U.S. Attorney Letter to the Editor -- National Police Week and Peace Officers Memorial Day
United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith sent the following letter to area newspapers in commemoration of National Police Week and Peace Officers Memorial Day:
To the Editor:
This is National Police Week, as first designated by Congress for 1962 in recognition of “the contribution the police officers of America have made to our civilization through their dedicated and selfless efforts in enforcing the laws of our cities, counties, and States and of the United States, regardless of the peril or hazard to themselves.” Today is Peace Officers Memorial Day, honoring those who lost their lives in the line of duty. Sadly, the first such loss in the United States reportedly occurred in what is now the Northern District of New York in 1791, when Constable Darius Quimby was shot and killed in Albany County while attempting to arrest a man on a warrant. Since then, heroic officers murdered in the Northern District have included some whose assailants were convicted in federal court, such as Syracuse Police Detective and federal Task Force Officer Wallie Howard, Jr., killed while working undercover in a drug investigation in 1990, and New Hartford Police Officer Joseph Corr, killed in 2006 while pursuing men who had robbed a jewelry store.
The annual FBI report released last week reflected a national total of 93 officers killed in the line of duty last year, including New York State Police Trooper Joel Davis, killed in Jefferson County last July. Next year’s report will include Whitesboro Police Officer Kevin Crossley, killed in Oneida County last month while responding to a call. Each name emphasizes that one death is too many, and that point has been underscored by the Presidential Executive Order on “Preventing Violence Against Federal, State, Tribal, and Local Law Enforcement Officers” and Attorney General Sessions’ focus on enhancing law enforcement safety and reducing violent crime. With reverence for all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, the United States Attorney’s Office is committed to combating crimes of violence, and the drug, gun, and gang offenses that fuel them, and preserving public and police safety.
The rule of law is the cornerstone of our republic. It is how our constitutional rights and freedoms are guaranteed, and how we resolve disputes, preserve public safety, and secure justice based on fairness and reason. Our system works because of the dedication, courage, and integrity of law enforcement officers who risk their lives to help people – all people – and confront danger so the rest of us can stay safe. Night and day, on weekends and holidays, in good weather and bad, throughout the 30,000 square miles of the Northern District, there are local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement officers on the job protecting our families, friends, communities, and countryside.
As law enforcement at all levels collaborates to curtail violent crime, the cooperation of the public is a key component of community resilience and neighborhood safety. On this Peace Officers Memorial Day, that is a fitting tribute to our fallen heroes and an effective expression of gratitude for those who continue to protect and serve.
Grant C. Jaquith
United States Attorney
Northern District of New York