Dickinson said federal statistics show that violent and property crime rates in the United States are at historic lows, thanks in large part to the dedicated service of the men and women in law enforcement.
“That protection comes at a price, however,” he said.
Melendez told the crowd Thursday about a conversation he had with his father once.
“My father told me one time, ‘You can’t save the world,’” he said. “My response was, ‘Maybe I can make it a little better.’ I’d like to think that the men and women I serve with are of the same mettle.
“When we put on our vest and when we strap on our gun, that’s our go. (We) just want to make the world a little better of a place by what we do.”
Moore Police Chief Jerry Stillings told those in attendance Thursday that the day reminds them how serious their jobs are. He thanked the officers, families, communications employees, support personnel and the city for all they do.
“We appreciate the work you do. We know how tough it is. It’s a tough job. It’s tough on everybody, but it’s also rewarding,” Stillings said.
History: President John F. Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Police Officer Memorial Day in 1962, as well as National Police Week. The week pays tribute to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty and for the safety and protection of others, Melendez said.
Since the first recorded police death in 1791, more than 19,00 law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty, including a member of the Moore Police Department, Officer Danny Vanderpool. Police paid tribute to Vanderpool for his service.
Vanderpool was working as an undercover narcotics officer, posing as a high school student during that time, when he died in a traffic accident. He was on duty working on a narcotic assignment at the time of his death on May 18, 1979.