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The ‘Colors’ of Honor

Honor Guard

Police and Law Enforcement Honor Guards perform many duties and perform specific functions. The Honor Guard of any branch, Law Enforcement, Firefighters, Military, or EMT’s etc, are carefully selected and considered some of the best achievers in their field. Trained police and firefighters perform in military style honors for those slain in the line of duty and those who have retired, as well as other ceremonial functions. The rules of the National Fraternal Order of Police, in their manual outlining the guidelines addressing the National Honor Guard Demonstration in Washington, D. C., notes that the Color Guard is a member of the Honor Guard, but they perform a specific duty.

The types of events where the Honor/Color Guard would perform include:

  • Funerals
  • Local/National Sporting Events
  • Police Memorial Services
  • Well Respected Forums, such as the Special Olympics
  • Veteran's Day Parade
  • National Holiday Celebrations, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade
  • FBI/Law Enforcement Conferences
  • Governor's  (or other) Inauguration
  • Special Branch Recognitions, such as the Association of Narcotics Officers

Color Guard

The Law Enforcement Color Guard consists of a team of sworn officers who are assigned to participate in various formal ceremonies at community and departmental functions, specifically trained in the formal ceremonial role of handling, displaying and retiring of the flags associated with different groups.

The Color Guard forms the core of the Honor Guard's activity by proudly displaying the National Color, State Color and Organizational Color at various events. The presentation of colors is customary at the opening of various patriotic or sporting events and is often accompanied by the playing of the National Anthem. Members of the Color Guard are trained in drill and ceremony according to military standards and wear a distinctive unit shoulder patch.  They devote many hours training to perfect their performance. They devote their time to the proper respect and patriotism desired when “Posting the Colors.”

Far from a relaxed style and tone, Color Guard members often volunteer their time in addition to the officer’s regular duties, making this a part-time labor of love within the police department. In addition officers chosen for this position are some of the best, even selected by Commanding Officers, then vetted and in some cases, notified by the Chief of Police, themselves. Representing the honor of their respective branch, in a high profile capacity is taken very seriously by every unit.


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