Sunday, May 15, 2016 marked the start of National Police Week here in the U.S.

A week set aside to honor the 800,000 some law enforcement officers throughout the country for all the sacrifices they make to help keep the public safe each and every day.

This week actually stems back to 1962, when President John F. Kennedy declared May 15 as National Peace Officers' Memorial Day, honoring law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty.

For a little while now, Sioux Falls has been setting the stage for this important week.

You've probably seen the billboards around the Sioux Empire encouraging residents to give a "thumbs up" to a cop? That is just one way Sioux Falls is acknowledging our law enforcement community this week. Another way is by lighting up The Falls blue.

Blue lights will shine at Falls Park all week at night to honor fallen officers from all over the country.

In 2015 alone, 128 officers were killed here in the U.S.

While no law officers lost their lives in South Dakota in 2015, surrounding states can't say the same. North Dakota, Nebraska, and Minnesota all lost one officer and Iowa lost two.

The blue lights serve as a reminder that South Dakota Fraternal Order of Police President Captain Mike Walsh says, is nice when the job becomes discouraging.

According to Walsh, "It can be a blow to your moral sometimes when it feels like it's an us against them mentality, but that's the last mentality we can have. We can't have an us against them because we're apart of them and they're apart of us.”

So when you see a member of our law enforcement community this week, please join me in giving that hard working, dedicated, man or woman a big thumbs up! Or better yet, walk up to them and shake their hand. Thank them for the protection, the service, and everything they do to help keep our community safe.

Source: KDLT

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