WASHINGTON — The names of two local police officers killed in the line of duty in 2016 are being added to National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in D.C.
Prince George’s County police Officer Jacai Colson was killed by friendly fire, and Prince William County police Officer Ashley Guindon was killed only hours into her very first shift as a police officer.
They will be among a list of 394 names being added to the memorial ahead of National Police Week, May 14 to May 20. Their names will be formally dedicated during a candlelight vigil planned for 8 p.m. May 13 on the National Mall, between Fourth and Seventh streets.
This is the 29th annual candlelight vigil, “which is a really moving and powerful tribute to these fallen officers,” said Steve Groeninger with the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
Groeninger said people who cannot attend can watch a free webcast of the vigil at www.unitedbylight.org.
Groeninger said the names being added this year include 143 officers who died in 2016 and 251 officers who died in prior years, including officers who recently passed away from illness related to 9/11 search and recovery efforts.
“We’re a little over half-way done engraving all 394 names on the marble walls on the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial here in Washington, D.C.,” Groeninger said.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial bears the names of 21,183 officers who made the ultimate sacrifice. Groeninger said the memorial fund has a research team and volunteers who comb records throughout the country to ensure that the name of any officer who died in the line of duty — regardless of when those names are identified — and are verified.
Those names are then engraved on the memorial along with the names of all the other fallen officers. Groeninger said the same two men have engraved every name on memorial.
“It’s very meaningful to them,” Groeninger said. “They’re very meticulous because this has great meaning to the surviving friends and family members of these officers.”
Groeninger said the memorial fund makes sure the engravings are done accurately and that they are done in the most efficient manner so that they can fit as many names on this national monument to the fallen as possible.
“Unfortunately every year we find ourselves engraving a couple hundred names,” he said.
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