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"We Have Your Backs and You Have Our Thanks": Attorney General Jeff Sessions Praises Black Law Enforcers

Attorney General Jeff Sessions : Aug 2, 2017 : The Justice Department

"I just returned from El Salvador last week—a country ravaged by transnational gangs like MS-13 and where the murder rate is nearly 20 times higher. That is what a country can look like when the rule of law breaks down. And that is what you represent every day on your beat—the rule of law. So, we need you and we need to support you." -Attorney General Jeff Sessions

(Atlanta, GA)—[The Justice Department] The following are excerpts of remarks by Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the recent 41st Annual National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives Training Conference and Exhibition (NOBLE): (Screengrab via Fox 5 Atlanta)

It is a facet of all modern societies that you cannot have safety, comfort, and a thriving community without an effective police department. In addition, it is of the utmost importance that the police department reflect the society it is entrusted with protecting.  You here at NOBLE have been key to ensuring that this principle is not taken for granted or ignored.  Unfortunately, your work—in many cases—is becoming even more difficult and dangerous.

That's because we are fighting a multi-front battle in our communities against violent crime, murder, and drug overdoses—all of which are on the rise.

After decreasing for nearly 20 years, violent crime is making a comeback across America.  The murder rate has surged nearly 11 percent nationwide in just one year—the largest increase since 1968.  Per capita homicide rates are up in 27 of our 35 largest cities. As described by the media, Baltimore and Chicago have turned into killing fields.
 
Law enforcement officers like you are on the front lines.  You see these deaths up close; you don't have the luxury of looking away, changing the channel, or pretending the problem doesn't exist.  As anyone here knows, too often you not only don't get the credit you deserve, but are now in harm's way more than ever.

In fact, violence against police is on the rise across this country.  Last year, 66 law enforcement officers were murdered in the line of duty—an increase of 61 percent compared to 2015. And preliminary data shows that officer deaths for the first six months of the year are up another 18 percent.

But we also know that number doesn't tell the whole story. Most of the country continues to hold police in high regard, but in that same poll, only 30 percent of African-Americans say that they have confidence in police. In the last three years, that number has dropped by five points. That means African-Americans have the least trust in police of any group in the United States.
 
You and I know that all it takes is one bad officer to destroy the reputations of so many who work day in and day out to build relationships in these communities and serve with honor and distinction.

We cannot let mayors and city councils run down police in communities that are suffering only to see crime spike in the very neighborhoods that need proactive, community policing the most. That helps no one. That protects no one.

Regardless of wealth or race, every American has the right to demand a safe neighborhood. Every American deserves to live without the constant fear of violence spilling over into their daily lives.

And we need to do more.  We know that our mission depends on you.  85 percent of all law officers are state, local, and tribal. You are America's first line of defense.

NOBLE's motto is "Justice by Action."  Justice requires courageous men and women to stand up and do the right thing each and every day.  Thank you all for answering that call and for choosing to do this honorable work.  You, more than perhaps any other law enforcement organization, represent crucial ambassadors to some of the communities that trust law enforcement the least. Thank you for your trust and professionalism. 

We have your back and you have our thanks...

Click here to read Sessions' speech in its entirety.







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