Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I rise today to join Americans across the country in recognizing the immeasurable scarifies made every day by the men and women of law enforcement. Federal, state and local law enforcement officers put their lives on the line to help uphold the rule of law in America. Their professionalism and commitment to justice underpin so such of what has allowed this country to thrive for generations.
In May, 1962, President John F. Kennedy designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week containing the 15th as National Police Week. In that proclamation, President Kennedy stated, “… from the beginning of this Nation, law enforcement officers have played an important role in safeguarding the rights and freedoms which are guaranteed by the Constitution and in protecting the lives and property of our citizens …”
It is that two-fold role of protecting both the constitutional and physical well-being of all Americans that earns law enforcement officers such a revered place in American society. In the 53 years since President Kennedy established this national celebration of law enforcement, much has changed in regards to the tactics and procedure for protecting essential rights and freedoms, as well as the nature of threats against personal property and the citizenry. What has not changed in the unwavering commitment to addressing these challenges by law enforcement agencies nationwide.
Mr. President, my home state of Maryland is home to a close-knit, well-trained and dedicated network of law enforcement agencies. Maryland is often called “America in Miniature” and as such, federal, state and local law enforcement officers across Maryland are expected to be able to respond to an incredibly diverse set of situations.
Being on the front lines of upholding the rule of law and protecting Americans from harm is not easy work. There hardly a law enforcement officer in the United States who will not face the threat of bodily harm during their career. Unfortunately, due to the dangerous nature of police work, law enforcement officers across the country are killed on the job every year.
Thus far in 2016, 35 law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty. Mr. President, every one of those men and women left a family and grieving law enforcement agency. California, Colorado and Maryland share the painful distinction of leading the nation in law enforcement deaths in the line of duty. Three officers from each one of the aforementioned states were killed in the line of duty, in Maryland all three were killed by gunfire.
Mr. President, Senior Deputies Patrick Dailey and Mark Logsdon of the Harford County Sherriff’s office and Officer Jacai Colson of the Prince George’s County Police Department were all model officers who were tragically killed while protecting colleagues and civilians. All three of these men served communities in Maryland with distinction and contributed greatly to not only public safety, but also to helping build strong and lasting relationships among law enforcement and the people they protect.
Senior Deputies Dailey and Logsdon were both fathers and military veterans. Both served honorably with the Harford County Sheriff’s Office.
On Christmas Eve, 2002, Deputy Dailey saved the life of a teenager traveling in an SUV that collided head-on with a cement mixing truck. Deputy Dailey, a number of fellow sheriffs and two civilians emptied six fire extinguishers in an attempt to quell a fire that threated to engulf the vehicle and the unresponsive driver. Using only their bare hands and batons, the group managed to free the driver seconds before the fire consumed the passenger compartment. The teen was able to thank his rescuers, three months later, at the Harford County Sheriff’s Office Awards Banquet.
Exactly 11 years before his death, Deputy Logsdon confronted a suicidal man who was armed with a loaded shotgun. In a display of great bravery and at great risk to himself, Deputy Logsdon managed to talk the man into surrendering his weapon. After the man was disarmed, Deputy Logsdon continued to help the man by transporting him to the hospital, where he received medical care.
Officer Colson was an undercover narcotics agent. He had a dangerous job with zero margin for error, Officer Colson did not make errors. He was a four-year veteran of the Prince George’s Police Department. The Commander of the Prince George’s County Police Department’s Narcotic Enforcement Division said of Colson, “Not only is he good at his job, he’s that guy that you wanted on your team.”
The President of the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 89 described Officer Colson as “… always the first person here in the morning, ready to work and put in a full day’s work.”
Mr. President, all three of these men could have done anything with their lives and they chose to uphold the law. I am thankful that for the many people they interacted with on a daily basis, these men embodied justice. I join Marylanders in mourning their loss.
Mr. President, it is my hope that this National Police Week serves as a catalyst to communities and governments across the country to evaluate ways to better serve those who are sworn to protect and serve.