May is a difficult month for Fairfax County Police Chief David Rohrer and his department.
May 8 marks the sixth anniversary of , and memorial vigils for fallen local and national comrades will be held on May 13 and 15.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has proclaimed May 13-19 as Police Week and May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day in the county.
On a dreary afternoon on May 8, 2006, Michael Kennedy, a Centreville teen, opened fire at Detective Vicky Armel and Officer Michael Garbarino in the back parking lot of the . Armel was killed and Garbarino was severely injured. He died from his wounds nine days later.
“The officers of the Fairfax County Police Department and the Fairfax County Sherriff’s Department are loyal, faithful, devoted and selfless in their service to our diverse community and have established an enduring reputation for preserving the security and rights of all residents in the county,” said Mount Vernon District Supervisor Gerry Hyland when reading the proclamation during the board’s May 1 meeting.
Hyland said he had had five uncles who had been involved in police work and understood the importance of public service.
“There really isn’t an adequate way to express on behalf of all the people we represent the thanks and gratitude for the work our police do day in and day out,” he said.
Rohrer spoke on behalf of his department to thank the board for the recognition.
He said that May was a “poignant” month for him and his officers, as they’ll attend the 22nd annual candlelight vigil May 13 at the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial in Washington, D.C. and hold a May 15 memorial service for fallen county public safety employees in the rose garden behind the Massey Building in Fairfax.
In 2009, 122 law enforcement officers in the United States lost their lives, a 50-year-low, Rohrer said. But he lamented a rise in “attacks and ambushes on police officers,” with more than 170 deaths in 2011.
“We cannot be afraid to do our jobs, and we’re not,” he said, adding that he had mandated the wearing of bullet-proof vests for “all men and women on operational assignments.”