National Police week began on Sunday, May 12, recognizing the police officers across the nation for their service and bowing their heads for those who lost their lives in the line of duty. In Loris the city administration and Loris Police Department gathered at the flags between Railroad Avenue and Meeting Street to lower the flags to half-staff. Kenya Wright, Damon Kempski, Todd Harrelson, Chief Gary Buley and Officer Allen Oxendine bowed their heads in prayer before lowering the city and state flags and then the American flag.
The national holiday began in 1962 with President John F. Kennedy signing the public law designating May 15 as Police Officer Memorial Day. In 1994 the law was amended and signed by Bill Clinton as the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act which directed the United States flag be displayed at half-staff on all government buildings on May 15 of each year. Also recognized are the Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS) with activities to identify officers who have survived from an injury while on duty.
Each year nationwide approximately 140 law enforcement officers die in the line of duty. Through research of the Loris Police Department, only one officer lost this life in the line of duty Chief of Police William Bryant Hardee Sr. died on Sunday, July 15, 1951 from injuries sustained while on a vehicle pursuit.
The city administration provided a meal to the Loris police officers on Friday, May 17, to show their support of the department and for the officers who protect the city. A big meal of pulled pork, macaroni and cheese, beans and a cake with the LPD logo and a pair of plastic handcuffs on top of the cake filled the department with an irresistible aroma. On Thursday, May 16, Samantha Norris provided the officers with homemade brownies sharing the sentiments of the appreciation week.
Whatever you prefer to call them, a cop, peace officer or police officer, take a moment to thank an officer for putting his life on the line each time they come on duty.