Weekly Columns

Arkansans are proud of the law enforcement history in our state. In my hometown of Fort Smith, the U.S. Marshals Service has a deep-rooted history that helped shape our nation’s westward expansion.

Today, many people in the area find their family roots trace back to a U.S. Marshal. As home to the future U.S. Marshals Museum, the community and the state have rallied around this proud heritage.

The tradition of courageous public service is carried on today by the men and women who keep communities safe 24 hours a day.

First responders invest so much of their lives into public service. Their tireless efforts and willingness to help in a crisis at a moment’s notice should be commended.

This month, we pay tribute to law enforcement officers all across the country who are called to serve and protect. It takes a special person to put their life on the line every day to protect our communities. The sacrifices these brave men and women make help Arkansas such a wonderful place to call home.

May 15th marks Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week is recognized as National Police Week, a time to reflect on, and express our gratitude for, the sacrifices law enforcement officers make.

During this time, members from law enforcement agencies from around the nation will join together in Washington to honor their fallen brothers and sisters who died in the line of duty. Their names will be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

This year nearly 400 names will be added to the memorial including these Arkansans: Robert Baker, a Patrolman for the McCrory Police Department who died while serving the people of Woodruff County on September 15, 2016; Corporal Bill Cooper of the Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office who gave his life in the line of duty on August 10, 2016; and Corrections Officer Lisa Mauldin who died in service to the community on December 18, 2016.

These Arkansans represent the selfless sacrifice that our law enforcement personnel embody. It is a true testament to the life that they chose to serve the community.

I’m saddened by the recent news that the name of another Arkansas law enforcement officer will be carved into the memorial. Yell County Sherriff’s deputy Kevin Mainhart, a veteran officer with more than twenty years serving and protecting Arkansas communities, was killed in the line of duty earlier this month.

We are working to pass legislation that ensures that these officers, and all who are killed in the line of duty, receive recognition for their sacrifice by allowing governors to order the American flag to fly at half-staff. Many states, including Arkansas, already lower their state flags in tribute. We, as a nation, should also recognize an officer’s sacrifice in this manner. The House of Representatives passed similar legislation earlier this month, and I am hopeful it will also have the support of the Senate.

I am grateful for the devotion of the 900,000 law enforcement officers across the nation whose service each and every day makes our communities safer. These heroes come to our rescue when we need help, and I am committed to continuing to advocate for these officers.