Tens of thousands of law officers from the United States and beyond its shores are gathering in Washington for National Police Week, part of an annual pilgrimage to honor the fallen among their ranks.
The focal point for the week is the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, a courtyard bordered by two gently sloping, 304-foot-long, three-foot-high walls that bear the engraved names of more than 19,000 officers killed in the line of duty.
Most of the names added this year are officers who died in 2013; others are officers whose sacrifice had previously been lost to history.
This year, 286 names were added to that wall, including six from Georgia.
Among those from Georgia who died in the line of duty in 2013 and whose names were added:
- Police Officer Ivorie G. Klusmann, DeKalb County Police Department. Killed Aug. 10, 2013, in a single vehicle crash while responding to backup another officer at approximately 2:45 am. He had been involved in a pursuit earlier in the evening that had been called off in compliance with the department's pursuit policy. Another officer requested backup after spotting a vehicle matching the wanted vehicle's description. Officer Klusmann was responding to the assistance call when his patrol car left the roadway and struck a tree near the intersection of DeKalb Medical Parkway and Heritage Park Trail.
- Corporal Thomas Keith Slay, Columbus Police Department. Killed July 30, 2013, in an automobile accident while responding to assist another officer. Corporal Slay and another officer were traveling north with lights and siren in an unmarked truck on Veterans Parkway when another vehicle entered their lane and struck their vehicle.
- Chief of Police Anthony Quinn Barfield, Sr., Barwick Police Department. Chief of Police Anthony Barfield suffered a fatal heart attack while at the scene of a domestic disturbance on April 9, 2013. He began experiencing trouble breathing and was subsequently transported to a local hospital where he passed away. Chief Barfield had served in law enforcement for 20 years and was the agency's only law enforcement officer; he had previously served with the United States Army.
- Also added this year was Richard Edward William, an Atlanta police officer who died Oct. 26, 2011. Williams succumbed to a gunshot wound sustained on Jan, 28, 1987, after arresting three subjects for trespassing and disrupting classes at Booker T. Washington High School. A juvenile shot him in the back and neck, paralyzing him from the chest down. Although confined to a wheelchair, he was able to return to limited duty and remained active with the police department as his health deteriorated. He died as a result of complications from the original wounds several days before he was scheduled to retire.
National Police Week is an annual event in Washington, DC, a week of color guards and sad salutes, of help for surviving families and the promise to, as an engraving on part of the wall implores, "Respect. Honor. Remember."
On Tuesday, thousands will gather at the memorial for a candle-light vigil, where names will be read in a final roll call for the fallen. Taps will sound and officers and their families will gather to touch the names on the walls, to lay wreaths and flowers, and to remember.