate at its lowest level in 30 years. But the war on crime is a constant and dangerous struggle, and during Police Week -- and especially on Peace Officers Memorial Day -- we honor those who serve on the front lines of that battle.

By a joint resolution approved October 1, 1962 (76 Stat. 676), the Congress has authorized and requested the President to designate May 15 of each year as "Peace Officers Memorial Day" and the week in which it falls as "Police Week," and, by Public Law 103-322 (36 U.S.C. 167), has requested that the flag be flown at half-staff on Peace Officers Memorial Day.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 15, 1999, as Peace Officers Memorial Day and May 9 through 15, 1999, as Police Week. I call upon the people of the United States to observe these occasions with appropriate ceremonies, programs, and activities. I also request the Governors of the States and of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, as well as the appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag of the United States be flown at half-staff on Peace Officers Memorial Day on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels throughout the United States and all areas under its jurisdiction and control. I also invite all Americans to display the flag at half-staff from their homes on that day.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this tenth day of May, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-third.


# # #