2010 Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Ceremony
May 14, 2010
[Native American chant]
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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. .
[Retiring of the colors]
[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.