Corporal Benjamin Cooper from Joplin dedicated his life to serving our country. Following his eight years of service in the United States Army, he moved to Missouri and joined the Joplin Police …
Corporal Benjamin Cooper from Joplin dedicated his life to serving our country. Following his eight years of service in the United States Army, he moved to Missouri and joined the Joplin Police Department. Corporal Cooper was shot and killed by an assailant in the line of duty March 8 and is survived by his wife and two daughters. Officer Jake Reed joined the Joplin Police Department after graduating with honors from Missouri Southern State University. Officer Reed was also shot while on duty March 8 and ultimately lost his life a few days later. He was just 27 years old and as an organ donor, has given the gift of life to several fortunate recipients. Officer Reed and his wife would have celebrated their first wedding anniversary last Sunday. And Officer Lane Burns of Bonne Terre was killed in the line of duty March 17. His nine-year-old daughter and five-year-old son will now live with only the memory of the father who should have been able to raise them and watch them grown into the people they will become.
Missouri lost three law enforcement officers in a span of 20 days. In less than three weeks, three families experienced the worst day of their lives and will suffer from that loss for decades to come. Those children will grow up without a father, spouses will forever miss their other half and parents will live the rest of their lives with a hole in their heart that nothing can ever fill.
I was very proud to sponsor a House resolution along with some of my Missouri colleagues to honor these fallen Missouri officers. While a resolution isn’t nearly enough to appropriately thank these men for their services, and it certainly won’t ease their families’ pain, I hope it will let them know that their loss and their loved ones’ sacrifices have not gone unnoticed. We are eternally grateful for Officers Burns, Reed and Cooper and we are holding their families in our prayers. This resolution will ensure their names go down in history as Missouri heroes.
Violence against our nation’s law enforcement officers – the very people who sign up to put their lives on the line to protect us – continues to skyrocket and it has to end. In 2022, the United States’ homicide rate has increased 48% and shootings of police officers have increased 38%, compared to this time in 2020. While chants of “defund the police” broke out in liberal areas of the country, twelve major American cities broke homicide records in 2021. Childish, unrealistic policies are costing us the lives of community members and the police officers who answer the call to protect us.
Another (I believe intended) consequence of the policies that paint criminals as victims and heroes as villains is officer hiring and retention. With retirements up 45%, law enforcement agencies across the country are having trouble recruiting new officers because the job continues to get more and more dangerous. And it’s no wonder. Radical prosecutors across the country are actively preventing the criminals that officers arrest from going to jail and continually undermine our criminal justice system. They refuse to prosecute violent offenders out of some ridiculous belief that people who rape, assault, or steal are victims of a system. Budget cuts combined with more criminals freely walking the streets is a slap in the face to police officers and the communities they serve. I have continually backed policies that not only prevent cuts to police, but give additional support to officers who badly need it. We need police officers, and it is my hope that in the coming year they will feel Congress’ full support. It’s the least we can do.
This week is National Police Week and an extremely important moment to thank the law enforcement officers who wake up every morning and put themselves in harm’s way to protect us. This time each year, different law enforcement agencies travel to Washington, D.C. to come together, share stories, advocate for our nation’s law enforcement officers, and remember the fallen. Tonight on the National Mall, the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund will be holding their annual candlelight vigil. The names of the officers we’ve lost in the line of duty are engraved on the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and the names are read aloud in this solemn ceremony. It is a heartbreaking but beautiful tribute to these national heroes. If you’re interested in tuning in to honor these officers from afar, please visitNLEOMF.org/vigil.
And please join me in thanking a police officer this week. They run into danger when everyone else is running away from it, and we are so fortunate to have these brave Missourians protecting our families and our communities every day.
CONTACT US: As always, for those of you with Internet access, I encourage you to visit my official website. For those without access to the Internet, I encourage you to call my offices in Jefferson City (573-635-7232) Washington, Mo. (636-239-2276), or Wentzville (636-327-7055) with your questions and concerns. If you want even greater access to what I am working on, please visit my YouTube site, Facebook page, and keep up-to-date with Twitter and Instagram.
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