FLEOA Mourns Loss of American Heroes

In January, four members of the USMS Regional Task Force were tragically killed after being ambushed in two separate incidents in Florida. The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association's (FLEOA) heartfelt condolences go out to the family members of the fallen heroes, and our thoughts and prayers are with our DUSM member who was shot during one of the violent attacks. All of these heroes should be applauded and honored for their willingness to confront lethal risk, irrespective of the outcome. While others would have retreated from the prospect of harm, these heroes stepped forwarded in an attempt to apprehend violent felons. As a result of their heroism, two murderous offenders will no longer be able to inflict harm on the American public. While we pray for a speedy recovery for our heroic DUSM member, FLEOA stands ready to honor the ultimate sacrifice of our fallen heroes during the annual Candlelight Vigil at the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial in Washington, DC.

As Americans still try to make sense of the tragic Tucson shooting, law enforcement officers across the nation remain willing to put themselves in harm’s way. Law enforcement officer’s willingness to embrace deadly risk is a reminder that our civilized democracy is built on the platform of law and order. Liberties are preserved, and freedoms are protected, because brave men and women are willing to confront, capture and contain violent offenders. How does our country assess the true value of such unwavering courage?

While the new Congress continues to focus on debt reduction by downsizing the government workforce and reducing government workers' pay and benefits, it's time to pause. The question for Congress to consider is not just "where do we cut," but "what are our budgeting priorities." Law enforcement should fall into the priority column.

According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, violence committed against law enforcement officers rose dramatically in 2010. 2011 is also off to a perilous start with too many heroes in hospital beds or worse. Therefore, FLEOA believes it is unwise to cut law enforcement budgets.

Senator DeMint stated, "Congress must take the steps now to balance the budget, pay off our debt and preserve freedom for future generations."

FLEOA agrees, but America cannot "preserve freedom for future generations" without well equipped, well-funded law enforcement components. Good intentions don't preserve freedom; law enforcement officers do. If the plaque of attrition inflicts the federal law enforcement ranks, the consequences will be dire. There is no attrition among violent criminals, and their resources are not being cut.

Every day thousands of federal law enforcement officers stand ready to protect government officials, buildings, ports, borders (both land and cyber), air space and travel and the greater American public through their dedication to public service. These law enforcement professionals willingly, and with unrelenting honor, enter a line of work that requires them to run towards danger while others flee. All federal law enforcement officers contribute to our homeland security, irrespective of their agency. Whether it's working on the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, pursuing violent fugitives, enforcing immigration laws, investigating white collar fraud or corruption, patrolling and protecting national parks, water and air travel, protecting our mail system, dismantling large drug trafficking organizations or dealing with violent offenders, federal law enforcement officers are the engine that powers our freedom.

FLEOA asks that Congress consider the ramifications of reducing the pay and benefits of federal law enforcement, as well as freezing agency budgets. Additionally, FLEOA believes that downsizing federal law enforcement components will amount to a degradation of U.S. homeland defenses. To preserve freedom for future generations, FLEOA asks Congress to commit to those who will provide it.