Press Releases

Smith Commends Local Law Enforcement, Slams Radical Squad Democrats for Making Communities Less Safe

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Washington, May 19, 2023 | comments

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Jason Smith (Mo.) marked National Police Week by honoring fallen law enforcement officers, including Bonne Terre Police Officer Lane Burns, and expressing his sincere gratitude to our men and women in blue who selflessly risk their lives to save others. He also called out efforts by Washington Democrats to weaken support for law enforcement.

“I will always be grateful for the many sacrifices law enforcement officers make to save lives and keep our communities safe,” said Smith. “This week, we honored Bonne Terre Police Officer Lane Burns, whose life was tragically cut short last year, and all the brave officers who were killed in the line of duty. It’s the least we can do to repay the men and women who protect us.

“But radical Squad Democrats – including one right here in Missouri – shamefully refused to honor Officer Burns and the 555 additional law enforcement officers who lost their lives last year. We saw 120 radical Squad Democrats – more than half of the House Democrat Caucus – refuse to back a simple resolution that would have put the House on record against defunding the police. In addition, 175 radical Squad Democrats – more than 80% of their caucus – voted against a commonsense bill to make assaulting a police officer a deportable offense. This is madness.

“These actions are despicable, but it shows just how radical Washington Democrats have become when it comes to crime. All of this is because Washington Democrats have become beholden to the far Left, many of whom are trying to abolish or defund the police and to allow crime to go unpunished.

“It’s not controversial – at all – to back local law enforcement. In fact, Americans reject the Defund the Police movement by huge majorities. The Left’s anti-law enforcement agenda is unacceptable, and I am proud to stand with our heroes in blue.”

The number of police officers shot in the line of duty is up 57% from this time in 2020. The rise in violence against law enforcement comes at a time when communities across the nation are struggling with a major crime wave. According to the Major Cities Chiefs Association’s 2022 crime report for urban areas across the country, in 2022, homicides were up 13% and aggravated assaults increased by 34% since 2020. Despite this crime wave,

Officer Burns was shot and killed after he and another officer responded to a disturbance at a motel in Bonne Terre, Mo. Officer Burns had served with the Bonne Terre Police Department for five years and is survived by his daughter, son, and fiancée. Officer Burns was one of 556 law enforcement officers honored in H.Res. 363, a resolution recognizing National Police Week.

This week, Smith also voted in favor of three pro-law enforcement measures to help celebrate National Police Week:

  • H.Con.Res.40: A resolution expressing support for local law enforcement officers and condemning efforts to defund the police. 117 House Democrats voted no and 3 voted present. Nationwide polling has found strong opposition to calls to defund the police. An October 2022 nationwide survey of Black Americans by Kaiser Family Foundation found 82% either supported the same or an increased level of funding for police. Just 17% supported decreasing funding for law enforcement.

  • H.R. 2494, the POLICE Act of 2023: A bill that makes any illegal immigrant who assaults a law enforcement officer automatically subject to deportation from the United States. 175 House Democrats voted no.

  • H.R. 3091, the Federal Law Enforcement Officer Service Weapon Purchase Act: Legislation to allow current federal law enforcement officers to buy their retired service weapon at market value to help stop the loss of millions of federal dollars in destroyed guns. 198 House Democrats voted no.
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