Weekly Columns

National Police Week: Defend, Honor, and Protect

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Washington, May 17, 2017 | Lani Short (202-225-6356) | comments

This week, May 15th through May 19th, marks National Police Week; it is a week in which we, as Americans, have an opportunity for all Americans to express appreciation and respect for our local, state and federal law enforcement officers. Every day, law enforcement officers put their lives on the line to keep our county and fellow citizens safe from harm, and keep the peace. I take every opportunity I can to thank law enforcement officers for the work they do. In recent years, their job has been made much more difficult, and it takes a toll on the officers and their families. House Republicans are working diligently to ensure that the sacrifices of the men and women who serve in law enforcement are honored. It is also imperative that these men and women who have dedicated their lives to this service have the tools they need to keep the public safe.

National Police Week dates back to 1962 when President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation to honor the law enforcers who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Each year, tens of thousands of officers from around the world come together to Washington, D.C. to participate in various planned events. One of the largest, the National Peace Officer’s Memorial Service, is sponsored by the Grand Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, and is one of the many events that includes a Candlelight Vigil and other seminars sponsored by Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.). This week draws anywhere from 25,000 to 40,000 attendees who represent different organizations and agencies working in law enforcement.

This Monday, President Trump declared May 15th as Peace Officers Memorial Day. This declaration pays tribute to the men and women of law enforcement who have been killed or disabled in the line of duty. Last year, 118 officers died in the line of duty, six from Tennessee. According to the White House, these attacks increased nearly 40 percent from 2015, which is deeply troubling and outrageous. President Trump’s plan to improve the lives of law enforcement officers and their families is admirable. The Officer Safety and Wellness Group is one program intended to provide support to law enforcement officer and their families. This program will improve officer safety on the job and accelerate the process of benefits through the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program, which provides vital resources to the families of fallen officers. On Monday night, President Trump reiterated his support for the law enforcement community by ordering the White House to be bathed in blue light to honor the fallen police officers.  

This week, the House will vote on the Thin Blue Line Act. This bill would make the murder or attempted murder of a police officer, firefighter, or other first responder an “aggravating” factor in the death penalty determinations. The House will also consider the Probation Officer Protection Act, which would give probation officers the authority to arrest a person if there is probable cause to believe that the person has forcibly assaulted, resisted, opposed, impeded, intimidated or interfered with a probation officer in the performance of his or her duties.

I am very thankful for the diligence and service of the law enforcement officers of the First District of Tennessee and around the country, and I greatly respect the way they courageously defend our communities. Please join me in continuing to pray for these individuals and the service to which they’re committed on our behalf. Recognizing the ones who wear blue and guard the heart of our democracy is one of the cornerstones of our country, and I am glad Congress and President Trump have shown our strong support for these men and women this week.

As always, feel free to contact my office if I can be of assistance to you or your family. 
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Tags: Defense