Remarks as prepared for delivery:
Thank you, Director Clark, for those kind words and for, once again, inviting me to participate in this awards ceremony. It’s a pleasure to join you and to salute the excellent work of the deputies being honored today.
For more than two centuries, the U.S. Marshals have been “First for Justice.” Every day, across the country, you serve as the first line of defense in ensuring the safety of the judiciary and protecting the judicial process; your work strengthens our nation’s security as well as the security of our communities. Whether you’re apprehending fugitives, enforcing the Adam Walsh Act, protecting witnesses, or transporting prisoners, you’re supporting the Justice Department’s #1 mission: to protect the safety of the American people. I know how difficult this work can be. I also understand how important it is. During a career spent as a Superior Court judge, U.S. Attorney, Deputy Attorney General, and now as the Attorney General, I’ve worked alongside the fine men and women of the U.S. Marshals Service. Be assured that your contributions are felt across the entire Justice Department – and far beyond.
Today, it’s my privilege to commend your work. And I’m especially grateful for this opportunity to acknowledge – and personally thank – the heroic men and women we’ve gathered to honor. This year’s award recipients have stood out, and their service embodies the Justice Department’s – and the country’s – highest ideals. I’m delighted to congratulate them, and I’m pleased that so many of their colleagues, friends, and family members have joined us for this special occasion.
This has been quite a year for the U.S. Marshals. Your work has enhanced one of our nation’s oldest, and most impressive, traditions of service. You’ve assessed potential security threats and planned and provided security for terrorist detainee trials. You’ve ensured the safety of health care providers and enforced the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. You’ve seized and managed the assets of Bernard Madoff, Allen Stanford and others engaged in financial fraud. And then you’ve sold off those properties to benefit the victims of their crimes. And, while this year has been distinguished by extraordinary achievements, it’s also been marked by great tragedy.
Today, as we celebrate your commitment to the cause of justice, we also remember our colleague, Court Security Officer Stanley Cooper – a hero who lived for, and ultimately died for, this cause. Stanley was killed this past January, as he joined other CSOs, deputies, and detention enforcement officers in defending the Lloyd George U.S. Courthouse in Las Vegas against a gunman intent on taking lives. We’ll never know how many people he saved that winter morning, but we’ll never forget the courage he showed that day – and throughout his career. Stanley spent more than four decades in law enforcement – both as a distinguished police officer in Tulsa and Las Vegas for 30 years, and then, since 1994, helping to protect the federal courts. He found great purpose in his work, just as he found tremendous joy in his family, his horses, a good doughnut, and a difficult crossword puzzle.
At 72, Stanley was often asked why he chose to put his life on the line every day rather than retire. He’d reply, simply, that he was a “lawman.” As we honor this commitment, and his many contributions, I’m so grateful that Stanley’s family is here to share in this moment. Marty, Daniella, Rick, Brendan and Eva, you are, and always will be, part of our Justice Department family. Know that Stanley’s quiet, steadfast example of service – as well as his sacrifice – will continue to guide and inspire our work for years to come.
Today, I believe this work has never been more critical. Our Department is facing new demands, and our nation is confronting unprecedented challenges. But, as I look around this room and consider all that you’ve accomplished over the last year, I can’t help but feel hopeful about what we can achieve in the days ahead. Going forward, I will be counting on the talents and commitment of our Marshals Service. The American people will be counting on you, too.
Thank you all for your great work. And to each of our awardees, congratulations on a job well done and very much appreciated.