Credit JFK for Police Officer Memorial Day: In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a Proclamation #3537 (seen below) designating May 15th as the specific day to celebrate the service and sacrifice of police officers. On that day, we honor and remember Peace or Police Officers both living and those who’ve paid the ultimate sacrifice protecting and serving the citizens of our fine country. Peace or Police Officers Memorial Day is recognized on May 15th and the week containing that date falls is recognized as Police Week. Each year, tens of thousands of law enforcement officers from around the world travel to our nation’s capital to honor and remember those that go to work every day looking to protect and serve the citizens of our fine country. For this day, we say, “Thank you, President Kennedy.”
The proclamation reads as follows:
Proclamation 3537 - Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week
May 4, 1963
By the President of the United States of America
Whereas, from the beginning of this Nation, law enforcement officers have played an important role in safeguarding the rights and freedoms which are guaranteed by the Constitution and in protecting the lives and property of our citizens; and
Whereas, through constant application of new procedures and techniques, such officers are becoming more efficient in their enforcement of our laws; and
Whereas it is important that our people know and understand the problems, duties, and responsibilities of their police departments and the necessity for cooperating with them in maintaining law and order; and
Whereas it is fitting and proper that we express our gratitude for the dedicated service and courageous deeds of law enforcement officers and for the contributions they have made to the security and well-being of all our people; and
Whereas, by a joint resolution approved October 1, 1962 (76 Stat. 676), the Congress has requested the President to designate May 15 of each year as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week during which such May 15 occurs as Police Week:
Now, Therefore, I, John F. Kennedy, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate May 15, 1963, and May 15 of each succeeding year, as Peace Officers Memorial Day, in honor of those peace officers who, through their courageous deeds, have lost their lives or have become disabled in the performance of duty.
I also designate the week of May 12 through May 18, 1963, and the calendar week during which May 15 occurs of each succeeding year, as Police Week, in recognition of the service given by the men and women who, night and day, protect us through enforcement of our laws.
I invite State and local governments, patriotic, civic, and educational organizations, and the people of the United States generally, to observe Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week in this year and each succeeding year with appropriate ceremonies in which all our people may join in commemorating law enforcement officers, past and present, who by their faithful and loyal devotion to their responsibilities have rendered a dedicated service to their communities, and, in so doing, have established for themselves an enviable and enduring reputation for preserving the rights and security of all citizens.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed.
DONE at the City of Washington this fourth day of May in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and eighty-seventh.
JOHN F. KENNEDY