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Video



2010 Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Ceremony


May 14, 2010


Video will appear here.


Transcript

[Native American chant]

[Bagpipes wail]

Officer Sal Lauro:
Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to the 2010 Department of the Interior

Law Enforcement Officer Memorial ceremony. I'm Sal Lauro, chief of the

United States Park Police. And I am honored to have been selected as the

master of ceremonies for this event. Assistant Secretary Suh, if you

would please pass on, on my behalf and all of the law enforcement and

emergency services personnel of the department, pass on our thanks to

Secretary Salazar and the members of the departmental leadership for the

continued support and unwavering concern for our safety, that each of

them displays. I'd like to thank the Black Bear Drum Group and our

bagpiper for those presentations. Always a nice way to start off the

ceremony. As you'll see as we move through today in this program, all of

Interior's bureaus with law enforcement responsibilities are part of

this ceremony. That's a reminder to all of us that we are all one part

of one department. And although our missions vary to some degree, the

ultimate responsibility is to protect visitors to our parks, refuges,

preserves and reservations, and to protect and manage the resources in

those areas. As an example of the shared responsibility each of

Interior's bureaus have, were each sending law enforcement personnel to

several Indian reservations out west to assist the Bureau of Indian

Affairs to protect the residents of those communities while BIA hires

additional staff. This ceremony was formally established several years

ago as a means of paying tribute during National Police Week to those

Department of the Interior law enforcement personnel who have made the

ultimate sacrifice. Although we haven't had any Interior law enforcement

personnel lose their lives in the line of duty for more than four years,

and we are all thankful for that, we have lost 134 of our law

enforcement personnel since DOI was founded in 1849. I would like to

welcome some of the survivor families who are with us today. It always

adds special meaning to the ceremony to have them here. Now, if I could

ask you all to, please, rise and remain standing as we have the

presentation of the colors by the Bureau of Land Management Honor Guard,

the singing of the National Anthem by United States Park Police Sergeant

Alan Griffith, and the invocation by Monsignor Chris Viola.

[Honor Guard brings flags to front of auditorium]

[United States National Anthem]

Officer Alan Griffith:
Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light

What so proudly we hailed

at the twilight's last gleaming?

Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,

O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?

And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

Gave proof through thenight that our flag was still there.

Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave

 O'er the land of the free

and the home of the brave?

[Color guard places flags and exits stage]

Monsignor Chris Viola
 Let's bow our heads in prayer.

 God, our Father, we come before you this day offering

you our praise and our prayers as we begin the 2010 Department of the

Interior Law Enforcement Officer Memorial. Lord, we thank you for

keeping all those members of the Department of the Interior law

enforcement safe this year. We ask and thank you for this special

blessings and protection you have bestowed upon all our members of law

enforcement. We remember today those whom you have called home, the 134

from the past. We remember them this day and we pray for them and their

families. We pray for all those men and women who you called to be law

enforcement officers. We thank you for the commitment you have given to

them, their dedication, and their desire to protect and to serve. And we

offer today also, Lord, those 116 men and women who lost their lives to

run our country this past year in the line of duty. Lord, we remember

them this day also. We give thanks as your loyal and faithful servant

who is called upon to do your will. Help us to be mindful of the needs

of others as you are always mindful of ours. We make this prayer today

as your loyal and faithful servants. In his name, let us all pray. Amen.

Officer Sal Lauro:
 You could all be seated, please.

Thank you, Monsignor, for those inspiring words, of always being there for our law

enforcement personnel when we need you. Sergeant Griffith and the

members of the Bureau of Land Management Honor Guard, you were all very

impressive this afternoon. Again, I would like to welcome you all today,

especially again I would like to welcome the survivor families of our

fallen heroes who aren't able to join us. As Monsignor Chris Viola said

last night, we had the annual candlelight vigil at the National Law

Enforcement Officers Memorial. Many of us who are here today were at

that ceremony. At that ceremony, the names of 324 United States law

enforcement officers who died in the line of duty were formally

dedicated on the walls of the memorial. Of those names, 208 have died in

previous years but their sacrifice had not been previously documented.

