President Barack Obama reflects at the National Peace Officers' Memorial Service, an annual ceremony honoring law enforcement personnel who were killed in the line of duty, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Friday. Photo by Olivier Douliery/UPI | License Photo
WASHINGTON, May 15 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama lauded the nation's law enforcement officers for courage and sacrifice Friday, while underscoring the need for better support and resources to do the job effectively.
Delivering remarks at the 36th annual National Peace Officers' Memorial Service at the U.S. Capitol, Obama honored the 131 law enforcement officers nationwide who died in the line of duty in 2014. Obama said the nation owes law enforcement officers thanks for their service.
"We cannot erase every darkness or danger from the duty that you've chosen. We can offer the support you need to be safer. We can make the communities you care about and protect safer as well. We can make sure you have the resources you need to do your job," he said. "We can work harder as a nation to heal the rifts that still exist in some places between law enforcement and the people you risk your lives to protect."
The president's remarks come amid tensions throughout the nation between communities and law enforcement. The most recent followed the death of Freddie Gray, whose suffered a fatal injury while in police custody. Six Baltimore officers have been charged in his death.
Obama focused his brief comments on honoring the law enforcement officers who died.
"It takes a special kind of courage to be a peace officer," he said. "To all the families who are here today whose loved ones do not come home at the end of shift, please know how deeply sorry we are for the loss you've endured. Know how deeply grateful we are for your loved ones' sacrifice."
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers' Memorial day to coincide with National Police Week.