Washington – U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Jon Tester (D-MT) are recognizing National Police Week by introducing the Honoring Hometown Heroes Act to honor first responders who make the ultimate sacrifice.
The Honoring Hometown Heroes Act will amend the U.S. flag code to allow the Governor of a state to order the American flag to be lowered to half-staff in the event that a local first responder dies while serving in the line of duty. Currently, Governors only have the ability to order the flag to fly at half-staff after the death of a government official or the death of a member of the Armed Forces during combat.
"Our first responders are brave and selfless heroes who serve and sacrifice on behalf of their communities. This legislation will give local leaders the ability to appropriately honor and recognize those first responders who lose their lives in the act of ensuring public safety," Boozman said. "We can all agree that these courageous men and women deserve the simple but powerful tribute of having the U.S. flag flown at half-staff to honor their sacrifice."
"Police officers and firefighters race into harm's way every day to protect our neighbors and keep our families safe," Tester said. "This bill will give proper recognition to the first responders who go beyond the call of duty and make the ultimate sacrifice."
Police officers and firefighters from across the nation are applauding Boozman and Tester for their bill.
"Everyday our law enforcement officers act heroically to save and help people they have never met before from all walks of life," said Chuck Canterbury, President of the Fraternal Order of Police. "These officers take an oath to protect and service their communities to make it a better and safer place for all those that live there. They are even willing to lay down their lives in the service of others."
"First responders knowingly place their lives in jeopardy to preserve the lives of others. Sadly, not all of these first responders return to their families and homes," said Fire Chief John D. Sinclair, President and Chairman of the International Association of Fire Chiefs. "This simple yet effective and profound action will allow residents across the United States to honor first responders who have made the ultimate sacrifice."
"Every community across America relies on fire fighters and emergency medical technicians to respond to a variety of emergency situations. Sadly, more than one hundred times annually, these dedicated emergency responders pay the ultimate price by selflessly giving their very life for the service and protection of their community," said Harold A. Schaitberger, President of the International Association of Fire Fighters. "The Honoring Hometown Heroes Act is an important piece of legislation that recognizes the sacrifices made by our emergency response professionals."
Boozman and Tester's bipartisan bill is also supported by the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, National Association of Police Organizations, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, National Volunteer Fire Council, National Honor Guard Commanders Association, National Honor Guard Academy, and National Fire Academy Alumni Association.
National Police Week started on Sunday, May 14th and ends on Saturday, May 20th.