June 11, 2018

Weekly Column: Honoring Peace Officers

Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

“Blessed are the Peacemakers . . .” is etched in a stone waterfall at the center of the Idaho Peace Officers’ Memorial in Meridian.  The names of the 71 Idaho officers killed in the line of duty are memorialized on the boulders surrounding the waterfall.  The memorial and the ceremonies held there and at other memorials throughout the state to honor fallen officers help ensure that this devoted service is justly remembered. 

 

The U.S. Senate recently unanimously passed a resolution that lists the names of each of the 129 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in 2017.  The names of fallen officers are added annually during National Police Week to the National Law Enforcement Officers memorial that “honors federal, state and local law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the safety and protection of our nation and its people.”  This growing memorial in Washington, D.C., is etched with the names of more than 21,000 officers who have been killed in the line of duty throughout U.S. history.         

 

I have been proud to support legislation recognizing the vigilance and compassion of those who serve in law enforcement throughout our nation and designating National Police Week, when communities hold events to honor officers who have given their lives protecting our communities.  The Senate resolution also included the following assertions:

  • An expression of “strong support for law enforcement officers across the United States in their efforts to build safer and more secure communities;”
  • Recognition of “the need to ensure that law enforcement officers have the equipment, training and resources necessary to protect their health and safety while they are protecting the public;”
  • Recognition of “the members of the law enforcement community for their selfless acts of bravery;”
  • Acknowledgement “that police officers and other law enforcement personnel who have made the ultimate sacrifice should be remembered and honored;” and
  • An expression of “condolences to the loved ones of each law enforcement officer who has made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.”

 

I have also had the honor of supporting legislation assisting law enforcement families.  This includes the unanimous Senate passage of a law that exempted from federal taxation the death benefits provided under any federal or state program to the family of any officer killed in the line of duty and other legislation to address educational grant-eligibility of students whose parent or guardian died in the line of duty as a police officer, firefighter or other public safety officer.  

 

V. Walter Coffin of the Boise County Sheriff’s Department is considered to be the first loss of an Idaho officer in the line of duty.  He was gunned down 135 years ago while assisting with a search for murder suspects.  This year also marks the 20-year anniversary of the loss of Idaho State Police Officer Linda Huff, who was the first female officer killed in the line of duty in Idaho.  The Idaho Police Officer’s Memorial website includes information about these and other Idaho officers honored at the memorial.  These Idaho tragedies remind us how much peace officers give.  Thank you to Idaho police officers and their families for your commitment to keeping our communities safe. 

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