Victims' Rights Caucus



Thank you, Madam Speaker. It has been said that we sleep safe in our beds because bold men and women stand ready in the night to visit justice on those who would try to do us harm.

Madam Speaker, those bold men and women are those people throughout America that wear the uniform of a peace officer, a law enforcement officer that wears the badge on their chest to represent that symbol, to protect the community from those evildoers.

Each year, 50,000 police officers are assaulted in the United States. Let me repeat. Fifty thousand peace officers in the United States are assaulted by somebody.

On May 17, 1792, New York City's Deputy Sheriff Isaac Smith became the first recorded police officer to be killed in the line of duty. Since then, Madam Speaker, 18,340 police officers have been killed while on duty protecting the rest of us.

In 1961, Congress created Peace Officers Memorial Day and designated it to be commemorated each year on May 15, which is tomorrow. I am proud to be the sponsor of this year's resolution that passed this House unanimously in February.

Every year the President issues a proclamation naming May 15 National Peace Officers Memorial Day. A quote by President George H.W. Bush is engraved on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial located in Washington, D.C., that summarized the mission of the 900,000 current sworn law enforcement officers in the United States.

Here's what it says, Madam Speaker: ``It is an officer's continuing quest to preserve both democracy and decency and to protect a national treasure that we call the American dream.'' That is the mission statement of peace officers in this country, those who wear the American uniform.

Tomorrow, Madam Speaker, on the other side of the Capitol, on the west side of the Capitol, 140 families will be assembled together. They will be surrounded by thousands of other people. Most of those people will be peace officers from somewhere in the United States, wearing their uniforms, standing at attention to honor those 140 families who lost a loved one last year in the line of duty because 140 peace officers of the United States law enforcement community were killed last year in the line of duty. Ten percent of those, 14, were from my home State of Texas.

The names of those 14, Madam Speaker, are:

Deputy Constable David Joubert. He worked for the Harris County Constable's Office, Precinct 7 in Houston, Texas.

Police Officer Matthew B. Thebeau, Corpus Christi Police Department.

Corporal Harry Thielepape, Harris County Constable's Office, Precinct 6, in Houston, Texas.

Senior Corporal Victor A. Lozada Sr., Dallas Police Department.

Trooper James Scott Burns of the Texas Department of Public Safety, working for the Highway Patrol in Texas.

Police Officer Everett William Dennis, Carthage Police Department in Texas.

Sergeant Barbara Jean Shumate who worked for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

A personal friend of mine, Police Officer Gary Gryder who worked for the Houston Police Department.

Another personal friend of mine, Detective Tommy Keen of the Harris County Sheriff's Department. I knew him 25 years ago whe