Note: Data source was Richard I. Luht, now deceased.
May 14, 2002 Release 02101
FLAGS LOWERED WEDNESDAY IN MEMORY OF FALLEN OFFICERS Knowles, Alaskans Mark Peace Officers Memorial Day
Noting that in 1994, President Bill Clinton and the U.S. Congress approved a law requiring the American flag to be lowered to half-staff on May 15 as a special tribute to the more than 15,000 law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty, Gov. Tony Knowles has ordered state flags lowered to half-staff tomorrow to mark Peace Officers Memorial Day.
On Friday, May 10 at a Peace Officers Memorial Day ceremony at trooper headquarters in Anchorage, Knowles spoke to a gathering of officers, their families and the public. At the ceremony, Knowles honored the 33 Alaskan officers who have perished in the line of duty over the years. He noted with deep regret the fact that four new names were being added to this beautiful but solemn memorial at the ceremony.
"Let us vow to never forget the ultimate sacrifice of those who perished in the line of duty," said Knowles. "Nor shall we forget the everyday heroism of those who get up each day and go to work to protect Alaskans."
Knowles also issued a proclamation, read at Friday's ceremony by Department of Public Safety Commissioner Glenn Godfrey, that declares Wednesday "Law Enforcement Memorial Day in Alaska" and "encourages all citizens to pause to remember the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the field of law enforcement, and those who so bravely serve every day."
The deaths of officers in Alaska is part of the larger national picture. In the terrorist attacks of 9/11, 70 officers were killed in the attack on the World Trade Center, and an officer of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service died trying to retake a plane from terrorists when it crashed in a Pennsylvania field. In addition to these 71 officers, another 157 officers nationwide died in the line of duty last year. Those 228 deaths represent the sixth deadliest year in American law enforcement history.
Three officers were killed in the line of duty in Alaska in the past year:
� Fish and Wildlife Protection Trooper James Moen, who was killed on June 25, 2001 in a plane crash near Lake Iliamna while on fisheries patrol; � Anchorage Police Officer Justin Wollam, who was killed July 9, 2001 while involved in a pursuit on the Glenn Highway; � Trooper Hans Roelle, who was killed on November 24, 2001 in Mat-Su while investigating a report of a domestic violence incident that was later found to be a murder-suicide.
The fourth officer added to the memorial this year, IRS criminal investigator Richard Luht, was killed on January 31, 1999 in an automobile crash while on duty in Fairbanks.
In honor of all peace officers who have fallen in the line of duty, President Bush and Gov. Knowles have ordered national and state flags lowered to half-staff on Peace Officers Memorial Day, Wednesday, May 15, 2002. Flags may be returned to full staff at the end of the business day.
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