Washington State Patrol Trooper Justin Schaffer is among eight Washington state law enforcement officers whose names will be added to the Law Enforcement Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., this week as part of National Police Week, observed this year Sunday, May 9, through Saturday, May 15.
The memorial honors law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty.
“This week is a time to honor our law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation,” said U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland in a written statement. “I am constantly inspired by the extraordinary courage and dedication with which members of law enforcement act each day, putting their lives on the line to make our communities safer. To members of law enforcement and your families: we know that not a single day, nor a single week, is enough to recognize your service and sacrifice. On behalf of the entire Department of Justice, you have our unwavering support and eternal gratitude.”
Schaffer, a Washington State Patrol trooper based in Chehalis, was fatally struck by a vehicle while placing spike strips on Interstate 5 in Chehalis during a pursuit of a robbery suspect on March 24, 2020.
A fellow Washington State Patrol trooper, S. Renee Padgett, who died on Sept. 4, 2018, from cancer that was later learned to have been caused by exposure to toxic chemicals on duty, is among the fallen Washington officers joining Schaffer on the memorial.
The other six fallen Washington officers whose names will be added to the wall this week are:
• Kurtis James Enget, Bainbridge Island Police Department
• Jonathan Paul Shoop, Bothell Police Department
• Jon Michael Melvin, Grant County Sheriff’s Office
• Berisford Anthony Morse, Washington State Department of Corrections
• Daniel Glenn Oaks, Yakima County Department of Corrections
• Charlie Joe Cortez, Tulalip Police Department
In total, names of 394 fallen officers were added to the wall in 2020, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
The Department of Justice estimates that, based on data analyzed by the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), nearly 60% of the officers who died nationwide in the line of duty in 2020 died due to COVID-19.
“In such a difficult time for all of us, our law enforcement officers are on the front lines — at risk of contracting COVID-19, on top of the other risks inherent in law enforcement,” said acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman in a written statement. “We hold these fallen officers in our hearts as we thank their colleagues who continue to protect and serve each and every day.”
The names of all 394 officers added to the wall in 2020 will be read during a virtual candlelight vigil at 8 p.m. Eastern, 5 p.m. Pacific, on May 13, which can be watched at https://www.youtube.com/user/TheNLEOMF. The Fraternal Order of Police’s Roll Call of Heroes can be viewed at www.fop.net.
The Police Week in-person public events, originally scheduled for May, have been rescheduled due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns to Oct. 13-17, 2021. An in-person candlelight vigil event is scheduled for Oct.14.