Prepared Floor Remarks by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
On National Police Week
Monday, May 13, 2019
This week marks “National Police Week,” which is dedicated to the brave men and women of law enforcement.
Police officers prioritize the safety of their neighbors and fellow citizens above their own.
This week gives us an opportunity to reflect on the dedication and perseverance of law enforcement officers across the country.
We should also honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our communities.
It’s because of the commitment and bravery of police officers, fire fighters, first responders, and other public safety officers that we can feel safe in our homes, places of work, and communities.
I’m particularly grateful for the men and women in blue who serve my fellow Iowans.
I’d also like to thank the officers that serve in Washington, D.C.
The Capitol Police work diligently every day to ensure those of us who work here and everyone who visits the Capitol are safe.
Each member of the Capitol Police works selflessly to protect us and their dedication to service doesn’t go unnoticed.
National Police Week serves as a reminder to thank specific members of law enforcement that we know and care about.
However, we can’t forget to honor those who sacrificed their lives to protect ours. These individuals are heroes.
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, a total of 1,582 officers died in the line of duty during the past 10 years, an average of one death every 55 hours.
In 2018, 158 officers were killed in the line of duty.
At the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, the names of some 200 Iowans are inscribed amongst those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
Each name represents a unique individual who answered the calling to serve.
We are indebted to each and every one of you.
To that end, I’m pleased that the Senate Judiciary Committee recently approved three bills, two of which I co-sponsored, and one that I introduced.
My bill, the Protecting America’s First Responders Act, seeks to fix issues in the federal Public Safety Officers Benefits program.
Officers whose lives have been transformed by injury in the line of duty deserve our support. Unfortunately, the federal program that’s created to assist them has fallen short in responding to claims efficiently.
This important bill improves this program to ensure that disabled or fallen officers receive the benefits they deserve.
My bill enjoys the wide support of multiple groups, including Fraternal Order of Police, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Sergeants Benevolent, National Association of Police Organizations, Peace Officers Research Association of California, Wounded Blue, How2LoveOurCops, Billings Montana Police Department, National Volunteer Fire Council, National Association of School Resource Officers, and the Violently Injured Police Officers Organization.
I look forward to passing it into law, and want to thank all of the bill’s co-sponsors for helping move this bill forward.
In addition to the Protecting America’s First Responders Act, we also moved two other bills out of the Judiciary Committee.
The first is the Patrick Leahy Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program Reauthorization.
This bill allows state and local law enforcement officers to purchase lifesaving bulletproof vests for those officers working in the field.
I’m happy to co-sponsor this legislation and support my colleague, Senator Leahy’s, tireless efforts to improve the availability of bulletproof vests to our police.
The other bill that passed out of committee last week is the Supporting and Treating Officers in Crisis Act.
Mental illness and suicide among police officers continues to grow.
Senator Hawley introduced this bill, and I’m proud to co-sponsor it because it addresses a critical issue far too many officers face.
This bill seeks to provide necessary resources to law enforcement on mental health and suicide prevention.
I urge my colleagues to support all three of these bills.
Passing them into law is one way of saying thank you to the brave men and women who serve us so selflessly.
I’d like to conclude my remarks by once again thanking all members of law enforcement for their dedication and sacrifice.