I am honored beyond expression to serve as your Attorney General – and feel daily the weight of my responsibilities.
After over 16 years in law enforcement, I know what your work is all about. I know what you do; I know that without your courage, steadfastness and sense of duty, the job would not be done.
And we all know that in the performance of that duty, we love the lives of fine law officers.
What is that job – that profession you’ve given your life to?
It is to place your badge, your skills, and even your lives between the righteous and dutiful Americans and the predators that threaten them.
This is tough work as well as moral and noble work, and it is essential.
It is crystal clear that law, respected, honored and enforced, is the crowning glory of our country.
I do not only speak of our courts, but primarily tonight of those in blue who walk our streets, interacting daily with real victims and real criminals. That’s where justice must be done.
President Trump has repeatedly said he is the law and order President and the first order he gave to me on my first day was to back the women and men in blue.
You can be sure that is the polestar of our efforts.
And you can be sure that this Department of Justice recognizes and honors the courage, skill and professionalism of our law enforcement officers.
For over 30 years, with strong leadership, better training and policies, and improved education, crime went down in America. The homicide rate fell by half. Thousands of lives were preserved. Law enforcement led the way.
But it seems we forgotten some of the proven principles of law enforcement.
State and federal prisons were reduced, the number of law enforcement officers declined and crime began to rise again.
Crime is a direct threat to freedom, to public safety and to economic prosperity.
No factory, no modern grocery store, or pharmacy can operate where there is no public safety.
And there is no doubt that the destruction from rising crime falls earliest and hardest on the poor and our minority citizens.
We value and affirm all our citizens and must make all communities safe.
We can never cede a community, block or street corner to the criminal element. We can never capitulate to lawlessness at our borders.
To do so is to give our very sovereignty to outlaws. Law is more than an abstraction. Law must be made real.
That means those who destroy, abuse and maim must be stopped. Victim rights must be vindicated.
That means we must support and honor those who protect us.
And it is fitting and right that we join together annually as a nation to remember those that have given their all for us.
I am reminded of the sacrifice of these wonderful American law enforcement officers every time I sign a letter to the families of every officer that has lost their life in the line of duty.
And I believe it is one of my highest callings to bring attention to your successes and encourage your fellow citizens to support you in your demanding and difficult work.
So tonight, we remember our fallen heroes; we mourn their loss; and we rededicate our lives to preserving, protecting and defending our principles of ordered and constitutional liberty that serve us so well, uniquely among all the world.
As long as I am Attorney General, the Department of Justice will have the back of all honest and honorable law enforcement officers.
May God bless the souls of all those we honor tonight. May God bless each of you. And may God bless this wonderful country of yours.