SEN. GRASSLEY: The police need our support

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I had the privilege of spending time and meeting with Iowa law enforcement during the May state work period. I met with them to hear directly what they’re facing on the ground.

 

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I asked what support they needed from Congress and what challenges they’re facing. And you know what I heard? That recruiting new officers and retaining their current officers is harder than ever.

 

In part, this is because young people are being told by leaders, even members of Congress, that being in law enforcement is not an honorable profession. They’re hearing that it isn’t a career worth pursuing.

 

These Iowa officers asked me to speak with my fellow legislators to stop that kind of nonsense talk. And they’re right. There’s no greater love than for a man to lay down his life for his community. And that sacrifice of personal safety for the wellbeing of others is what law enforcement embodies every day.

 

Recruiting and retaining good officers is also hard because of the increase in ambush attacks on law enforcement.

 

Not only are citizens much less cooperative when dealing with law enforcement, but some are actually intentionally targeting and murdering officers.

 

2021 was the most dangerous year to be a law enforcement officer in two decades.

 

Many officers in Iowa aren’t volunteering for overtime anymore because it’s too dangerous.

 

An ambush attack like this happened a few weeks ago in Los Angeles. Two officers responded to reports of a stabbing. When they knocked on the door, they were shot and killed by a gang member who was out on probation. He should have already been in jail, but he caught a huge break from the progressive prosecutor in that city.

 

And this wasn’t the first time an officer was killed by a gang member in Los Angeles this year. This type of tragedy is getting replayed over and over again across the country. But, we simply don’t have good data on gang violence or on assaults on law enforcement, so we don’t know the exact numbers.

 

We need more data, which is why I’m working on two pieces of legislation to improve data collection on both gang violence and assaults on law enforcement.

 

The Senate Judiciary Committee will have a hearing on attacks on police to discuss these issues. I look forward to having it during this work period.

 

I hope my colleagues will stay on target and focus on the violence these brave men and women face, not use this as a forum to chastise police.

 

We cannot wait any longer to talk about this issue and the effects it’s having on our communities.

 

And while I’m addressing this issue, I have some related and tragic news to discuss.

 

Once again, I have a heavy heart as I recognize two Iowa officers who’ve recently died in the line of duty.

 

Sergeant John Williams of the Coralville Police Department died from a medical issue while he was on patrol on July 3.

 

He was described by those who knew him as “an extraordinary officer, a friend, and a neighbor,” also a “fantastic family man and a true public servant.” He was a fixture in the community as a 28 year veteran of the force—the longest serving sergeant with the Coralville Police Department, a department which said that Sergeant Williams’ “knowledge, experience and leadership will be near-impossible to replace.”

 

Deputy Sheriff Austin “Melvin” Richardson perished on June 14 in a traffic collision.

 

Deputy Richardson was a dedicated public servant in law enforcement for 15 years. He was an officer for Sidney, Iowa, and then joined the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office in 2015, where he faithfully served since.

 

Deputy Richardson truly fulfilled the meaning of “public servant.” He was not only a member of law enforcement, but also a volunteer firefighter for Percival and Sidney. He was described as a “staple” in the community, and he will be deeply missed.

 

Sergeant Williams is survived by his wife, Kim, his four children: Brandon, Benjamin, Sarah and Rebekah, as well as six grandchildren: Noah, Elijah, Elsa Adalyn, Kalliope and Emma.

 

Deputy Richardson left behind his wife Jennifer, and his three daughters, Bryxtol, Cheyenne and Everly. I say to them: your sacrifice is honored and appreciated by your community and by your country. We thank you.

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