Families, law enforcement gather in Washington for National Police Week

WASHINGTON — Families from across the nation are gathering in Washington D.C. this week to honor those across the country who have been killed in the line of duty. The families are being joined by law enforcement to mark the start of National Police Week.

The gathering comes as the last of four funerals was held Monday for the officers ambushed in Charlotte two weeks ago.

>> Channel 9’s Hunter Sáenz and Hannah Goetz are live in Washington all week with team coverage of National Police Week.

Officers from multiple agencies in our area cycled to the Capitol in honor of the fallen heroes. They arrived in Washington over the weekend, in time for several events this week that honor the brave men and women in law enforcement.

Dozens of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officers took off on a 500-mile ride Thursday from Uptown Charlotte in the Bike 2 DC - Ride to Honor. Fresh on their minds was Officer Joshua Eyer, who was killed in the line of duty last month. Officers who worked alongside Eyer at the North Tryon Division took turns riding his duty bike up to Washington, along with his helmet and vest.

The ride, which honored all those who have lost their lives in the line of duty, is one special part of the week. Before they left Charlotte, Sáenz and Goetz spoke with Congresswoman Alma Adams who talked about the importance the week holds.

“Folks who give up their lives each and every day. You leave home and don’t know if you’re going to come back, but you have taken an oath to serve and protect,” Adams said. “And so I think those of us who are being protected by our officers really need to show as much appreciation for that as we possibly can — and support for their families.”

‘Keep their memory alive’

One of the biggest events this week was the 36th annual candlelight vigil held Monday night.

At the vigil, the new names added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial were read off. The names belong to the officers killed in the line of duty last year.

The amount of people gathered on the National Mall was a powerful sight to see. Hundreds of family members and survivors of fallen officers were escorted in beforehand by law enforcement officers. Each person carried a single rose.

This year, 282 names were read off during the memorial. Each of those names are engraved into the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

Next spring, the names of Alden Elliot, Sam Poloche, Thomas Weeks and Joshua Eyer will be etched into the wall. Their names will be read just like the ones Monday night, in front of a sea of blue.

Channel 9′s Hannah Goetz spoke with Concord Police Department Sgt. Julia Soares, who explained the importance of never forgetting those who gave it all to keep their community safe.

“We have to keep their memory alive they mean so much to us just last week I was talking to the shipping family and they were so excited for me to be doing this ride because they know I am going to keep their son’s memory alive as long as these legs work I’m gonna keep their memory alive,” she said.

On the memorial, Goetz found the names of some of our local officers who have passed: CMPD Officer Mia Goodwin and Concord Officer Jason Shuping. Both have co-workers visiting the memorial this week and honoring them.

The CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund told Goetz what he hopes the ceremony will one day bring to the families of fallen officers.

“All of the officers from Charlotte will be added to our very sacred walls in the spring of next year,” Bill Alexander said. “What the families can expect is another milestone, and that journey of what I hope is healing from police, funerals and gun salutes to local remembrances and memorials, to echo taps to traveling to D.C. and seeing the name of their loved one on our very sacred walls for the first time.”

(WATCH BELOW: National Police Week: Fallen officers remembered in York County)

Hunter Sáenz

Hunter Sáenz, wsoctv.com

Hunter is a reporter for Channel 9.

Hannah Goetz

Hannah Goetz, wsoctv.com

Hannah is a reporter for WSOC-TV.

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