• Mr. Speaker, when danger occurs, when disaster happens, when 911 is called, it is the first responders who heed the emergencies.
  • While most of us flee danger, the men and women who are the thin blue line head toward danger.
  • They are America's finest.
  • They are the peace officers.
  • Officer Melvin Santiago was just 23 when he was gunned down and assassinated for sport by a fugitive, an outlaw.
  • Santiago was going about his duties as a Jersey City, New Jersey police officer responding to a disturbance at a local drugstore.
  • When he arrived he was shot multiple times before even exiting his patrol car.
  • The name of the cold blooded killer who murdered rookie Jersey City police officer, Melvin Santiago shall not be mentioned.
  • This cowardly murderer thought he would become famous by killing a cop.
  • The gunman was lying in wait to murder a peace officer.
  • The criminal was killed by police.
  • He has gone to meet his Maker.
  • I doubt the meeting will be pleasant.
  • Officer Santiago wanted to fight crime and protect the citizens in the toughest neighborhoods.
  • He wanted to make a difference.
  • The west section of the city was where he thought he could do that best.
  • This was not just a job for Officer Santiago; it was a goal he had worked toward.
  • He excelled in his entrance exam with a score of 98.
  • This first responder wanted to be like his Uncle Frank, a retired detective.
  • Santiago looked up to his uncle and often sought his advice.
  • Officer Santiago graduated from the police academy in December, patrolling the area that he knew he could help turn around, when his life was stolen from him by a worthless criminal.
  • Law enforcement officers are a special kind.
  • They put their lives on the line every single day to ensure the safety of their communities.
  • There aren't many other professions where a person willingly puts themselves at risk on a daily basis in order to protect others.
  • Mr. Speaker, as a former prosecutor and criminal court judge in Texas for over 25 years, I have known a lot of men and women who have worn the badge--the shield--or the star over their heart.
  • These are symbols of their willingness to put our safety above theirs.
  • Unfortunately, I have known and attended funerals of first responders like Santiago who gave their lives in an effort to make our communities safer.
  • We as a society should never forget the true sacrifice first responders and their families make for our nation.
  • Officer Santiago went above and beyond to make his hometown of Jersey City, the state of New Jersey, and his country a better place.
  • Over a thousand officers joined Officer Santiago's family and friends to honor his life and lay him to rest on July 18th, where he was posthumously promoted to detective and given the Jersey City Police Department Medal of Honor.
  • In his short time on the squad, he quickly gained the respect of many.
  • We remember his hard work and commitment to family and community.
  • I commend Detective Melvin Santiago for his service to the people of New Jersey.
  • Our thoughts and prayer are with Jersey City Detective Melvin Santiago's family, the local peace officers, and the community of Jersey City.
  • Peace officers stand between the law and the lawless.
  • Peace officers are the last strand of wire in the fence between the fox and the chickens.
  • Mr. Speaker, peace officers are a rare breed.
  • Melvin Santiago was one of those individuals.
  • General George Patton said it quite appropriately when talking about his young troops killed in battle: While we mourn the loss of these men. We should thank the Good Lord that such men ever lived.
  • And that's just the way it is.