Kent Police Officer Diego Moreno – killed last year in the line of duty – was recognized on Wednesday by U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran.
Moran recognized the service and sacrifice of federal, state, local and tribal police officers during a speech to Washington State homicide investigators at the Suquamish Clearwater Casino. Wednesday is National Peace Officers Memorial Day to honor law enforcement officers killed or disabled in the line of duty. The day is commemorated as part of National Police Week, which is being observed May 12-18.
“Police officers never know what dangers the next call will bring,” Moran said in an U.S. Department of Justice press release. “You always need to be at your best, especially when other people are at their worst. You are the guardians of the rule of law. Because of you, justice is brought to injustice.”
Moran noted that nationwide there was a 7 percent spike in violent crime between 2014 and 2016 – with an 11 percent increase in the murder rate in 2015. These were the largest annual increases in violent crime since 1968. Because of that spike, the Department of Justice responded in 2017 with increased criminal filings against violent crime defendants, and increased those filings by another 15 percent in 2018.
For 2018, there was a statistical decline in violent crime, indicating the increased filings are getting violent criminals off the street. Moran said his priorities include violent criminals involved in human trafficking and drug smuggling and distribution.
The success does not come without sacrifice. Moran said that Washington law enforcement has had four line of duty deaths in the last 18 months.
Just last month Cowlitz County Deputy Sheriff Justin DeRosier was shot and killed while responding to a report of a blocking vehicle. One month earlier, Kittitas County Deputy Ryan Thompson was killed responding to a road rage suspect.
In July 2018, Moreno was killed responding to reports of gunfire outside a restaurant. Moreno was struck and killed by a fellow officer driving a police SUV after attempting to stop a fleeing vehicle. And in January 2018, Pierce County Deputy Sheriff Daniel McCartney was killed after responding to a 911 call late at night in Frederickson.
Nationwide, according to statistics reported to the FBI, 106 law enforcement officers were killed in line-of-duty incidents in 2018.
In October 1962, Congress enacted a joint resolution, which the President signed, declaring May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day to honor law enforcement officers killed or disabled in the line of duty. The resolution also created National Police Week as an annual tribute to law enforcement service and sacrifice.
At a candlelight vigil on the evening of Monday, May 13, the names of Deputy McCartney and Officer Moreno were added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C.