Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer
By U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer

On Aug. 28, 2020, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Officer Tamarris Bohannon responded to a shooting call. This would be the 29-year-old father of three’s last day on the job, as the suspect proceeded to fire at Officer Bohannon, ultimately taking his life, leaving his children without a father, his wife without a husband and his colleagues at the St. Louis Police Department without one of their own.

Earlier this year Officer Bohannon’s name and far too many others were engraved on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. to ensure his sacrifice will never be forgotten. But we will never be able to adequately thank police officers like him who risk their lives each and every day in the name of keeping Missouri communities safe.

Unfortunately, we have been hearing more and more stories like Officer Bohannon’s over the last year. 2020 brought many challenges, but one of the most difficult to witness were the attacks on law enforcement.

To make matters worse, in some parts of the country those tragedies were met not with support but with calls to “defund the police.” In the cities run by radical progressives who actually did defund the police, we are seeing outrageous crime rates, chaos, and major threats to public safety, making it that much clearer that America not only needs police officers, but that we are unbelievably fortunate to have them.

Police officers are the reason we are able to sleep soundly at night with the peace of mind that our families are being protected. We know that if anything does go wrong, they are just a phone call away and ready to put themselves between harm and our loved ones. Attacking the people who risk their lives every day to keep us safe is absolutely despicable, and I will always defend the incredible men and women in blue who answer the call to serve our communities.

This Congress, I am a proud co-sponsor of three bills to support our nation’s police officers.

The Back the Blue Act has several provisions to make life for police officers safer including an expansion of self-defense and Second Amendment rights for law enforcement officers and making the killing, attempting to kill, or conspiring to kill a federal law enforcement officer a federal crime.

The Protect and Serve Act, which passed the House on a bipartisan basis in 2018 but was blocked in the Senate, would create enhanced penalties for anyone who targets or purposefully harms law enforcement officers, making it clear that our government and laws support law enforcement. Our nation’s police officers put themselves in harm’s way for the sake of their fellow Americans and they deserve to have as many protections in place as possible to keep them safe from the danger they constantly face.

And the final bill I have signed onto commemorates National Police Week, which is this week, and the 394 officers America lost in the line of duty in 2020. That is 394 families who will never see their mother, father, son, or daughter again. That is hundreds of children left without a parent to raise them, help them with their homework, go to their ballgame, or give them the love only a parent can give. That is hundreds of communities now less safe because one of their best is no longer there to protect them. And that is 394 reminders that America can be a dangerous place, and anyone who villainizes law enforcement does not have your best interest at heart.

Our nation has observed National Police Week since 1962 to show our steadfast support for the brave men and women who answer the call to protect our nation, and to honor the officers who gave the ultimate sacrifice. On May 14, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund held a candlelight vigil in Washington, D.C. where the hundreds of names of fallen officers from the last year were engraved into the memorial. There will also be an in-person ceremony at the memorial to honor our nation’s fallen officers during a National Police Weekend, Oct. 13-17 of this year.

Police officers make it possible for Americans to live without fear, knowing that our nation’s law enforcement officers are at the other end of a 911 call should we need them. They run into danger while everyone else is running out of it, and we are forever indebted to police officers and their families for the sacrifice they make for the communities they serve. I will always work to protect those who protect us, and this National Police Week I encourage all of you to join me in expressing deep gratitude and thanks to each and every law enforcement officer in our state.

They deserve that and so much more.