Too often as public servants, we take for granted the safety and security afforded all of us by some of the hardest-working men and women in our communities: our police and law enforcement officers. In East Tennessee, we’re fortunate to have many quality law enforcement officers that have dedicated their lives to protecting and serving our community. They work – rain or shine – to keep us safe. Many of them patrol on holidays, birthdays and other special family occasions.
When I was mayor of Johnson City and since I’ve served as Congressman, I’ve seen our local police officers go out of their way to ensure that East Tennesseans can participate in democracy without fear. They’ve stood in as security at town hall meetings, patrolled parades and looked after our district offices. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate their efforts to make the First District a better, safer place for our children and grandchildren.
In recent months, our country has had an emotional debate about the role of law enforcement in today’s society. I can’t speak to the intention of every police officer around the country, but I can say that the officers I’ve had the privilege of working with in East Tennessee feel passionate about the work they do. I know they consider it an honor to wake up every morning and put their badge on. These men and women take their oath to protect and serve very seriously, and I respect the work they do.
Recently, an officer’s wife stopped me on the street to tell me how difficult it is as a family member to not know whether or when their loved one was coming home from a shift. I know many wives, husbands and children share these same fears. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, the number of police officers who died in the line of duty increased 24 percent in 2014. As the world becomes a more dangerous place, I believe we need to respect and honor those who make sacrifices to keep us safe here at home.
Earlier this month, we observed Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. I hope you’ll join me in expressing appreciation for the work the men and women on our communities’ front lines do to protect and serve, and in praying for peace in our community and around the country.
Feel free to contact my office if we can be of assistance to you or your family. Our contact information can be found on our website, www.roe.house.gov.