Mr. Speaker, police officers are the barrier between good and evil. They do society's dirty work. They are the fence between the law and the lawless. These men and women in uniform are our Nation's peace officers. Every day, peace officers rush into chaos and toward crime that everyone else is running away from. And every day, these officers risk their lives for the rest of us.
When New York Police Officer Brian Moore set out for patrol on Saturday, May 2, he did not know that would be his last day on patrol. Officer Moore and fellow Officer Erik Jansen were driving in Queens, New York, that evening when they saw someone who was obviously suspicious, so they did what they should do. They went up to that individual to check out what was going on.
Officer Moore drove up behind the suspicious individual and asked him this question: ``Do you have something in your waist?'' Allegedly, the callous criminal, Mr. Speaker, coldly replied: ``Yeah, I've got something in my pocket,'' and he pulled out a gun and fired three shots into Officer Moore's patrol car, killing Officer Moore. The soulless criminal then fled in the darkness of the night.
Officer Moore was rushed to the hospital, where he spent 2 days before he died. He was 25 years of age when he was killed. He was young, bright, and committed to the badge that he wore over his heart.
In his short career, Officer Moore received two exceptional police service commendations. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton of the New York Police Department noted, ``They don't give those medals out easily. He worked very hard for those.'' Officer Moore earned those two medals in less than 5 years. He was an exceptional police officer, even at a very young age.
Being a peace officer wasn't a job for Officer Moore; it was a cause. It was in his blood. He was the son, nephew, and cousin of New York police officers, and the job had deep roots in the Moore family. Officer Moore lived with his father, a retired police officer. He was meant for the uniform, and he was killed because of the uniform. It is an absolute tragedy that his young life was stolen from not only his family, but the police department and the community that he honorably served and protected.
Last Monday, as Officer Moore's body was transferred from a Queens hospital, the ambulance drove by a thin blue line of peace officers who stood in silent salute, paying their respects to Officer Moore.
Peace officers, Mr. Speaker, are the first to respond to the call for help when someone is in trouble. That is who they call. The police are the first and last line of defense between criminals and citizens. And it is somewhat ironic, Mr. Speaker, that our society counts on police officers to protect their communities, to protect their property, and restore order, yet they are targeted and criticized when they try to do their job to protect the rest of us.
We thank the peace officers who, in spite of this, continue to protect and serve neighborhoods. As long as criminals are on our streets and in our neighborhoods refusing to follow society's law, peace officers are absolutely necessary.
As a country, we should mourn the loss of all those in law enforcement who devote their life's work to restoring order in our community. Since Officer Moore's murder on May 2, two other peace officers were murdered in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
Mr. Speaker, this week is National Police Week . This Friday, right here on the west side of the Capitol, the families of 126 peace officers killed in the line of duty last year, as well as the families of those from previous years, will gather. They will be surrounded by thousands of peace officers from all over the country and by citizens showing their respect during National Police Week .
Of the 126 killed last year, which is a 24 percent increase from the previous year, 11 of those who were killed were from Texas. And here is the rollcall of the fallen:
Mark Uland Kelley of the Trinity University Police Department.
Detective Charles Dinwiddie of the Killeen Police Department.
Sergeant Paul A. Buckles of the Potter County Sheriff's Office.
Chief of Police Lee Dixon of the Little River-Academy Police Department.
Chief of Police Michael Pimentel of the Elmendorf Police Department.
Border Patrol Agent Tyler R. Robledo.
Senior Deputy Jessica Laura Hollis of the Travis County Sheriff's Office.
Sergeant Michael Lee Naylor of the Midland County Sheriff's Office.
Deputy Sheriff Jesse Valdez, III, of the Harris County Sheriff's Office.
Constable Robert Parker White of the El Paso County Constable's Office.
Sergeant Alejandro ``Alex'' Martinez of the Willacy County Sheriff's Office.
Mr. Speaker, all of these officers died because they were wearing the badge. As a former prosecutor and a former judge, I have known a lot of police officers. I have known some who have been killed in the line of duty. They, like Officer Moore, represent the best of America.
This week , other police officers throughout the country will be wearing the black cloth of sacrifice over their badge or their star, showing respect for those who have fallen in the line of duty in this country.
So we thank the families of the fallen. We thank the fallen for what they have done. We thank all of those who still protect and serve America. They are the best we have.
And that is just the way it is.