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Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General Marshall Miller Delivers Remarks at the Federal Bureau of Prisons Correctional Workers’ Memorial Service


Washington, DC
United States

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

Thank you, Director Peters, for that kind welcome and introduction — and thank you for your steadfast and inspiring leadership of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

I’m very honored to be here today on behalf of the United States Department of Justice.

I’m honored to join so many brave officers, dedicated staff, family, and friends as we mark this year’s National Correctional Workers’ Week.

And I bring with me warm greetings from Attorney General Merrick Garland and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco.

We gather at this solemn event to honor the correctional officers and employees who serve this country so well, including the approximately 35,000 employees of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

And we gather to remember the service, dedication, and sacrifice of those we have lost in the line of duty.

So, it is altogether fitting that we gather here — at the National Law Enforcement Memorial — a hallowed ground that commemorates those who have served and sacrificed to protect the safety of our nation and our communities.

As many of you know, from personal experience, the work of a correctional officer is unlike any other job.

Every day, correctional workers enter unpredictable and potentially dangerous environments.

They have to be on guard to protect themselves and others.

And as they do that, they share a common objective: to create safe and humane conditions for those in confinement and to help them re-enter society and become productive community members.

Correctional work is critical to the mission of the Department of Justice: to uphold the rule of law, to keep our country safe, and to protect our civil rights.

Yet all too often, for their efforts, correctional workers receive insufficient recognition and inadequate appreciation.

Theirs is a noble calling. But the stresses and the burdens of their mission are immense.

At its heart, correctional work is an extraordinary act of both service and sacrifice.

All of you here have borne witness to that service and sacrifice. You’ve witnessed your loved ones and colleagues grapple with difficult decisions and situations.

You’ve witnessed them come home after a shift, drained from the weight and responsibility of their work.

And hopefully, you’ve also witnessed the many good days — when they protected a colleague or made a positive difference for someone in custody.

Our nation is safer because of their work.

Today, we salute all correctional officers and other corrections professionals.

And we remember all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to serve and protect our communities.

I want to pay special tribute today to the four law enforcement officers — including two North Carolina corrections professionals — who were killed last week in Charlotte simply for doing their jobs, serving on a fugitive task force protecting our communities.

Each of those officers provided the ultimate public service and paid the ultimate price, laying down their lives for all of us.

Yesterday, I traveled to North Carolina to attend the memorial service for one of those brave, departed officers: Deputy U.S. Marshal Tommy Weeks.

I was struck by the strength and faith of his family and his colleagues and his loved ones who — in the midst of such profound pain and grief and loss — projected a powerful commitment to our nation and to the principles that animated Tommy’s service: fairness, community, security, and the rule of law.

My thoughts and prayers — the Department’s thoughts and prayers — are with Tommy’s family and all the families who lost loved ones last week in Charlotte — as our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have lost loved ones in the line of duty across America, including so many here today.

I woke up this morning also thinking of two brave special agents I worked with when I was a line prosecutor back in New York — Special Agent Leonard Hatton of the FBI and Special Agent John Capano of the ATF, who also gave their lives in the line of duty.

After their End of Watch, their memory lives on. It lives on in all of you — in their families — and in the brave women and men who served alongside them.

We are deeply grateful for their service.

We are deeply grateful for their bravery.

And we are deeply grateful to you — loved ones and colleagues who supported them as protectors of our communities.

I wish peace to everyone here who mourns their loss today and every day.

And know this: you are not alone. No, you are part of an extended Department of Justice family — an extended law enforcement family — who celebrates our public servants and venerates our lost heroes.

Their service is eternal.

Thank you.

Updated May 7, 2024