By Amy L. Solomon, Assistant Attorney General
During National Police Week, we join our Justice Department colleagues in honoring the brave public servants who work so hard to protect our communities and uphold the rule of law.
We are reminded every day of the steadfast commitment of our nation’s law enforcement professionals and of the extraordinary sacrifices that you are willing to make on behalf of your fellow Americans—the long hours and late shifts, the routine exposure to danger and stress, and the subordination of your own personal safety and welfare to the well-being of others.
We know that you are given extraordinary responsibilities and shoulder a heavy burden, as do your families. Even in moments of distress, you are counted on to bear the highest standards of integrity and duty, and the best of you strive through your actions to raise that standard. I had the privilege of participating in several of the week’s events, including a roundtable hosted by the Attorney General, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund’s 35th Annual Candlelight Vigil and the Medal of Valor ceremony. Over the course of the week, I was moved and inspired, again and again, by the extraordinary acts of individuals and the larger motivations of so many in the law enforcement community.
At the Candlelight Vigil on Saturday night, I had the honor of reading the names of seven officers from Texas who died in the line of duty. To see so many families and colleagues stand in recognition of their service – and their loss – was incredibly moving. It was both heartbreaking and inspiring to look out at the thousands of candles held by family members and supporters who both mourned and celebrated the lives of the 556 individuals honored at the ceremony. Their deeds of courage and sacrifice, recalled through the simple act of recitation, are now enshrined in our national memory.
In further recognition of extraordinary acts of heroism and bravery, President Biden on Wednesday, alongside Attorney General Garland, honored nine public safety officers with the Medal of Valor, including officers who died heroically doing their jobs. Recipients of the award include five police officers, one sheriff's deputy and three firefighters. Congress created the medal in 2001, for public safety officers who exhibit exceptional courage and swiftness of action and assume personal risk in an attempt to save or protect human life.
The Office of Justice Programs honors all of you for the sacrifices you make for us every day. Thank you for your service to your communities and to the people of this country.