Support for Police Is Vital to Reducing Crime

Officer Rogelio Santander left Tuesday morning like he had for the past three years to go to work for the Dallas Police Department. But, as we all know today, he did not make it home that night. While responding to a call involving a routine shoplifting incident, he, his partner and a security guard were shot. Tragically, Officer Santander died Wednesday morning.Officer Santander is the third law enforcement officer in our area that has been shot and killed in the line of duty since I was sworn in as United States Attorney in November. Trooper Damon Allen of the Department of Public Safety was shot and killed on Thanksgiving night following a routine traffic stop. Richardson Police Officer David Sherrard was shot and killed earlier this year while responding to a disturbance at an apartment complex.Officers Santander and Sherrard are two of the 46 law enforcement officers who have fallen in the line of duty in America in 2018, and that follows a shocking 128 officers in 2017. In the last two years, nine North Texas officers have been killed in the line of duty. These officers made the ultimate sacrifice, and we owe them our undying gratitude.There is no more noble calling than to protect and serve, a call that is willingly answered by the thousands of brave women and men across this country who enter law enforcement. It is vitally important to me that our men and women in blue know they have our full support to carry out their duties. So let me make this clear right now: At the Department of Justice, we are committed to providing the tools and resources needed to assist officers in keeping our communities safe.The most important duty of a government is to protect its citizens from harm, and law enforcement is our first line of defense. Last February, President Donald Trump signed an executive order specifically aimed at reducing violent crime and protecting public safety. Immediately after the order was issued, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the formation of a new Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety.This task force resulted in a summit where Grand Prairie Police Chief Steve Dye and Dallas Police Assistant Chief Paul Stokes participated in discussions on strategies they are using to reduce crime. This kind of collaboration with state and local law enforcement is critical for the Department of Justice. We must all share knowledge and strategies to reduce crime and make our streets safer for our families and our officers.One of my top priorities is to reduce violent crime in North Texas. We can work aggressively with our local law enforcement officers to combat violent crime. We will focus our resources on the highest crime areas in our cities. We must prioritize making all our neighborhoods safer.It will not be easy. It will not be immediate. I ask you, the community, to join me in working with state and local law enforcement. We will succeed if we work with the brave women and men in law enforcement agencies — federal, state and local — who dedicate their lives to this noble mission.Officer Santander, Officer Sherrard and Trooper Allen are meaningful examples of the risks that we ask our law enforcement officers to undertake every day. We owe them our gratitude, we owe them unwavering support and we owe their families our prayers when they make the ultimate sacrifice.Erin Nealy Cox is the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas. She wrote this column for The Dallas Morning News. What's your view?Got an opinion about this issue? Send a letter to the editor, and you just might get published.  Continue reading...

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