As a law enforcement officer, my fundamental duty is to serve mankind, to safeguard lives and property, to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation, and the peaceful against violence and disorder.
That is the first paragraph of the law enforcement officers’ code of ethics that every law enforcement officer across the United States pledges upon accepting a badge. American Heroes Week has drawn to a close, but we continue to pay tribute to our police, and I ask you to join me in reflecting on the many officers who lived this creed while risking their lives for the service of others.
An officer from my district, Deputy Eric Oliver, is one of the many examples of living out the creed. He lost his life in the line of duty last year while in pursuit of an illegal alien fleeing a traffic stop. Deputy Oliver was a veteran and a loving father. Nassau County Sheriff, Bill Leeper, said “he died doing what he wanted to do, protecting his country.”
Last month, Special Agents Crystal Griner and David Bailey inspired the nation with their response when a gunman opened fire on Republican lawmakers playing America’s favorite pastime. They were both injured, but still ran to the aid of several lawmakers and without them many lives would have been lost.
There are also officers such as Jacksonville Sheriff Officer Terrance Hightower who saw a man riding his bicycle without a tire, stopped to get to know him, and later returned with new tires to help him get to work. And Lieutenant Lakesha Burton who painted an American Flag picture for a veteran in our community honoring his service to our nation.
Law enforcement officers do not distinguish by party affiliation; they simply see people in need. Courage, determination, perseverance, sacrifice, focus, virtuosity, and compassion are only a few characteristics that make them heroes. Many get involved in public service despite the great personal risks to themselves, and as we celebrate American Heroes and the American Dream, I want to express gratitude to law enforcement officers across America for going above and beyond the call of duty every day.
These heroes never ask for acknowledgement for the good they do in serving our country. We should take the time this week to recognize the service and commitment of our law enforcement officers and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. I challenge you to meet a local police officer, get to know their story, and bridge the gap between what you observe in news reports versus who is protecting your communities.