May 23, 2017
LAW ENFORCEMENT EXPLORERS SUPPORT THE 29TH ANNUAL CANDLELIGHT VIGIL
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) sponsors the Annual Candlelight Vigil, a signature event of National Police Week in Washington, DC. Fallen officers whose names were engraved on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial “pathways of remembrance walls” since the previous year’s ceremony are formally dedicated at the Candlelight Vigil. In addition to the lighting of candles and the reading of the names of law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty, the Candlelight Vigil includes remarks by dignitaries as well as musical tributes performed to honor the memory of these fallen officers. The Candlelight Vigil typically is attended by 20,000 plus people and includes families of fallen law enforcement officers, active duty and retired law enforcement officers, dignitaries and special guests, and visitors who travel to Washington, DC in support of National Police Week and related events. The 29th Annual Candlelight Vigil was conducted on the evening of Saturday, May 13, 2017 on the National Mall in front of the U.S. Capitol.
Normally, the Candlelight Vigil is conducted at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial; however, due to street closures and limited parking caused by the construction of the new National Law Enforcement Museum across the street from the memorial, this year’s Candlelight Vigil was held on the National Mall. The National Park Service and the U.S. Park Police required the Vigil area be cordoned off by metal barriers for safety and security purposes and have 35-staffed entrances and emergency exits interspersed around the barriers.
The Chairman/CEO and staff of the NLEOMF, enthusiastic supporters of Law Enforcement Exploring, requested 35 uniformed Law Enforcement Explorers to staff the entrances and emergency exits for the Candlelight Vigil from 5 PM to 10 PM. In the finest long-standing tradition of Law Enforcement Exploring supporting law enforcement agencies and allied organizations, approximately 60 Explorers and their Advisors, from Posts sponsored by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agreed to staff the entrances and emergency exits for the Vigil. Chicago CBP Chief Anye Whyte (member of the National Law Enforcement Exploring Committee and 1988 National Youth Chairman for Law Enforcement Exploring) led this extraordinary effort with the able assistance of Supervisory CBP Officer (and former Explorer) Jose Venegas.
CBP Explorers and Advisors reported to National Mall at 4 PM for a briefing and worked supporting the Vigil until 10 PM. All Explorers wore reflective vest over their uniforms (as did law enforcement officers assigned to work the event) to distinguish them from uniformed officers attending the event as spectators. It was a cool, damp and windy afternoon and evening, but Law Enforcement Explorers and Advisors warmed the hearts of NLEOMF staff, families of fallen officers, and event spectators with their working presence and support for the Vigil.