Ask a Sheriff: What is Police Week?

A: May 15 was designated National Peace Officer’s Memorial Day in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy.

The week containing May 15, which is May 12-18 this year, was designated National Police Week. National activities are hosted each year in Washington, D.C., to honor those law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice the previous calendar year and to offer support to the survivors of those officers as well as survivors of other years.

On this Law Enforcement Memorial Day, the families of Minnesotans Tom Decker, killed in the line of duty on Nov. 29, 2012, and Josh Lynaugh, who died in the line of duty on Feb. 16, 2013, will be dedicating the names of their loved ones on the National Law enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Sherburne County has experienced one peace officer death. On Sept. 27, 1919, 36-year-old Deputy Edward Foley sacrificed his life in the line of duty while attempting to locate a stolen vehicle from St. Cloud.

Foley was enforcing a roadblock with two other law enforcement officers, Marshal Will Iliff and Sheriff Mert Iliff, at the Elk River Bridge. Unbeknownst to the officers, the suspects had stolen yet another vehicle and drove up to the roadblock on the Elk River Bridge with it.

Foley approached the vehicle to ask the driver to wait, not knowing these were the suspects, and was shot in the chest by a passenger in the suspect vehicle, killing him instantly. A gun battle then ensued between the remaining officers and the suspects. Marshall Iliff was wounded in the left wrist and shoulder, and it appeared one of the suspects was also wounded during the gun battle, where 50 shots were fired. The suspects did escape the area. Subsequently, two of the suspects were arrested in East Grand Forks later that year.

For further info, visit the Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial Association at

National Peace Officer’s Memorial Day reminds us that life can change in an instant, especially for those involved in law enforcement, who intentionally go toward the pain, problems and strife that occurs in our society today, where others avoid it at all costs.

I ask that you thank those officers, deputies, troopers, conservation officers, etc. that work to keep preserving our peace. Like you, they also want to go home to their families at the end of their duty shift and continue with their lives in the hopes of making our community a better and safer place to live.--Sheriff Joel Brott