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Offutt observes National Police Week

  • Published
  • By Charles J. Haymond
  • 55th Wing Public Affairs

National Police Week gives special recognition to all law enforcement officers who have dedicated their lives to protecting communities through service.

“It's important that we observe Police Week not only to remember those that have laid down their lives to protect their fellow citizens and uphold the laws of our great nation,” said Lt. Col.  William Smith, 55th Security Forces Squadron commander at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.

Offutt Air Force Base observed Police Week with several events on and off base. The events  started on May 13, 2018, with a vigil and ended May 17 on Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. Members of the 55th SFS held a shooting competition at the combat arms range, a static display at Southroads Mall in Bellevue, Nebraska, a ruck march, an evasion challenge and ended with a retreat ceremony on Offutt’s parade ground.

“It's very rewarding to see our defenders and masters at arms come together as a team with our local Omaha law enforcement community and organize a multitude of individual and team events as well as ceremonies and displays - all open the public - for our Airmen to get involved in,” Smith said, “each of which showcases our unique skill sets and highlights why we're proud to wear the badge and beret.”

On October 1, 1962, President John F. Kennedy dedicated May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week that it falls on as National Police Week. Offutt’s defenders participated in local events as well as coordinating base events to recognize the contributions of police across the nation.

“As this week has its somber moments, it is exciting to see security forces and our local police officers join together to support and celebrate Police Week,” said Master Sgt. Jacqueline Marquez, 55th SFS superintendent of logistics and resources. “As I continue to participate in the various events, I see how much pride our defenders have for what they do and the events they have put together. They have done such an outstanding job and I wouldn't expect anything less from our dedicated organization.”

The combination of ceremonies and skill challenges throughout the week honored the struggles and sacrifices made by police throughout their careers and offered reminders to how law enforcement impacts the mission.

“Participating in these events brings a sense of pride and recognition to those who serve or served in law enforcement,” said Staff Sgt. Dean Mitchell, 55th SFS leading training instructor. “Some of the events throughout Police Week are challenging and a reminder that there are moments during the law enforcement duties that will test your limits - you have to keep pushing and finish the job.”

Offutt’s Police Week events are a time where military members, their families and communities celebrate police officers and security forces members everywhere.

“Outside the gates, the police are the only defense we as citizens have against criminal activity,” said Senior Master Sgt. Kevin Samson, 55th SFS first sergeant. “On Air Force bases, our Security Forces act as the police force for the base population, in addition they safeguard our most sensitive national assets.”

Offutt AFB wrapped up Police Week May 17 during an retreat ceremony on Offutt’s parade field. While speaking to a crowd of 55th Wing security forces members, base leadership and others from the surrounding area, Smith encouraged the audience to continue protecting and serving on a daily basis.

“I attributed the relative safety of this installation to your preparedness, your competence and the daily interactions you have with the community members we serve,” Smith said. “Respect is earned by our willingness to work at it daily, in every interaction we have with the public, whether it be at the gate, on a DUI traffic stop, a shoplifting at the BX, a drug case at the search pit or a domestic disturbance in housing.”