116 of the names were of officers who died in the line of duty in 2009.

This is the lowest annual total in five decades but it's still too many.

Although the dangers faced by our law enforcement personnel are

increasing , we have been able to reduce the number of deaths and

injuries by providing better training and equipment to our personnel, by

changing policies and procedures to stress officer safety, and by

providing improved medical care when they are injured. Although we in

Interior did not have officers killed last year, many of our personnel

were injured. I'm certain that each bureau can tell a story of a

significant injury to one of their personnel. I'd like to speak briefly

about one of those officers who were seriously injured and almost

killed. The last officer we lost was Officer Hakim Farthing who was

struck by a drunk driver in Baltimore-Washington Parkway while he was

providing traffic control in August of 2002. Tragically, that was within

24 hours of National Park Service Ranger Chris Egley losing his life in

the southwest border. Almost seven years to the day of that tragic

event, and on the same roadway where Office Farthing lost his life, one

of our officers, Officer White, made a traffic stop during morning rush

hour. During that stop, the operator of the truck veered off the

roadway, struck Officer White's cruiser. And the impact pushed the

cruiser to the violator's vehicle. Officer White was standing next to

the violator's vehicle. He was knocked down and was dragged under his

cruiser, and was pushed approximately 40 feet, and ended up laying right

at the edge of the travel portion during rush hour traffic. His right

hand was pinned under the vehicle, and that was a very frightening radio

message that came over our radio, that we had a motor vehicle accident

involving one of our officer and he was pinned under his cruiser. We are

very fortunate that day in August. Several citizens stopped and quickly

were able to get Officer White from under the vehicle. We were able to

fly him via helicopter to Medstar for treatment. And amazingly, although

he was really beaten up and scraped from being dragged under his

vehicle, he had no major injuries. In a relatively short period of time,

he was back on duty. The operator of the vehicle in question to him was

found to be on Methadone at the time of the accident, and that was

thought to be the reason why he crashed. This incident was yet another

example of the risks our officers face on a daily basis when patrolling

our parks, refuges, reservations, and communities. Our law enforcement

personnel are on duty on a 24-hour day basis making certain that the

rule of law is maintained. Throughout this nation, police officers

patrol our communities, and each of us can sleep secure in the knowledge

that our safety is in their capable hands. Although we strive to

minimize the risks they face, there are times they must put themselves

in harm's way. As others are running from a threat, law enforcement

officers are duty-bound to run towards that threat to protect others.

That is what makes each of them special and makes our profession unique.

And that's why each of us should be thankful for the commitment that

every law enforcement officer has to serve our nation and to serve each

of us. That's part of the reason why we gather at events such as this,

to honor and pay tribute to those who lost their lives protecting our

nation and to remind those of us still working in law enforcement of the

gratitude for the job they do and the risks they take. Now, it gives me

great pleasure to introduce our keynote speaker, Assistant Secretary

Rhea Suh. Ms. Suh was nominated by Pres. Obama on March 25, 2009 and

confirmed by the US Senate on May 19, 2009. She was sworn in as

Assistant Secretary for Policy Management and Budget. In this position,

Assistant Secretary Suh oversees programmatic administrative and

financial policy for the department, including budget formulation and

implementation. Prior to joining Interior, Assistant Secretary Suh was

involved in several foundations which worked to protect the ecosystems

of North America. She's a graduate of Barnard College at Columbia

University and has a Masters of Education, Administration, Planning and

Social Policy degree from Harvard University. She is also a recipient of

a Fulbright Fellowship and a Marshall Memorial Fellowship. Please join

me in a warm welcome to Assistant Secretary Rhea Suh.

[Applause]

Assistant Secretary Suh:
Good afternoon. Many thanks to Captain Lauro

and I very much appreciate the opportunity to be here today to represent

the secretary and the rest of the senior leadership of the department.

