Recognizing Our Law Enforcement Agenciesby Representative Bradley Byrne
Posted on 2015-01-27
BYRNE. I thank my colleague, the gentleman, and I thank you for
the time, but I thank you most of all for your service to the people of
your community and what you have done for them and your proxy for
hundreds of thousands of law enforcement officers that do that day in
and day out, and we take them for granted.
I am glad you brought up the subject of families because we sometimes forget that these law enforcement officers have families. They have husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, and friends.
Literally, when they go out every day, those people and their family and their friends are not certain they will come back. How many of us, when we go off to work, our family and friends think, ``Well, he may not come back''? What a terrible thing that must be, how difficult that is for the family.
My grandfather was a sheriff in Mobile County in Alabama in the twenties and thirties. I wasn't alive during that point in time, but I remember my father telling stories about that.
When his father would go out at night and they had to do things on patrol or to go out and apprehend somebody who committed a crime and how upset it would leave him as a child thinking: Where is my dad going? Is he going to be okay? We take that for granted, but the families don't take that for granted because they have to live with it day in and day out.
We so often think of law enforcement officers in terms of how they relate to a criminal. Well, oftentimes, the most important person or persons they are relating with are victims.
They are the protectors--in some cases, the saviors--of victims, people who are getting ready to be hurt by a criminal, and--but for a law enforcement officer--they would be hurt and maybe even killed.
Those law enforcement officers rush into an inherently dangerous situation to keep those people from harm and maybe even save them from death. It may be a phone call that goes to 911 in the dead of night, a woman screaming into the phone: My husband has a gun, and he is going to use it against me.
A law enforcement officer is dispensed to that environment, not knowing in that highly emotionally charged moment whether that gun is going to be used on him or the person he has come to save.
Mr. Speaker, time and time again, law enforcement officers find a way to [[Page H628]] defuse that situation. No one is hurt, the person that is about to commit a crime is apprehended and charged with a crime less than actually hurting somebody, but a person has been saved; a person has been saved from harm or perhaps death.
If you have ever been in that moment and been someone who has been a victim, when a law enforcement officer comes up and saves you in that moment, you realize that but for those law enforcement officers who do that day in and day out, we could all be victims of a horrible crime, and we take that for granted.
My wife, Rebecca, and I were victims of a violent crime. We were stopped one night by three young men who tried to rob us. They had a knife and said they had a gun. My wife was pregnant. They took our jewelry and then threw her to the ground which could have not only hurt her, but hurt the baby.
Fortunately, some of the people involved with the main perpetrator realized it was time to run, and as they did, we could scream out. As we screamed out, neighbors called the police. They came very quickly.
I can tell you when you are in that moment and you feel that sense of fear because people have weapons that they want to use against you and they have already used physical violence against you, when that squad car comes up and the man or men or women in uniform step out, you feel safe.
When they step out of that squad car, they are not safe because they have to go out. Their official duty is to try to apprehend that person and do whatever it takes to protect the rest of us. We take that for granted, and we should never, ever take that for granted.
Mr. Speaker, last year, over 100 law enforcement officers in the United States lost their lives in the line of duty. So far in this young year in the United States already, nine law enforcement officers have lost their lives in the line of duty.
One of them was lost last night in my home county, Baldwin County, Alabama, a police officer--a fine police officer--with the city of Loxley, and we take that for granted. He got in his car at the beginning of the day, kissed his wife, went to work, and didn't come home.
Mr. Speaker, I hope we in America can use times like this to remember what we gain from people who put on the uniform of law enforcement to serve us and to protect us. ``Serve and protect,'' that is the motto.
All of us tonight, millions of us as Americans tonight will go to bed, will put our heads on that pillow, and will go to sleep safe, knowing that these men and women are patrolling the streets of our country to keep danger away from us.
Before we go to sleep every night, perhaps we should do one more thing: let's say a little prayer for those men and women who patrol the streets of our country to protect all of us and maintain the quality of life that we all too often take for granted.
Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for this time tonight, your service to your community and to our country, and hope you will continue to remind us in the days to come of what we owe to the men and women that wear law enforcement uniforms throughout America.