Viewpoint: Remember the fallen during National Law Enforcement Week

Posted at 9:47 PM on May 12, 2019

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BY DARREN CAMPBELL

Very few of us can listen to the sounds of bagpipes playing a rendition of “Amazing Grace” without feeling a tugging in our hearts or maybe tears in our eyes. It is emotional -- at times even gut wrenching -- to watch the funeral procession of one of our fallen brothers or sisters as it winds through their city, a wave of blue lights offered as a final tribute. The sight stirs a wave of emotion that few can bear without a lump in their throat.

Poignant tributes often include a well-precisioned honor guard standing watch over the fallen hero, a caisson bearing the body of one lost too soon, and a 21-gun salute as a final rectitude of honor and respect. These time-honored traditions are performed with dignity, honor and reverence at the funeral of an officer, especially when he or she has lost their life in the line of duty. Sadly, the Mooresville Police Department has recently been burdened with the task of honoring a hero who paid the ultimate sacrifice. The events of this past week will leave a scar on the hearts of our beloved county for many years to come.

We thank and we salute Officer Jordan Sheldon for his service, dedication and ultimately his sacrifice for the citizens that he was sworn to protect.

The reality is that the grieving of a community for a hero lost is becoming a common occurrence. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, 40 officers have lost their lives in the line of duty so far in 2019. Of those 40 killed, 17 were as a result of gunfire. February has been the deadliest month for officers with 11 deaths recorded.

I pray, along with many of you, that this violence against our brothers and sisters who bear the badge will cease, and that the phrase “we all go home” is a statement we all can stand by.

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed Public Law 87-726 designating May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day, and the week in which May 15 falls as National Law Enforcement Week. The law was amended by the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, Public Law 103-322, signed by President Bill Clinton, directing that the flag of the United States be displayed at half-staff on all government buildings on May 15 each year. While the actual date changes from year to year, National Law Enforcement Week is always the calendar week, beginning on Sunday, which includes May 15.

National Law Enforcement Week is a somber and sobering time, as our hearts go out to those lost in the line of duty and the loved ones left behind. Currently, tens of thousands of law enforcement officers from around the world converge on Washington, D.C., to participate in a number of events planned to honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

On Tuesday, following the death of MPD Officer Jordan Sheldon, a Proclamation was read and signed by the Iredell County Board of Commissioners that formally dedicated this week in memory of Officer Sheldon, who paid the ultimate sacrifice while protecting and serving the citizens of Mooresville.

May we never forget the dedication and commitment that Officer Sheldon exhibited to his job and the community that he so selflessly served. May we hold tight to the wonderful tributes we have witnessed and the outpouring of love shown to all Law Enforcement this past week. May we never forget the price that Officer Sheldon and 39 officers in this country have paid in the line of duty in 2019. May it be with mournful hearts that we remember Officer Jordan Sheldon this coming week, and may we continue to remember a life that was ended all too soon.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Officer Sheldon, the men and women of the Mooresville Police Department, and all who loved him. Rest easy brother. We will hold the line from here.

Darren Campbell is the Iredell County sheriff.

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