May 07, 2008


By Senator Mike Crapo

 "It's a war that may never end, but for centuries, men and women, have readily and willingly put themselves in harm's way, right here at home, to keep the peace."

                        -David Kerr, Author


The year 2007 was a particularly deadly year for United States law enforcement officers. The 181 officers killed in the line of duty last year is nearly a 20 percent increase over the previous year. In total, 358 officers were added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. in April, bringing the total number of names on the Memorial to 18,274-men and women from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, federal law enforcement and military police agencies. Sadly, one of Idaho's own was added this year. On May 20, 2007, Moscow City Police Officer and husband and father of three, Lee S. Newbill, was murdered in the line of duty. His selfless heroism saved the lives of fellow officers and others. His loss, like fellow officers on the Memorial, is still keenly felt by loved ones and the community that he left behind. 


Over the past 124 years, over 60 Idaho law enforcement personnel have given their lives defending our cities, towns and rural areas. They made the ultimate sacrifice, and their fellow officers have carried on in their stead. In a state like Idaho, these men and women are not just faces in a passing patrol car or in uniform on the street-they are neighbors, fellow church-goers, family and friends. They deserve thanks, and they deserve our support, especially in terms of resources, education and ongoing training. Cutting-edge technology, specialized training and ongoing education helps law enforcement agencies provide a higher, more effective level of protective services to our families, schools and communities. 


Every year, I support federal dollars for local, county and state law enforcement including the Edward Byrne Memorial State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance Grant Program and grants distributed under the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). Through the Violence Against Women Act and the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, I support additional funding for state and local law enforcement training, education and technical resources. Our communities benefit when our law enforcement agencies have the tools and training needed to accomplish the broad range of crime prevention and intervention tasks that are required to keep us safe on a daily basis. 


National Police Week runs from May 11 through 17. Communities around Idaho will be commemorating the week with activities and memorial services. Mountain Home Air Force Base will be participating in activities during National Police Week. On May 16, the Idaho Peace Officers Memorial will hold its annual ceremony in Meridian. On May 17, a ceremony will be held at the City of Twin Falls Band Shell.


My family and I join with all Idahoans in appreciation of those who work in law enforcement in Idaho's communities and what they do to maintain law and order. Remember to thank these brave men and women for their service, and thank their families as well. It's a perilous job, the hours are long, and, because of the nature of the job, expressions of gratitude don't come as frequently as they should. Idaho law enforcement officers provide the reassurance of personal safety in our daily lives. They are truly heroes in our midst.