Major Executive Speeches

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Photograph of Robert S. Mueller, III

Robert S. Mueller, III
Federal Bureau of Investigation

Presentation of the Director’s Community Leadership Awards Washington, D.C.

March 20, 2009

Good afternoon. It is great to be here with so many of our friends and partners from throughout the country. A special welcome to the families who have come from far and wide to be here.

We are here to honor individuals and organizations who have embraced the highest ideals of citizenship—they have offered their time and talent to make our communities safer and our nation stronger. We are privileged to recognize you as our partners.

We in the FBI are fortunate to have so many partners. We work shoulder-to-shoulder with our partners in law enforcement, whether here in Washington or across the globe in Warsaw. Indeed, some of those partners are with us today to receive awards. And we work hand-in-hand with our counterparts in the intelligence community, not just at Langley, but also in London and Lagos.

These partnerships are the bedrock of our work. We could not do our jobs without them. But the most important partnerships of all are the ones we have with you.

If the FBI is a body, our relationships with the law enforcement and intelligence communities can be compared to our arms and legs, our eyes and ears. They help us to reach across jurisdictions, to see information in new ways, and to hear from the farthest reaches of the globe.

But you, the citizens we serve, are the heart of what we do.

In our society, law enforcement does not exist to police the public; it exists to work with the public to help keep everyone safe. We are all stewards of our communities.

Ours is truly a relationship of equals. The foundation of law enforcement is a social contract between us and the public we serve. We build on that foundation every time we work together toward a common goal.

We come from different backgrounds. We have different jobs. And we hold many different beliefs. But we share common goals: Creating a safer world for our children. Protecting our neighborhoods from crime and violence. Upholding the rule of law. And ultimately, defending the freedoms we cherish.

By stepping forward in your communities, you are making a critical contribution toward realizing those goals. You are reducing the number of guns and gangs on the streets. You are harnessing technology to help us apprehend violent fugitives. You are combating child exploitation and abuse. You are creating opportunities for interfaith dialogue.

The value of your collective work cannot be totaled. But it can be summed up by an ancient Chinese proverb: “One generation plants the trees; another gets the shade.”

You are planting those trees in your communities. Your work will have an impact far into the future—an impact on the safety of our children, the stability of our cities, and the security of our nation. And it is our common hope that future generations will live peacefully in the shade.

Thank you for your vision, your leadership, and your commitment. Thank you for your trust. And most of all, thank you for your partnership. It is a privilege to serve you, and it is an honor to serve beside you.

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