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Senator Toomey: In Appreciation of Our Law Enforcement Officers

January 9, 2019
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Washington, D.C. - Today, on National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) reflected on the immeasurable sacrifice police officers and their families make to keep our communities safe.

You can read Senator Toomey's column at LancasterOnline.com and below.

In Appreciation of Our Law Enforcement Officers
LancasterOnline
By Senator Pat Toomey
January 9, 2018

Last week, Philadelphia Highway Patrol Officer Andy Chan was on duty in Northeast Philadelphia when a minivan attempting to enter traffic crashed into his motorcycle. The collision threw Officer Chan 25 feet - resulting in emergency brain surgery. He remains in critical condition and is under constant medical observation for brain swelling.

Less than a year ago, our state mourned the loss of Deputy U.S. Marshal Christopher Hill. Working as part of the U.S. Fugitive Task Force, Marshal Hill was serving a search warrant at a house in Harrisburg for an individual who was charged with carrying a firearm without a license and making terroristic threats. After waiting a period of time with no response from the building's occupants, the task force entered the home to arrest the suspect. Once inside, the task force came under fire. The law enforcement officers returned fire in self-defense, but Marshal Hill was killed during the exchange.

In Pittsburgh, the heartbreak of Tree of Life Synagogue remains evident throughout the city. Eleven people were heinously slaughtered in a hate-fueled attack last October. Another seven people, including Pittsburgh Police Officers Daniel Mead, Michael Smidga, Anthony Burke, and Timothy Matson, were wounded. If it had not been for the brave work of Officers Mead, Smidga, Burke, Matson, and their colleagues with the Pittsburgh Police Department and the Allegheny County SWAT unit, the carnage likely would have been worse.

These are just three Pennsylvania-based examples over the past year where law enforcement officers lost or nearly lost their lives in the line of duty. During the same time period, on thousands of occasions, law enforcement officers throughout the country placed themselves in harm's way to serve and protect the communities they call home.

Pennsylvania's 25,000 law enforcement officers represent the very best of our commonwealth. Their sense of service means they miss out on holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays with loved ones. It also means that they run towards danger and chaos while others seek safety and shelter.

Unfortunately, we've seen a movement in recent years that falsely maligns law enforcement officers. Some protesters have gone so far as to openly chant threats against police while some opportunists use anti-police protests to damage property and harass law-abiding citizens.

Every American has the right to peacefully protest. And when police officers break the law, they should be held accountable. But protesters cross a line when they endorse violence against anyone - whether it be law enforcement officers, political opponents, or other protestors. The outrageous statements made by some protesters must be demoralizing to law enforcement across the country - the vast majority of whom are hardworking public servants. My message to our law enforcement is this: these protesters do not speak for America, which stands by you.

Jan. 9 is Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. On this day, take a moment to reflect on the immeasurable sacrifice police officers and their families make every day in order to keep our communities safe. Say a prayer for Philadelphia Highway Patrol Officer Andy Chan and other officers like him who are recovering from injuries. Visit memorials that honor the lives of brave officers that are killed in the line, like U.S. Marshal Christopher Hill. And thank officers, like those in Pittsburgh, who don't hesitate to put themselves between us and peril every day.