By Mary Kuhlman
This week marks National Police Week, and four fallen police officers from Indiana are among the dozens nationally whose sacrifice and service is being honored.
The engraved names of Jeffrey Brady Westerfield of Gary, Perry Wayne Renn of Indianapolis, Nickolaus Edward Schultz of Merrillville and Jacob Daniel Calvin of Tipton County will be dedicated at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Steven Groeninger, spokesman for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, says the memorial is commemorating a total of 273 fallen officers from various years.
"That includes 117 officers who were killed in 2014, and 156 officers who were killed in prior years," says Groeninger. "One of those cases dates back all the way to 1847."
The names of more than 20,000 officers are engraved on the memorial, representing all 50 states. The names will be officially dedicated during the 27th Annual Candlelight Vigil in Washington on Wednesday, one of the many events scheduled during National Police Week.
Two Indiana officers who died in previous years will also be recognized: Clyde Nichols Jr. of Washington County and Thomas Gregory Ciecka of LaPort City. Groeninger says it's important to remember the sacrifice of all officers who lost their lives.
"It's very meaningful to the ancestors and surviving kin even of historical officers to know grandpa or great grandpa's name was added to the national monument of fallen officers," he says.
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 36 states lost at least one officer in 2014. Firearms-related deaths increased last year by 45 percent, with 48 officers fatally shot in the line of duty compared to 33 in 2013.