Mr. POE. Madam Speaker, ``The police are the public and the public are police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.'' These words spoken by Sir Robert Peel, founder of the Metropolitan Police Force in London, describe the obligation and dedication required to be a law enforcement officer in society.

Peace officers are the last strand of wire in the fence between the law and the lawless. They are all that stands between order and chaos. They are all that stands between the people and the outlaws. Peace officers are the rare breeds--the noble breed that wear the badge of Duty, Honor, Courage, and Service. Larry Welch is one of these Peace Officers.

For 46 years, Larry Welch has served his country and the citizens of the State of Kansas as a law enforcement officer. As a child, Larry knew that he wanted to be a law enforcement officer--specifically an Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI. While most kids in high school were thinking of football games and school dances and the coming college years, Larry was writing to the FBI, inquiring about becoming a Special Agent. After obtaining his bachelor's degree from the University of Kansas in 1958 and his Juris Doctorate in 1961, Larry graduated the FBI Academy and became a Special Agent in 1961.

For the next 25 years, Larry served as a dedicated FBI Agent, a career that spanned eight cities and Puerto Rico. He investigated and served the Bureau in a variety of positions, including serving on the protective detail of U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy, shortly after President Kennedy was assassinated. Larry also had the experience of serving in a supervisory position with the FBI, including director of FBI operations in Kansas.

In 1986, Larry left the FBI to become the Associate Director of the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center in Huntchinson, KS. The Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center serves as the headquarters for all law enforcement training in Kansas. By 1989, Larry was promoted to the Director of the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center and was responsible for the certification of all law enforcement officers within the State of Kansas--an incredible responsibility.

But Larry still had his eye on a position with an organization that he had strived to become a member of for over 30 years. Before Larry was hired as an FBI Agent, he had applied to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, KBI. The KBI is the statewide law enforcement organization that provides investigative and laboratory services to criminal justice professionals across the State. A position with KBI appealed to Larry, so a family friend and mentor tried to pull some strings to get him hired; but, KBI refused to waive the 7 years of law enforcement experience requirement and instead Larry joined the FBI. This time, however, KBI was not saying no to Larry Welch and in 1994, he was hired as the 10th Director in the history of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

Under Larry's leadership, KBI flourished as one of the premiere law enforcement agencies in the State. During his tenure, KBI increased the number of forensic laboratories throughout the State. KBI's forensic laboratory achieved national accreditation, on its first try, from the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors--the first State crime laboratory to do so. Larry's KBI also assisted the Wichita Police Department in solving the Bind, Torture, Kill, BTK, murders in 2004. He has expanded KBI's investigative focus on computer crimes, such as identity theft and child pornography, as well as the rapid growth of the methamphetamine epidemic across Kansas.

I have had the privilege of calling Larry Welch my good friend for so many years. As a former Judge in Texas for 22 years, I have always been impressed by Larry's dedication to the people of our Nation and upholding the tradition of public service. His integrity is above reproach and his competence is extraordinary.

For Larry Welch, being a lawman was his life's calling, and after 46 years, this dedicated and well-respected law enforcement official is hanging up the badge that he has so proudly worn. The citizens and the State of Kansas are fortunate to have his service. In life, there are not many individuals who have the drive or dedication to a career that Larry has had. He is truly one of a kind, and I am honored to pay him this tribute today.

And That's Just The Way It Is.