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Grassley speaks on Senate floor about Police Week

Police BadgeBy The Iowa Statesman

 

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) took to the Senate floor Wednesday to speak about National Police Week. The following are his entire remarks.

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Mr. President, this week, I introduced a bipartisan resolution to commemorate National Police Week, which this year began on Monday, May 10th, and ends on Saturday, May 16th.  Senator Leahy and 32 others have joined me as original cosponsors of measure.  The theme of this year’s Police Week is “Honoring Courage, Saluting Sacrifice.”

Police Week is dedicated to the brave men and women in blue who selflessly protect and serve our communities every day, every week, in every community across the United States.  The week affords an opportunity to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice while striving to make our neighborhoods safer and more secure.

Events are scheduled in Washington, DC this week to not only remember those officers who tragically lost their lives in the line of duty but also to honor outstanding acts of bravery and service by many others. Tens of thousands of police officers as well as their friends and family members will gather in our nation’s capital for these events, which include a Candlelight Vigil and a Police Unity Tour Arrival Ceremony, among others.

National Peace Officers Memorial Day this year falls on Friday, May 15th.  On this day, the 34th Annual National Peace Officers Memorial Service takes place on the Capitol grounds.  This solemn service offers an opportunity for all of us to pay our respect to fallen officers and the families, communities, and law enforcement agencies that have been permanently altered because they paid the ultimate sacrifice. We owe these brave men and women our utmost respect and gratitude as we honor them on this important day.

A report by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund showed a nine percent increase in the number of officers killed in the line of duty in 2014, compared to the previous year’s fatalities. Gunfire was the leading cause of death among law enforcement officers last year, and ambushes were the leading circumstance of officer fatalities in these deaths, according to this report.  The number of firearms-related deaths in 2014 represents a 24 percent increase over the previous year.  This is the fifth consecutive year that ambushes have been the number one cause of felonious deaths of law enforcement officers, according to the National Sheriffs Association.

In my home state of Iowa, there have been nearly 200 line of duty deaths over the years. The fallen include numerous law enforcement personnel who were shot and killed or struck by vehicles while on duty.

At the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, the names of these Iowans and approximately 20,000 other men and women who have been killed in the line of duty throughout U.S. history are carved into the Memorial’s walls.  Regrettably, 273 new names will be added to the rolls this week to depict the loss of a loved one who did not return home safely at the end of his or her shift.  Already in 2015, we have witnessed 44 tragic deaths and senseless murders of our law enforcement protectors and guardians of the peace.

Just this past weekend, Hattiesburg, Mississippi Police Department Officers Benjamin Deen and Liquori Tate were quickly and violently murdered during a traffic stop that was anything but “routine.”  Our hearts go out to their families and the families of all who have lost their loved ones in the line of duty.

Mr. President, the men and women of law enforcement go to work shift after shift, frequently missing celebrations of birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays because they believe in serving something greater than themselves.  The work of law enforcement is not a job, it is a calling.  That calling and those officers’ devotion to duty merits our utmost respect and gratitude.

I call on all Americans this week to pause and contemplate the safety and security they enjoy.  We all must recognize that such peace is the result of sacrifices made by the brave men and women of law enforcement.  I also want to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues for their overwhelming support of this year’s resolution designating National Police Week, which this week passed the full Senate by unanimous consent.