And to clearly underscore the secretary's personal commitment to law

enforcement in the department and his belief in making sure that law

enforcement has all the resources and support that you all need. So I'd

like to reiterate that commitment, and I certainly will pass on your

gracious appreciation to him. Again, thank you for having me here today

at main Interior building. And even though we all, within the confines

of this room, I believe that this is being simultaneously webcasted to

officers around the world. It always amazes me at the Department of the

Interior to recognize the breadth of our presence globally. We are all

the way out to the territories of the Pacific and the freely associated

states, all the way up to the Arctic, with our resources in Alaska and

all the way out to the Caribbean. And so for those of you listening

abroad, a warm welcome from D.C. I know we have come together today to

recognize and to honor the 134 heroes of the Department of the Interior,

these 134 law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty

since the department's founding in 1849. They are heroes, all of them.

With gratitude, I wish to begin by mentioning that we have not lost an

officer since 2005. For that, I am grateful and thankful, and

importantly, we recognize that our employees and bureaus across the law

enforcement programs are placing safety as a priority in everything they

do and everything that we do. I mentioned heroes that have tragically

lost their lives in the line of duty but I also want to recognize and

celebrate the heroes who work with us as our co-workers day-to-day. As

part of National Police Week, Bureau of Land Management Ranger Alexandra

Burke of Montana who was honored by Pres. Obama in the Rose Garden this

morning, I believe, with the prestigious Top Cops Award for her heroism.

None of our officers can know what danger lay await for them when they

put their uniform and defensive equipment on each morning. Yet we each

recognize that all of our officers are sometimes called upon and put

themselves to personal risk when they pin that badge on each and every

day. Our department officers train to high standards of federal officers

and yet one quiet winter evening in 2009, Alexandra Burke became a hero

and put all of her training and eight years of departmental law

enforcement experience to the test. While tracking a murder suspect,

running from a sniper incident, the suspect ran into officers with a

large knife. Ranger Burke put herself in harm's way to protect herself

and other officers as she fought and killed the assailant. I don't

believe Officer Burke is here. Is that correct? I actually think she's

still over at the White House, so many congratulations to her and please

extend your congratulations to her when she personally comes back.

[Applause]

Also being honored this week by the national Law Enforcement

Officers Memorial fund is United States Park Police Officer Adam

Salinsky, who has been recognized multiple times for saving lives of

citizens. Most recently, for stabilizing and controlling massive

bleeding from a car crash victim on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

Officer Salinsky is being honored in ceremonies this very hour and also,

cannot be with us. But we will again, congratulate him in person for his

outstanding work.

[Applause]

And let us not forget to honor department

officer who have served heroically during recent years in active duty

with the United States Armed Forces.

[Applause]

Over the years, we have seen many heroes amongst our law enforcement ranks. I frequently read

about the heroic acts of our law enforcement officers in the daily

briefings of our bureaus, and I have been honored to actually be

personally meet some of them in my travels and at the annual

convocations ceremony when we present the Valor Award. Today, we

recognize the 134 heroes who have met with tragedy while doing the

valuable work necessary to protect our public lands, our treasured

landscape, their fellow employees, and the many citizens who visit and

appreciate those special places. While I have never known the 134 heroes

whom we recognize today, I know that many of you have. I know that these

fallen officers are your fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons and

daughters. I know that many of these fallen heroes were your friends,

co-workers, partners, and I know that many of you have not forgotten and

neither shall we. As anniversaries pass, memories of those whom we knew and

loved are refreshed in our minds. This month marks the 20th anniversary

of the untimely death of National Park Service Ranger Bob McGee Jr. Bob

McGee Jr. was murdered on May 26, 1990 at the Gulf Islands National

Seashore in Mississippi. To his family, Linda, Carla and Kevin, please

know that we have not forgotten. I want to personally recognize Bob

Egley who is here today. Bob and Bonnie Egley lost their son

Christopher, a National Park Service Ranger, on August 9, 2002 when he

was shot and killed along the United States-Mexican border. Since that

tragic day, Bob has worked tirelessly to promote officer safety issues

to the department and bureau managers, as well as Congress, and in the

last several years, in personal speeches to every new National Park

Service Ranger. Clearly, what you all do as law enforcement rangers of

the department carries significant risk, And we acknowledge and thank

each and everyone of you for what you do everyday. Many citizens and

employees working with the department don't really recognize what you

do. Our bureau's unique missions includes strong partnerships with other

agencies, like the Department of Homeland Security, the United States

Border Patrol, with the department and Border Patrol officers work side

by side in protecting our nation's borders. We often hear about National

Park Service Rangers and US Park Police officers protecting our national

parks and monuments or the BLM Rangers who are patrolling the open range

in the west. But I also want to recognize a few of the unique programs

that make the department and its law enforcement programs special.

