It happens every spring in Washington. Police cruisers from departments around the country show up on downtown streets around the middle of May. It's National Police Week, when thousands of law enforcement officers gather to honor colleagues who died in the line of duty.
At the closing ceremony on the Capitol grounds Saturday, President Obama thanked officers and their families for their sacrifices. "You don't know what the next dispatch will bring," said Mr. Obama. "All you know is it's your duty to keep us safe, to keep our communities safe, to keep America safe. It is a duty you fulfill every single day."
Many officers told us the recession has hit police departments hard, meaning they've had to do more with less. Deputy Sean Carrion of Los Angeles says, "Hiring freezes are coming down, there are academies being cut back, equipment is being used longer."
Earlier this week, President Obama tried to assure police that they will continue to have the resources they need to do their jobs. He said $3.5 billion in stimulus funds have gone toward supporting local law enforcement, helping to preserve 4,700 jobs.
Officers say it's not just equipment and jobs that officers need. Jami Romaine is a corrections officer in New York. She'd like to see convicted criminals serve out more of their sentences. She thinks lawmakers "could probably support us more by not letting the people out who hurt our loved ones."
Most officers just came to pay their respects to their fallen comrades. Detective Michael Larkins of Baltimore said, "Freedom requires a sacrifice that the protected will never know."
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund says 116 officers died in the line of duty in 2009. The organization says that's the lowest number in 50 years.
Fox News' Heidi Noonan and Autria Thuman contributed to this report.