COLUMN: During National Police Week, Thank You to Men and Women in Blue

May 23, 2016
Weekly Column and Op-Ed

*The following column is adapted from Congressman Newhouse’s remarks for the Law Enforcement Memorial Service in the Tri-Cities on May 21st.

In Washington, more than 280 officers have lost their lives in the line of duty. When we reflect on these officers we should remember the scripture that, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Those officers gave their all for a very high and noble cause: that of peace in their communities.

Last week was National Police Week, and May 15 was “Peace Officers Memorial Day,” when Americans honor those public servants in uniform who have fallen in the line of duty. It was a time of remembrance and gratitude.

I hope everyone takes an opportunity to express our community’s gratitude for the bravery and sacrifice of state and local law enforcement. We pay respects for the brave men and women who have lost their lives in service of our society. We grieve with their loved ones, their friends, and their families. We pray for healing for those they left behind as they face tremendous loss.

What does peace in our communities look like? When children can walk safely in their neighborhoods to school; when families can enjoy a public park; when citizens can feel safe in their homes at night -- that is peace.

We are thankful for the peacemakers.

While many police officers have paid the ultimate price, that peace sometimes comes at a price that is too often invisible for officers. There is also another kind of cost as well: On a daily basis, law enforcement officers see things that no one should have to see, and they face the threat of violence head on. To protect others they make that sacrifice every day.

We recognize the challenges law enforcement officers face and the difficult work that they do. Police officers are that thin blue line that keeps our communities safe.

In Congress, I am committed to advocating for policies that assist law enforcement officers to safeguard communities. I supported passage in the U.S. House of the "Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program Reauthorization Act," which reauthorizes the bulletproof vest program fund and extends the authorization through 2020. I also supported passage of the "Federal Law Enforcement Self Defense Protection Act", which ensures that officers are able to defend and protect themselves on and off-duty.

We are grateful to police officers—past and present—for putting that badge on and facing those tough days for our safety.