Law Enforcement Highlight: Officer Jason Falconer
Yesterday, my team and I launched our #ThankACop initiative to support and recognize law enforcement officers for the work they do to help our communities.
As part of this campaign, we will be highlighting individual officers each week and the important work they do to protect and serve Minnesotans. First up is Officer Jason Falconer, an American hero from my home district (MN-06).
On Saturday, September 17, 2016, Officer Jason Falconer was shopping for a birthday gift for his young son at Crossroads Mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota when shoppers suddenly began running and screaming. An assailant wielding two knives worked his way through the mall, stabbing the shoppers and threatening the lives of dozens of individuals. Though he was off-duty, Officer Falconer instinctively identified himself as a police officer and ordered the man to put down his weapons immediately. After the assailant refused to comply and lunged at him, Officer Falconer eliminated the threat. This attack left nine people wounded, and we will never know how many lives were saved because Officer Falconer swiftly put himself in harm’s way to protect others.
While you and I would without hesitation call Officer Falconer a hero, this humble, midwestern police officer would not accept that. He simply said that he happened to be in the right place at the right time. In 2016, he was serving part-time with the Avon Police Department following his service as the Chief of Police in Albany. Officer Falconer was also a member of the United States Practical Shooters Association and a firearms training instructor who had previously taught classes to law enforcement at St. Cloud State University, and we are forever grateful that he chose to step up and use his many years of service as a law enforcement officer to protect his community.
My office had the privilege of working with the White House to recognize Officer Falconer’s heroism and recommended that he receive the Congressional Badge of Bravery. Established in 2008, the Congressional Badge of Bravery is awarded to federal, state, and local law enforcement officers who engage in exceptional acts of fortitude. Officer Falconer became the first Minnesota police officer to earn this badge, and he was also named Officer of the Year by the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association later that year.
It was the honor of a lifetime to attend the ceremony in recognition of Officer Falconer and present him with the Congressional Badge of Bravery. I will never forget the experience, and I will be forever grateful for his heroism.
And though Officer Falconer did modestly say he was just in the right place at the right time, we know that officers like Jason Falconer wake up each and every day ready to uphold their oaths to protect and serve regardless of what they may encounter. Thank you, Officer Falconer. Words cannot do your bravery justice.
P.S. If you have an officer who you think deserves to be highlighted and thanked, please do not hesitate to send a photo, bio, or story to [email protected]. What else will you do to join me and #ThankACop this week?