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Peace Officers Memorial Day
Written by Larry Roeder, Editor

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 15, 2021, as Peace Officers Memorial Day and May 9 through May 15, 2021, as Police Week.  I call upon all Americans to observe these events with appropriate ceremonies and activities.  I also call on the Governors of the United States and its Territories, and appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag be flown at half-staff on Peace Officers Memorial Day.  I further encourage all Americans to display the flag from their homes and businesses on that day.  Signed, May 7, 2021


            With the cries of "Defund the Police" and controversies surrounding the conduct of a few police officers, it is important to take a moment to remember the vast majority of dedicated police officers who protect and serve us every day.

            According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 295

Demonstrations by K-9 units from neaby police department

were a popular attraction at the annual Peace Officers Memorial

Day events held by the Upper Perk Police.

police officers died in the line of duty in 2020, up from 139 in 2019.

            Originally passed on Oct. 1, 1962, the joint resolution authorizes the President to designate May 15 of each year as "Peace Officers Memorial Day" and the week in which it falls as "Police Week."

            More than three decades ago, police departments of the Upper Perkiomen Valley began holding special events to honor Peace Officers Memorial Day in the late 1980s.  Beginning in 1988, the Upper Perk Police District, then covering East Greenville, Pennsburg, and Red Hill boroughs, held an open house at their headquarters that included a number of events and activities in the Pennsburg Civic

Police officer Susan Grala, fingerprinting a youngster

for his family's records at one of the Upper Perk

Police District's Peace Officers Memorial Day events

in the early 1990's.


            It was a law enforcement-centric event, held by law enforcement departments and staff, meant to provide visitors with close-up access to the people charged with protecting them and their communities.

            The activities included an auction of unclaimed and surplus items from the storage and evidence rooms (no weapons).  One of the many things sold at their first auction was the silver helmet and yellow goggles worn by a robber who terrorized two Red Hill banks in 1986.  In addition to a display of firearms there were exhibits, posters, and information available regarding illegal drugs and narcotics.  Police officers were on hand to answer any questions as were representatives from Montgomery County youth, family and women services groups.

            The Police Officers Wives Association held a bake sale and "white elephant sale" to support the department.

            The day also presented an opportunity to present the public with material regarding victim services, crime prevention, and driving under the influence of alcohol. 

            For the kids there was fingerprinting for family records, coloring books, and Officer McGruff literature.  During the entire event, there was always a line of children waiting to have their fingerprints taken by police officers.  For everyone there were hot dogs, soft drinks, and popcorn donated by local businesses and individuals.  

Group photo of the staff of the Upper Perk Police District in the mid-1980's.  From left, Off. Robert Seville, Off. Mike Foltz, Off. Joe Skavinsky, Chief Tom Liott, Off. Richard Ethier, Administrative Assistant Rosemary Brinckman, Off. Steve Gramata, Off. Joe Drosdick, Off. Millard Breuninger, Jr., and Off. Larry Yokl.


            In 1989 the Marlborough Police department joined in with the Upper Perk Police Officers to host the event.  In addition to a replay of the 1988 program, the Montgomery County Sheriff's department had their bomb squad and Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program on display.  The Pennsylvania State Police agreed to put their helicopter on display on the grounds of the Pennsburg Civic Building, and representatives from the Montgomery County Youth Services group were on hand to answer questions.  Also, the Montgomery County Detectives bureau had their forensic science van on display and the County's mobile communications van was on hand as well.

            Over the years the annual event continued to grow.  In the early 1990s a program that included Police K-9 dog units proved very popular with children and adults.  The North Penn Tactical Response Team made a visit to educate the visitors about their unit and equipment.  Children delighted in trying on flak jackets and gas masks.  The entire interaction seemed to replace any fear or apprehension with learning and laughter.

            The public relations and education event was a hit and drew quite a crowd.  Newspapers and television cameras brought the event into the homes of those outside of the area. 

            The events of Peace Officers Memorial Day faded around here as time passed.  Back then, Peace Officers Day was a day set aside to commemorate law enforcement officers, past and present, that have rendered dedicated service to their communities by sharing education and services in an event atmosphere.

              It was also a good opportunity for citizens to get to know the duties, responsibilities, hazards, and sacrifices of all law enforcement groups.   

            And, to say thanks.





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