U.S. Attorney Thomas T. Cullen Recognizes Western District of Virginia Law Enforcement During National Police Week

ROANKOE, Va. – In honor of National Police Week, U.S. Attorney Thomas T. Cullen recognizes the service and sacrifice of federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement in the Western District of Virginia. The week will be observed Sunday, May 10 through Saturday, May 16, 2020.

“There is no more noble profession than serving as a police officer,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “The men and women who protect our communities each day have not just devoted their lives to public service, they’ve taken an oath to give their lives in order to ensure our safety. And they do so not only in the face of hostility from those who reject our nation’s commitment to the rule of law, but also in the face of evolving adversity – such as an unprecedented global health pandemic. This week, I ask all Americans to join me in saying ‘thank you’ to our nation’s federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement officers. Their devotion and sacrifice to our peace and security will not be taken for granted.”

“On a daily basis, police officers encounter situations and circumstances that put their lives at risk,” U.S. Attorney Thomas T. Cullen stated today. “They also regularly witness unspeakable acts of violence, cruelty, and tragedy—horrors that, for most of us, would be unimaginable.  Despite this—and the day-to-day reality of facing increased levels of anti-police bias—these brave men and women remain resolute, standing as the first and last line of defense between safety, security, and the rule of law on one side, and mayhem on the other.  It is therefore appropriate that we take time this week to honor their sacrifice.”

In 1962, President Kennedy issued the first proclamation for Peace Officers Memorial Day and National Police Week to remember and honor law enforcement officers for their service and sacrifices.  Peace Officers Memorial Day, which every year falls on May 15, specifically honors law enforcement officers killed or disabled in the line of duty.

Each year, during National Police Week, our nation celebrates the contributions of law enforcement from around the country, recognizing their hard work, dedication, loyalty and commitment to keeping our communities safe. This year the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored law enforcement officers’ courage and unwavering devotion to the communities they swore to serve.

Based on data collected and analyzed by the FBI’s Law Enforcement Officer Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) Program, 89 law enforcement officers died nationwide in the line of duty in 2019, including one office here in the Western District of Virginia.

On February 4, 2019, Trooper Lucas Bartley Dowell was shot and killed as he and other members of the Virginia State Police’s Tactical Team made entry into a home to secure it for a search warrant as part of a narcotics investigation.

Trooper Dowell had served with the Virginia State Police for four years and was assigned to the Appomattox Division. He is survived by his parents and sister

Comprehensive data tables about these incidents and brief narratives describing most of the fatal attacks are included in the sections of Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2019.

The names of the fallen officers who have been added in 2020 to the wall at the National Law Enforcement Memorial will be read on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, during a Virtual Annual Candlelight Vigil. Because public events have been suspended as a result of COVID-19, the vigil will be livestreamed to the public at 8:00 PM (EDT).  The online event can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/user/TheNLEOMF.