If you see more cops than usual around town this weekend, don't worry. In fact, take them out and buy them a beer.
As many as 40,000 uniformed public servants from across America are expected in town for the annual National Police Week. Included in that force is Ed Bove, a 14-year patrolman from Philadelphia. ''I've been coming down for years,'' says Bove. ''I come to see my friends from around the country and to pay my respects for the fallen officers.''
Bove also comes to town as vice president of Protect and Defend, a multi-national support and social organization of gay police officers, firefighters, EMTs, even military personnel. Along with the local organization GOAL Mid Atlantic, PAD has planned outings at several local bars for gays and lesbians in uniform -- and of course those who love them.
''We love supporting our police,'' chimes in Steve Smith of Remington's. Remington's plays host to PAD's main event Friday, May 14 -- an annual fundraiser starting at 8 p.m. including a raffle and silent auction.
The auction includes items such as baskets filled with memorabilia from the Chicago and New York police departments, police-themed T-shirts, an authentic British bobby (police) helmet, passes to the National Museum of Crime & Punishment and hotel stays in Las Vegas. Proceeds benefit the D.C. chapter of COPS (Concerns of Police Survivors), an organization that helps families who have lost loved ones in the line of duty. And Smith says Remington's will also donate some of the bar's draft beer sales to the gay officer organizations.
Meanwhile, tonight, May 13, EFN Lounge hosts a social gathering for gay officers after the 22nd annual candlelight vigil at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, in the 400 block of E St. NW. Nellie's hosts a similar gathering on Saturday, May 15, starting at 7:30 p.m.
''[Each event is intended as] a safe, comfortable place to come out and meet public servants,'' says Bove. ''Come have a beer if nothing else.''
All bar events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit protectanddefend.org.