This week is a special time to salute the brave individuals who choose public safety as a career, spending their days and nights patrolling communities across the country, keeping a watchful eye over you and your loved ones, and at times putting themselves in harm’s way. We especially want to highlight and honor the incredible dedication of the men and women who have sacrificed their lives to protect and serve.
Unfortunately, Minnesota is no stranger to losing officers in the line of duty. In fact, the list of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in our state is far too long. These are mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, friends and members of our community who put their life on the line so that your life, and mine, is protected.
While we work to make our communities as safe as possible, it is important that we remember the lives and heroic service of our fallen officers. Stearns County has shown their commitment to doing just that. Earlier this month, local police officers dedicated portions of Minnesota roads in the name of three local officers who lost their lives in the line of duty. Brian Klinefelter, Tommy Decker and Eddie Arendt will never be forgotten.
This week, Congress is working to honor the fallen as well as ensure future safety for our nation’s law enforcement through the passage of numerous bills. The Thin Blue Line Act amends current law so that, in addition to federal officers, the murders of state and local officers are included as an aggravating factor when juries are considering sentencing. This makes the strong declaration that the killing of any and all officers will not be tolerated.
With grants through the COPS Hiring Program, The American Law Enforcement Heroes Act of 2017 will prioritize the hiring of another group of American heroes – our nation’s veterans. And legislation such as the Rapid DNA Act of 2017 will help give our officers additional tools for them to do their jobs. This bill will allow local police stations to have access to Rapid DNA analysis machines so that officers can analyze DNA in a matter of hours rather than weeks, helping to expedite the process of identifying a suspect.
It is important that we show our gratitude to peace and police officers every day. But this week, I encourage you to pay homage to those whose lives were lost and go out of your way to let these courageous men and women in blue know just how grateful we are for their service.