Byrne Honors Law Enforcement Officers, Remembers Officer Billa
In recognition of National Police Week, Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) today delivered a speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to honor law enforcement officers and their contributions to local communities.
This year, National Police Week runs from May 13th through May 19th. The special week was established by a joint resolution of Congress in 1962.
The full transcript of Congressman Byrne’s speech can be found below.
Congressman Byrne said: “Mr. Speaker, I rise this morning during National Police Week to recognize and remember the men and women in blue who protect and serve our local communities each and every day.
“Law enforcement officers leave the safety of their homes each day not knowing if they will pass back through their own front doors when their day is done. They leave their families behind to ensure the safety of our loved ones at schools, in neighborhoods, and on the roadways.
“These individuals are true public servants, who answer the call and put their lives on the line.
“Among their many roles in the community, law enforcement officers serve as role models for our children, keep the peace in our neighborhoods, direct traffic for football games, and are the first to respond when help is needed. Far too often we take their services for granted.
“This week, I am proud that the House is taking up a number of important bills to support our local law enforcement.
“From legislation to prevent attacks on our officers to providing funding for additional resources, we are working to ensure these dedicated individuals have the tools they need to do their jobs and keep us safe.
“See, our law enforcement officers are heroes, who put their lives on the line each day to keep our citizens from harm’s way. National Police Week is a time for us to stop and show our appreciation to these heroes for all they do for our communities.
“Our law enforcement officers serve selflessly, facing the many dangers of the job with courage and bravery.
“Mr. Speaker, I’ve had the opportunity to ride along with members of the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office in Southwest Alabama. It was an eye-opening experience.
“At every single traffic stop, the deputies had no idea what to expect. Every call was different, but each one came with an inherent risk of the unknown. Despite the uncertainty, the deputies always conducted themselves with respect and professionalism.
“Whether it is a routine traffic stop or responding to a domestic call, these officers have no idea how their encounters will turn out. There is always the risk that interactions on the job can turn hostile, and in some cases, even deadly.
“National Police Week is also an opportunity to honor the heroes who have lost their lives while serving our communities.
“In 2017, 136 officers were killed in the line of duty. Already this year, 54 officers have lost their lives while serving our communities. Sadly, one of these deaths occurred in my home state of Alabama earlier this year.
“Mobile Police Officer Justin Billa paid the ultimate sacrifice when he was shot and killed while responding to a domestic violence call on February 20th. At just 27 years old, Officer Billa left behind a loving wife, Erin, and a one-year old son, Taylor.
“In such a time of immense grief, we saw the City of Mobile rally together to support the family and friends of fallen Officer Billa. You see, these officers are much more than enforcers of the law, they are an integral part of the community.
“Mr. Speaker, I loved seeing the community wrap Officer Billa’s family up in a shield of prayer and love, but we shouldn’t just do that when we lose an officer and we shouldn’t just do it during Police Week.
“Each and every day we should show our deep appreciation to members of law enforcement – at every level – who put their lives on the line so we can live in safe communities.
“May we not forget that we get to lay our heads down on our pillows at night feeling safe because of the brave men and women out there patrolling the streets.
“So, Mr. Speaker, as we observe National Police Week, I can think of no better way to show appreciation for our men and women in blue than to encourage every American to take time to say “thank you” to your local law enforcement officers. May their sacrifices never be forgotten.”