WASHINGTON D.C.—Sunday marked the official beginning of National Police Week, the annual memorial honoring law enforcement officers who gave their lives in the line of duty.
Seven Indiana officers are being honored this year, including Boone County Sheriff’s Deputy Jake Pickett, and Terre Haute police officer Rob Pitts.
From the second the survivors stepped off their planes, they were greeted by groups of officers waiting to escort them and help them collect their bags.
Ronda Osenbaugh, the sister of fallen Indiana conservation officer Sgt. Ed Bollman, who died while trying to rescue a friend in an icy pond, was one of the surviving family members greeted.
Osenbaugh said she expected National Police Week to be an emotional and difficult experience, but she said the presence of the officers escorting her and her family from the airport made things a little easier.
“As soon as I walked off and saw them, it’s tears and heart strings already. It’s appreciated already,” Osenbaugh said.
Law Enforcement United, a group of 1,800 officers who ride bicycles across the country to raise awareness for their fallen comrades, began the afternoon by riding through a crowd of thousands at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.
In attendance at the ceremony was Greg Pitts, the brother of fallen Terre Haute police officer Rob Pitts, who was killed in the line of duty one year ago on May 4, 2018.
“In the end when you see all the support and everything everybody has come here for, I mean it’s emotional,” Pitts said.
Like many survivors and their families, Pitts says the experience of Police Week is crucial in helping to aid the healing process.
“This stuff right here, you can’t put it into words, you can’t explain it unless you’re here to see it,” Pitts said.