Blue Reality: National Officer Memorial Needs More Space

There is new evidence that too many police officers are dying in the line of duty. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial (NLEOM) in Washington D.C. is launching an expansion effort because it is running out of room for new names.

The memorial was dedicated in 1991 with the names of 12,561 officers killed in the line of duty. That number has grown to 21,183 fallen officers today. "We've been adding an average of 325 to 375 names per year, and at that rate we will have run out of space in six short years," says Marcia Ferranto, CEO of the NLEO Memorial Fund. "The (expansion) proposal that we have will take us through 2063, with the ability to continue to memorialize and honor the fallen."

The number of police officers killed on duty has risen in recent years, with Texas leading the way. One big factor has been officers who served on 9-11-2001. "Every year we are adding more names that are related to 9-11, and that is a big portion of this," says Ferranto.

Another major cause of on-duty police deaths is officers who are hit and killed while working along roadways. "People need to recognize that so many fatalities are happening on the side of the road," says Ferranto. "Remember to slow down, remember to pull over."

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