Justice News

Remarks by Attorney General Eric Holder at the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys Director’s Awards Ceremony
Washington, DC
United States
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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

 

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

 

Thank you, Monty [Wilkinson], not only for your kind words – but also for your outstanding leadership of the Executive Office for United States Attorneys.

I’d also like to recognize the members of the EOUSA team who have worked so hard to bring us together today. And I want to extend a special welcome to the many proud family members, friends, and colleagues who have taken the time to be here – and who share in each of the recognitions we are about to bestow.

Now, Monty, I know this marks your very first Awards Ceremony as EOUSA Director. But, like Marshall before you, I’ve already been impressed by your ability to demand – and to inspire – excellence from your colleagues. And I want to thank you for including me, once again, in this important ceremony.

Each year, the dedicated men and women before me oversee – and help to advance – some of the Justice Department’s most important achievements. The past year was no exception.

As a former United States Attorney here in Washington, I know – from experience – what a critical role you play in all 94 U.S. Attorney’s offices across the country. In a real sense, you stand on the front lines of the American justice system. And your work lies at the core of this great institution’s daily mission.

Locally, nationally, and internationally, you represent the very best that this Department has to offer. Your work embodies our ongoing commitment – not merely to win cases, but to do justice; to protect our fellow citizens from crime, violence, and terrorism; to empower the most vulnerable among us; and to uphold the rule of law. And that’s why, today, I am proud to help honor these 243 dedicated public servants who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to define 2013 as a year of lasting achievement.

Over the past year, your work has helped to safeguard the civil rights of those victimized simply because of who they are; to hold dangerous criminals to account; and to strengthen our fight against gun-, gang-, and drug-fueled crime. Despite new challenges – and a wide range of evolving threats – you’ve enabled the Department to make remarkable progress in combating financial fraud, preventing cybercrime, and disrupting terrorist activity.

In addition to the record of success you’ve helped to achieve in courtrooms nationwide, you have also helped the Department to implement cutting-edge public safety solutions and incorporate new technologies into our work. And perhaps most importantly, in communities across the country, you have led our efforts to implement evidence-based reforms and proven innovations under the Smart on Crime initiative – working tirelessly alongside our law enforcement partners to ensure that every American has adequate access to, and the full protection of, our justice system.

Of course, you’ve done all of this – and more – while adhering to the highest standards of professionalism, and in spite of budgetary challenges including last year’s government shutdown. So today, I want you to know just how grateful – and how proud – I am to count each of you as a colleague. And I consider it a great privilege to join Monty in presenting you with these prestigious awards.

This morning, we honor career executives and supervisors who have spent decades not only fighting crime, but also building a culture of integrity and achievement that has set a high bar for offices nationwide.

We recognize AUSAs who have coordinated investigations in communities across, and far beyond, the country – from remote tribal reservations, to the streets of New York City – following evidence trails that have led through Denmark, India, and Iraq; uncovering matters of unprecedented scope and complexity; and prosecuting cases ranging from organized crime, to gun violence, to public corruption, to bid-rigging.

We also celebrate the litigation teams whose relentless efforts to advance complex investigations have uncovered hundreds of millions of dollars in financial fraud, helped to convict scores of notorious criminals, and recovered millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars.

We honor the achievements of administrators and support teams whose work has been absolutely essential to maintaining effective and respectful office environments, implementing new technologies and strategies, and helping to build a workforce as diverse as the great nation we serve.

And we salute the contributions – and mark the profound sacrifices – of our brave men and women in law enforcement. These extraordinary individuals risk their lives to protect their fellow citizens and bring criminals to justice – serving with distinction, with integrity, and with uncommon valor. All too often – in the service of their country, and by virtue of the oaths they have sworn – some are called to make the ultimate sacrifice. And one of these fallen heroes, Alaska State Trooper Scott Johnson, is among the award recipients we recognize this morning.

We are both honored and humbled to be joined today by Trooper Johnson’s widow, Brandy, who traveled from Alaska to be here with us. Our nation owes Brandy, her husband, and every member of their family a debt of gratitude that we can never hope to repay. But what we can do, what we must do, and what we pledge to do – all of us, here and now – is to carry on the work for which Trooper Johnson gave his life; to lift up his story, so it can guide and inspire generations to come; and to do everything in our power to ensure that anyone who commits an act of violence against a law enforcement officer is found, caught, and brought to justice.

This morning, we affirm that all of the contributions made by our awardees over the past year have been vitally important – to the Department, to our nation, and to me. I recognize that few of them have come easily, either for you or your families. But – because of you – we gather today in celebration of tremendous progress.

Because of you, our nation’s Department of Justice has extended its long tradition of excellence. Because of you, our country’s security has been strengthened, dangerous criminals have been put behind bars, and ill-gotten financial gains are flowing back into the treasury. And because of you, our communities are safer, our streets are more secure, and our Union is stronger than ever before.

So, on behalf of the citizens we serve, and the countless employees you’ve inspired and assisted this year, I’d like to thank – and congratulate – each of today’s awardees. You have made a positive and lasting impact on the Department, and on the lives of countless Americans. And I am grateful – and very proud – to count each of you as a colleague and a partner.

Congratulations once again. Thank you for a job well done. And please keep up the great work.

Updated August 18, 2015