The officers, agents and inspectors of the US Fish and Wildlife Service to

protect our nation's wildlife from Maine to Guam, protecting endangered

species, migratory birds and other wildlife, and work worldwide to stem

the tide of wildlife smuggling and black market trade of our animals and

plants at the risk of its extinction as well as protecting our own

borders and ports of entry from invasive species. The department's law

enforcement and security has built the department's first ever victim

assistance program in providing crisis counseling and guidance to

victims of crime, as well as nationwide training to law enforcement

officials to assist them in helping victims secure counseling and social

services during their most vulnerable times. This program is showing

tremendous success, especially within Indian country. And this year, we

are proud to acknowledge law enforcement officers from several

Department of the Interior offices who have receive awards for their

exemplary efforts in going above and beyond the call of duty in

assisting victims. This year, each of our bureau law enforcement

programs have stepped forward to assist the Bureau of Indian Affairs as

was mentioned earlier, under Pres. Obama's and Secretary Salazar's high

priority performance goal of safe Indian communities. Law enforcement

officers from each of our bureaus, along with our partner USDA and the

Forest Service are assisting with community policing at three of the

Bureau of Indian Affairs' travel agencies. I know that sending officers

away from their regular jobs to assist in the busiest time of the year,

is a hardship for the bureaus and I join the Indian communities for

personally thanking you for this incredible collective show of support

and partnership.

[Applause]

I am truly proud to see so many law

enforcement officers in the audience today. I am proud to know that you

represent the Department of the Interior. I am proud of the unbelievable

contributions of the 134 law enforcement officers who have died in the

line of duty. They will always be heroes to all of us having given their

lives to the service of the department and to the nation.

Thank you so much.

[Applause]

Officer Sal Lauro:
 Thank you, Assistant Secretary Suh,

for those inspiring words. Now, to honor those fallen heroes in the

Department of the Interior. Each bureau will place a wreath by the stage.

 If you, gentlemen, please stand there.

Representing the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Charles Addington, Associate Director of Operations.

Representing the Bureau of Land Management, William Woody, Director of Law enforcement and Security.

Representing the Bureau of Reclamation, Dave Achteberg, Director of Security , Safety and Law Enforcement.

Representing the US Fish and Wildlife Service, both OLE and DRLE, Gary Mowad, Deputy Chief, Office of Law Enforcement.

Representing the National Park Service, Greg Jackson, Deputy Chief of Law Enforcement, Security and Emergency service.

Representing the United States Park Police, William Lynch, Assistant Chief.

 Now, if you would all rise and join me in a moment of silence.

[Taps]

Please, remain standing for the benediction and the retiring of colors.

Monsignor Chris Viola
Monsignor: Let us bow our heads in prayer.

Heavenly Father, as we conclude this annual Department of the

Interior Law Enforcement Officer Memorial,

we once again give you our thanks and our prayers.

We remember all those men and women who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

 And we also pray and remember their families and members, the survivors.

Father, we ask that you continue to give them strength in the time of weakness,

courage in time of fear, and faith in time of doubt.

Help them always to realize that their loved ones will never be forgotten and always be honored.

 And may the Lord now bless us, may he let his face shine upon us,

may he continue to be with us this day and every day.

 In his name, we onceagain pray. .

Amen

[Retiring of the colors]

[Bagpipes wail]

[Native American chant]

Officer Sal Lauro:
 Ladies and gentlemen, that concludes our ceremony.

I want to thank all our participants and I want to especially thank all of you who came

to help us honor our 134 heroes.

Thank you very much.

[Applause]