Photo: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP / Getty Images
President Joe biden and the first lady Jill biden attended a memorial service Saturday at the United States Capitol for honor law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty in 2019 and 2020.
The White House also issued a proclamation ordering flags to fly at half mast in public buildings on Saturday.
The National Peace Officers Memorial Service began in 1982 as a small gathering in Washington DC’s Senate Park of approximately 120 survivors and law enforcement supporters.
The annual commemorative event is part of National Police Week, organized by groups including the Fraternal Order of Police, which draws tens of thousands of law enforcement officers and other attendees to the capital each year.
“It’s like losing a piece of your soul,” he said Biden at the 40th National Peace Officers Memorial Service on Saturday. “Some of you still have that feeling like you’ve been sucked into a black hole in your chest, wondering, ‘My God, will it ever change?’
Biden also specifically recognized the role of the police in the response to the attack on the Capitol on January 6, by supporters of the former president Donald trump.
“Here, nine months ago, your brothers and sisters thwarted an unconstitutional and fundamentally non-American attack on a nation’s values and our votes,” he said. Biden. “Thanks to you, democracy survived.”
“Being a police officer today is much more difficult than ever before,” he said. Biden, by ensuring that the population “expects everything” from their security agents, and reaching that threshold is “beyond anyone’s ability.”
The president recalled that 2020 “was the deadliest year on record” for police officers, and that this has taken a “too hard” bill on the profession.
“If we don’t change the environment in which the work is done, we are going to have a difficult time recruiting enough men and women who want to do the work,” he warned.
Biden did not mention controversies related to the racism and police brutality that last year sparked an unprecedented wave of protestss, after the death by suffocation of the African American George floyd under the knee of a policeman.
Biden has endorsed a bill aimed at reforming the police departments of the United States, that would prohibit the tactics that caused Floyd’s death and facilitate lawsuits against agents who unjustly injure or kill citizens.
The Democratic majority in the House of Representatives approved in early March a law for that purpose named after George Floyd, But negotiations in the Senate on that issue failed in September, and the matter is stuck.
With information from agencies