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U.S. Attorney says top-notch training absolutely critical after two record years of law-enforcement fatalities

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – United States Attorney Booth Goodwin today delivered opening remarks to 150 West Virginia law enforcement officers during the Preventing Violence Against Law Enforcement and Ensuring Officer Resilience and Survivability (VALOR) training conference held at the Charleston Town Center Marriott Hotel.  VALOR is a Department of Justice initiative that offers a variety of resources to law enforcement officers, including technical assistance, data on emerging threats, and tactical training to help assess and confront high-risk situations like ambush-style assaults.

“The VALOR training program has been recognized by many professionals in the law enforcement community as one of the country’s top training seminars and I’m pleased to co-host such a significant event here in the Southern District,” said Goodwin.

As part of the U.S. Attorney General’s Officer Safety Initiative, VALOR was created to respond to a nationwide increase in assaults that have taken the lives of law enforcement officers.  In both 2010 and 2011, record numbers of American law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty.  Last year, according to statistics maintained by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, a total of 177 federal, state, and local law enforcement officers lost their lives in the line of duty – a 16 percent increase over 2010. 

Goodwin noted that one officer casualty in the line of duty is one too many.  “Keeping law enforcement officers safe is paramount.  Each day, our men and women in uniform are faced with extremely dangerous situations.  It is essential that they receive the finest training and cutting-edge technology and resources that we have available,” said Goodwin.  

Wednesday’s VALOR training featured instruction from law enforcement specialists with broad experience in threat assessment.  Conference participants were provided with various techniques and tools to better prepare them for potential violent encounters.  Attendees were also provided with tools to increase their ability to identify concealed weapons, as well as instruction on how to approach high-risk tactical situations that may involve active shooters. 

Goodwin also said that the tragedy that took place in Aurora, Colo., less than a week ago emphasizes the importance of law enforcement training and preparedness.  “Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families of the victims and survivors of the Aurora shooting tragedy.”  Goodwin continued, “When an unspeakable tragedy unfolds, we rely heavily on the skills, decision-making and bravery of our first responders.  That is what makes training courses such as VALOR so important.”

The conference was co-hosted by the United States Attorneys’ Office for the Southern and Northern Districts of West Virginia and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance.  The Regional Organized Crime Information Center and the West Virginia Department of Justice and Community Services also served as co-hosts of the training session.  For more information on the VALOR training initiative, please visit:

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