you for inviting me to be with you on this
special occasion. It is indeed an honor to
have the opportunity to recognize the extraordinary
accomplishments of some truly extraordinary
It is said that actions speak louder than
words. Given that, the individuals we are
recognizing today can be heard loud and clear
– through their bravery, through their
actions, and through their commitment to upholding
This afternoon, we are honoring these officers
for their courage shown in the line of duty.
Courage that let them risk death in a blazing
fire to save a frightened elderly woman. Courage
that drove them to pursue cop killers for
their entire careers in the name of justice.
We are also honoring these individuals for
their actions -- actions which have sometimes
brought them personal injury. Actions such
as chasing and then tackling carjackers and
thieves even though they were seriously wounded
themselves. Overcoming paralyzing injuries
and returning to their departments to continue
to serve their communities. Battling fires,
drug dealers, and cancer all at the same time
– and beating all three. Or going into
deadly situations armed only with words, and
getting shot in the midst of those negotiation
In addition to these remarkable individuals,
we are honoring teams who have produced successes
far beyond their size. Who have trained thousands
of officers in the D.A.R.E. program and, through
them, have reached millions of children with
anti-drug messages. Who, at significant personal
risk, have recovered hundreds of stolen vehicles
and arrested thousands of car thieves and
We are honoring soldiers in law enforcement
who have served on the front lines of the
war on terrorism. Soldiers who have fought
anthrax attacks. Captured fugitive serial
bombers responsible for terrorizing the nation.
Subdued a man holding a grenade, then took
that grenade and held it in his bare hands
until the bomb squad arrived.
Today, I had the pleasure of sitting with
one of these individuals – Murphy North
Carolina Police Officer Jeff Postell –
who captured a man we at the FBI had been
hunting for five years.
to Jeff, Eric Rudolph is now safely behind
bars. And what is particularly wonderful about
Jeff's story is that, as Jeff told swarms
of reporters at the ensuing press conference,
he was just doing his job.
That is what makes the recipients of all 12
of these awards so impressive. Each of you,
with all of your accomplishments, with all
of the lives you have saved, believed that
you were just doing your job.
The men and women of law enforcement –
federal, state, and local – are bound
together by our common vocation. And it is
more than just a job, or a career, or a profession.
It is a very personal mission.
It is a mission that we can fulfill only by
working together with our law enforcement
counterparts here in the United States and
around the world. United, we can and are defeating
criminal rings, drug traffickers and terrorist
networks. None of them can long withstand
the power of a united law enforcement family.
It is a mission that requires deep commitment.
Indeed, commitment to duty and honor is the
very heart of what it means to be a member
of the law enforcement community.
Demonstrating that commitment, there are some
here who were gravely injured. Thankfully,
each of you were able to return to your homes
and your families and to attend this awards
Tragically, however, some of our heroes have
died. And later tonight, at the Candlelight
Vigil, we will recognize hundreds of those
other heroes – the ones who could not
make it home.
I want to take a moment to remember just one
of those heroes. He lived – and died
– with exactly what we are recognizing
today -- commitment. He was FBI Special Agent
Lenny Hatton. Panel 23, West-21 of the fallen
officers memorial. I have told this story
before, but it bears repeating on this occasion.
Lenny was one of the many law enforcement
professionals we lost on September 11th, 2001.
He died while helping victims escape from
the Twin Towers in New York.
I had the honor of attending Lenny's funeral
Mass in his hometown in New Jersey, and listened
while Lenny's friend and partner, Chris O'Connell,
delivered his eulogy. Chris closed his praise
for Lenny by saying: "Special Agent Lenny
Hatton stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the
finest and the bravest. Until we meet again,
my partner, my friend."
Chris O'Connell was and is a detective with
the New York Police Department. But it did
not matter to Chris or to Lenny that one worked
for the NYPD and one worked for the FBI. They
just wanted to get the job done. They were
Chris and Lenny reminds us today that we are
all in this together. We are all part of the
same team. And we in the FBI are proud to
be your partners. You, more than anyone, stand
on the front lines of our nation's battles
against crime and terrorism. It is our honor
and our privilege to stand alongside you.
Thank you for your service and your devotion
to duty. Thank you for inviting me to share
this celebration with you. God bless.