Frequently Asked Questions
Learn more about the Behind the Badge Foundation’s role in remembering Washington State’s Fallen Heroes
Who decides what names are engraved on the Washington State Law Enforcement Memorial?
The Memorial Committee of the Board of Directors of Behind the Badge Foundation is responsible for reviewing all Petitions for Inclusion submitted to the Foundation. The Committee is comprised of members from varying backgrounds, including current and former law enforcement officers, survivors of line of duty death and civilians with a commitment to protect the sanctity of the Memorial and the honor of those names engraved upon it.
Since the first engraving of the granite stones in 2006, The Memorial Committee has reviewed and considered hundreds of names for potential inclusion. The Criteria guides the Committee to making a recommendation to the Board of Directors for or against inclusion for each name based upon its own unique circumstances. The Board of Directors then reviews these recommendations for formal approval for inclusion or denial.
When are names engraved on the Washington State Law Enforcement Memorial?
Names are engraved in the spring each year to be ready for formal recognition at the Peace Officers’ Memorial Ceremony each May.
Who is eligible for consideration on the Washington State Law Enforcement Memorial?
Local, State, Tribal and Federal Law Enforcement Officers who fit the definition set forth in the WSLEM Criteria for Inclusion may be considered for inclusion on the WSLEM under certain circumstances as outlined in the Criteria.
What Qualifies as a 'Line of Duty Death' (LoDD)?
The Washington State Law Enforcement Memorial (the “Memorial”) was created to provide one way to honor officers in Washington State who have been killed in the line of duty. The Memorial will provide a lasting tribute to those brave officers and serve as lasting recognition of our deep appreciation of their sacrifice.
The individuals whose names are carved into the Memorial must be law enforcement officers who have been killed in the line of duty.
To maintain the dignity and sanctity of the Memorial, a procedure has been established to ensure that proper deliberation is given in selecting the individuals who will be listed on the Memorial. This procedure will be periodically reviewed and may be changed from time to time, with or without notice, to any individuals or entities to assure that due consideration is given and the correct criteria are applied to each individual considered for inclusion on the Memorial.
If an officer dies while in an on-duty accident, will their name be engraved on the Washington State Law Enforcement Memorial?
The death of an officer at work is traumatic and heartbreaking no matter the circumstances. Being on-duty at the time of death does not mean automatic inclusion on the WSLEM. The WSLEM is a place of sanctity and utmost honor and its granite walls are reserved for the names of those officers whose death is directly attributed to action taken in the line of duty. The criteria for this are outlined in the Criteria for Inclusion set forth by the Behind the Badge Foundation Board of Directors.
What is the difference between ‘Line of Duty Death’, ‘In-Service Death’, ‘On Duty Death’, etc?
There is often misunderstanding in the various terms related to line of duty and duty related death. Depending on the entity or organization, these terms may be defined differently. For purposes of Behind the Badge Foundation and the Washington State Law Enforcement Memorial, explanations are:
-Line of Duty Death is defined and outlined in the WSLEM Criteria for Inclusion
-On-Duty death may be explained as an officer who was in a working capacity at the time of their death but does not meet the Criteria for Line of Duty Death. The officer’s agency may choose to provide resources and/or certain curtailed law enforcement honors to the family.
In-Service death may be explained as an officer who was not on duty at the time of their death but was still employed by the agency. The officer’s agency may choose to provide resources and/or certain curtailed law enforcement honors to the family.
These explanations and definitions only apply to BtBF and WSLEM – other entities and organizations, including, NLEOMF, PSOB, State of Washington and others, may have varied definitions.