Message on the Observance of Police Week, Peace Officers' Memorial Day, May 1982
I am pleased to have this opportunity to bring deserved recognition to National Police Week and Peace Officers' Memorial Day.
Over the generations, the protection of the individual and the pursuit of justice have been the responsibility of our police officers. They stand as the guardians of the fragile thread of order and civility that separate a civilized society from mankind's barbarous past. Police officers shoulder the trust of their fellow citizens in their daily effort to provide the protection and service that are increasingly important to our nation.
Those officers who have made the supreme sacrifice have demonstrated their devotion to the fundamental values of decency so essential to the well-being of American life. Those men and women who have carried the cause of justice to the grave deserve not only our respect but our heartfelt gratitude and affection. For without law and order, our society would soon crumble, dashing the dreams of our forebears and mocking the heroes and heroines whose sacrifices have made this great land a beacon of hope and a symbol of freedom for the world.
It is most fitting that all Americans pay tribute to police officers and that we join with them and the families of their fallen comrades in honoring the memory of those who have lost their lives while protecting their fellow citizens and communities.
Ronald Reagan, Message on the Observance of Police Week, Peace Officers' Memorial Day, May 1982 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/245751