President Obama took a moment on Friday to thank the members of our nation’s law enforcement amid ongoing strife between police and communities of color.
During a speech at the National Peace Officers Memorial Service held at the U.S. Capitol at the close of Police Week, President Obama honored the lives of 131 peace officers who have died in the line of duty.
“To all of the families who are here today whose loved ones did not come home at the end of a shift please know how deeply sorry we are for loss that you’ve endured and know how deeply grateful we are for your loved one’s sacrifice,” Obama said Friday.
For a little over 10 minutes, President Obama delivered a measured address to the nation’s law enforcement, acknowledging the danger the nation’s men and women in uniform face every day, while noting the mistrust that exists between police and the communities they serve. That lack of trust has come to bear in recent weeks not only through the riots and protests on the streets of Baltimore, but also with the murders of officers in Mississippi, Queens, and Brooklyn.
Sheriff’s and police officers have even placed some of the blame for the spate of police killings and tensions on Obama. “Obama started this war on police intentionally,” wrote conservative Sheriff David A. Clarke, Jr., in a series of tweets. “Right in line with his community agitating.”
“Your jobs are inherently dangerous. The reminders are too common,” Obama said Friday. “We cannot erase every darkness or danger from the duty that you’ve chosen.We can offer you the support you need to be safer. We can make the communities you care about and protect safer as well.”
Obama rattled off ways that could be done: more resources for officers, confronting poverty, mending relationships between police and community members. He closed by saying, “Most of all we can say thank you. We can say we appreciate you and we’re grateful for the work you do every day.”
After his speech, the President met with families of many fallen officers who were in the gathered crowd.