Politics

Boozman Column: Honoring and Applauding Law Enforcement Officers

On behalf of all Arkansans, I’m honored to mark National Police Week and Peace Officers Memorial Day by paying tribute to our law enforcement officers in The Natural State and across our country.

These men and women who swear an oath to protect and serve their communities are committed to keeping us safe and upholding the law. They take on tremendous risks and are always willing to run toward danger when the rest of us are running away from it.

That requires a special kind of strength and character. It’s what sets them apart and gives us hope that there’s never a situation so dire as to keep them from doing their job.

Arkansas is blessed. In towns and cities across our state, our police departments are filled with humble, dedicated and courageous public servants who exude professionalism and compassion under tremendous pressure. The 10 Arkansans whose names will be added to the National Law Enforcement Memorial’s Roll Call of Heroes this year – Scott Hutton, Hasain El-Amin, Christopher Cummins, Joshua Pierson, James Gardner, Frank Ramirez Jr., Danny Guynes, Kevin Apple, Lesley Green and Malachi Thacker – all fit that description.

Two of these fallen lawmen perished last year while on the job, protecting the public.

Independence County Sheriff’s Deputy Frank Ramirez Jr. made the ultimate sacrifice in an early morning car crash that occurred while he was responding to a call for help. Pea Ridge Police Officer Kevin Apple lost his life in the line of duty when he was struck by a suspect’s vehicle as the driver attempted to flee from police.

Their stories remind us why we are so grateful for those who wear the badge, patrol our streets, secure our communities and answer calls for help without regard for their own well-being.

So, this week especially, we pause and take the opportunity to say thank you to our law enforcement officers for doing a tough job so well and for their willingness to serve as beacons of light in times of crisis and darkness.

We appreciate them, and all they represent.

It is inspiring to watch them carry out their duties without much fanfare, but with determination and discipline.

That’s exactly what earned Arkansas State Trooper Spencer Morris recognition earlier this year when he was named the National State Trooper of the Year by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, State, and Provincial Division. Trooper Morris exhibited incredible bravery when helping the U.S. Marshals Service apprehend an armed fugitive. He was shot in the chest after attempting to pull the suspect’s vehicle over, returned fire and called for backup, leading to the shooter’s apprehension.

His story is like so many others among our law enforcement ranks – looking past danger and setting self-preservation aside to keep the peace, ensure safety and protect communities.

Understanding that reality is what motivates me to support policies that acknowledge how much our law enforcement officers are needed, provide the funding and resources necessary for them to do their jobs properly, and create harsh penalties for those who would target them with violence because of their profession.

And it’s why I encourage you to join me in expressing publicly what we feel all year: we cannot thank them enough for their service and sacrifice.

Arkansans must always share how much we appreciate the members of the Thin Blue Line. May God bless them as they continue working in our communities with heroism and skill. We applaud them and commit to always Back the Blue.

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