Although we are only a little more than a month into 2019, statistics from the Officer Down Memorial Page indicate that across the nation 15 police officers have already been killed in the line of duty. One officer death is too many. Fifteen is an outrage!
These same statistics indicate that in 2018 a total of 150 police officers lost their lives in the line of duty. The number reaches a staggering total of 811 for the past five years. Few words are more heart wrenching than “officer down.” This violence against police officers must stop.
Brave members of the law enforcement community put their lives on the line every day to make our neighborhoods safer. They do this selflessly, not for the money, fanfare, or recognition, but because of a desire and commitment to serve their communities. They are the foundation of our cities and towns, making sacrifices 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to ensure the safety of their families, friends and complete strangers. They should never have to sacrifice their lives. They are our first call when we need help…and, that call should never be their last.
In February 2017, just weeks after taking office, President Trump issued an executive order calling on the Department of Justice to back our men and women in blue. This is exactly what our office has done and will continue to do. As United States Attorney in the Eastern District of Tennessee, I am personally committed to working in partnership with state and local law enforcement to develop strategies that work in our communities and make the streets safer for everyone, including law enforcement. Our office will continue to ensure that our laws are enforced and the public is safe.
The considerable number of law enforcement officers injured or killed across the nation in the line of duty over these past few weeks should be a reminder to us all of the hundreds of thousands of men and women in this country who put themselves in harm’s way each day. They, as well as their families, deserve our heartfelt thanks for a job well done.
While we should always surround our law enforcement community with respect and appreciation, this is especially important during the time of these senseless deaths. I challenge each of you in the coming days to make a point simply to stop and say “thank you” to an officer for doing his or her job to keep us, our families and our communities a safer place to live.
J. Douglas Overbey
United States Attorney
Eastern District of Tennessee