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Sen. Tuberville: Protecting those who protect us goes beyond National Police Week

Last week was National Police Week. But, if you ask me, one week isn’t nearly enough to sufficiently honor the brave men and women who put their lives on the line every day to serve and protect our communities. I hosted a roundtable discussion with several of my Senate colleagues and law enforcement officials, both from Alabama across the country, to discuss what Congress can do to “back the blue.” 

I listened to first-hand accounts of how Joe Biden’s soft-on-crime agenda has empowered criminals and made it riskier than ever to be a cop. Pam Bondi, former Attorney General of Florida, moderated the roundtable. She shared how one of the most difficult parts of the job was attending the funerals of the men and women killed in the line of duty. She turned to Senator Rick Scott (R-FL), who was Florida Governor when she served as Attorney General, and said, “We’ve been to way too many funerals together, Rick.” 

I heard about the many police officers who hug their spouses every morning not knowing if they will make it safely home that night. Sadly, my home state of Alabama lost three officers in 2023—Huntsville Police Officer Garrett Crumby, Montgomery Policy Officer Carlos Taylor, and Alabama Port Authority police officer Kimberly Sickafoose. I pray that their names will never be forgotten—and am tremendously grateful for their service to our state.

During the roundtable, we discussed many challenges facing the state and local law enforcement community, including rising crime in both urban and rural areas, drug smuggling, consequences of President Biden’s open border policies, and the impact the “Defund the Police” movement has had on law enforcement recruitment and retention. Our officers are overwhelmed, work at peak capacity, and fear retaliation from bad actors who will seize any opportunity to make a cop look bad on the national stage.  

Hoover, Alabama, Chief of Police Nick Derzis, along with Cullman County, Alabama, Sheriff Matt Gentry discussed the need to prioritize federal resources for law enforcement officers, including equipping officers with naloxone to protect officers who are exposed to fentanyl, which occurs on a regular basis. Another panelist, Katherine Robertson, Chief Counsel to Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, talked about the great strides Alabama’s prosecutors have made in locking up the worst offenders. Thanks to the support our law enforcement has received from Governor Kay Ivey, Alabama now touts some of the strictest laws in the country related to human trafficking and drug smuggling. 

From a nationwide perspective, Dean Keuter, former official from Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and Chad Wolf, former Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), described the night and day differences between the border policies under the Trump administration versus the Biden administration. When Wolf served at DHS, the United States enjoyed one of the most secure borders in history. “What we do, or fail to do, directly impacts the safety of our communities,” said Wolf. He also highlighted how public safety threats do not stay at the border as every state has become a border state under Joe Biden.

What people may not realize is that it isn’t just our federal officers along the border who are managing the fallout of the President’s intentional, open-border policies.  It trickles down to our state and locals in every community across the country who, as a direct result, deal with drug and human trafficking, violent crime, and murders every single day.  With all of these challenges facing our law enforcement community, it is no wonder the U.S. has experienced a historic number of retirements—and more difficulty than ever in recruitment.

I will never stop fighting to make sure our law enforcement officers have the resources they need to do their jobs. But that isn’t enough—our officers need to know that we have their backs. Hopefully we get a Commander in Chief in the White House who will actually enforce our laws and support the work our law enforcement officers are doing to keep our country safe. If we do nothing to punish those who break our laws and endanger our communities, we have lost the very nature of this country—a sovereign nation that values and respects the rule of law.

U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville is the senior senator from Alabama and a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans Affairs, and the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) committees.

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