"United for Blue" gathers to remember fallen police officers
WASHINGTON (ABC7) —
"United for Blue," an organization in support of law enforcement officers, organized a gathering on Saturday starting at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. It was a gathering to remember lives lost and to support the men and women in uniform.
"When I see what happens to these families and the community as a whole, it just makes me want to cry," said Betty Schuler, who came to support the group.
"Blue Lives Matter" signs filled the crowd. A message of officer support was delivered throughout the afternoon.
"This nation has got to wake up and realize that our police officers are the good guys," said Craig Floyd, President and CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
According to data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 16 officers have died from firearms-related incidents so far in 2016. As of April 2, 2015, that number was seven.
"It's scary. Obviously, it hits home when it happens in your community and we're seeing it loud and clear here in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area," Floyd said.
So far in 2016, three officers from Maryland and two from Virginia have been killed in the line of duty.
"Chad Dermyer, just earlier this week in Richmond, Virginia shot and killed by a man he was simply having a conversation with," Floyd said, of the most recent Virginia officer fatality.
It's a national trend of officer deaths on the rise that is mirrored here locally. It's a trend that this group said needs to stop.
"This year, it's hit home and it's hit hard and it's caused a lot of tragedy for a lot of families and a lot of departments," Floyd said.