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Strengthening the Thin Blue Line
May 19, 2017
By U.S. Congressman Raul Labrador

Americans celebrated National Police Week with events across the country honoring those who risk their lives to keep us safe. Almost 23,000 officers have died in the line of duty since 1791, including 66 in Idaho, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

On the 55th anniversary of National Police Week, Idahoans did their part to show their gratitude to the men and women who carry out justice, protect us from harm and keep the peace.

Three officers received the Idaho Medal of Honor for bravery in the line of duty. Elmore County Chief Deputy Sheriff Mike Barclay and Sheriff’s Sergeant Kyle Moore were honored for protecting the public when an armed man attempted to carjack passing motorists.

Coeur d’Alene Police Sergeant Greg Moore received the Medal of Honor posthumously. Moore, a 14-year-veteran of the department, was investigating a series of car burglaries when he stopped a suspect and was tragically shot to death.

Sergeant Moore also was remembered at the Idaho Peace Officers’ Memorial in Meridian as the last Idaho officer to fall in the line of duty. Events included a candlelight vigil and a ceremony honoring officers who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect fellow Idahoans.

The professionalism of five Boise Police officers brought them to Washington, D.C., to receive TOP COPS Awards from the National Association of Police Organizations. Detectives Tim Brady and Coy Bruner and Corporals Denny Carter, Chris Davis and Brek Orton received honorable mentions for their cool-headed handling of a violent suspect. Their bravery is detailed in an Idaho Statesman story.

In recognition of Police Week, the House passed five bills to honor the sacrifice of officers and give them the tools they need to do their jobs.

  * The Thin Blue Line Act adds the killing of any law enforcement officer, firefighter or other first responder as an aggravating factor that can result in imposition of the death penalty in federal prosecutions.
  * The Honoring Hometown Heroes Act amends the U.S. Flag Code to authorize governors to proclaim that the flag be flown at half-staff to honor local police, firefighters and emergency responders.
  * The American Law Enforcement Heroes Act prioritizes the hiring of veterans by jurisdictions receiving federal grants from the COPS hiring program.
  * The Rapid DNA Act directs the FBI to issue standards and procedures for DNA analysis that can process results in as little as 90 minutes, helping quickly identify offenders and exonerate the innocent.
  * The Strengthening State and Local Cyber Crime Fighting Act establishes within the Department of Homeland Security a National Computer Forensics Institute to train local and state law enforcement, prosecutors and judges regarding cyber crimes.

All too often we forget the daily sacrifice of those who have our backs 24/7. Police Week is a welcome opportunity for all Americans to express their gratitude and support to those who protect and serve.
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