Good morning, everyone. Speaking to the people in the back there. In just a few minutes, the U.S. Attorney and I will meet with the law enforcement officers around the table. I am grateful to all of you for being here. I look forward to our discussion.
We are here gathered in the wake of last month’s horrific ambush on four Fargo Police Department officers that resulted in the death of Officer Jake Wallin and serious injuries to two other officers, Andrew Dotas and Tyler Hawes.
I speak for the entire Department of Justice in expressing my deepest condolences to Officer Wallin’s loved ones who have suffered a terrible loss. Just a few minutes ago, I met with Winter Malone, Officer Wallin’s fiancé. There are just no words to express the sorrow and the pain that have been caused. I was just grateful to have the opportunity to have a chance to speak with her.
I am also thinking of Officer Dotas and Officer Hawes as they continue their recoveries, and of Officer Zach Robinson, whose actions that day saved countless lives. Like everyone here, I saw the body cam video, and I just had an opportunity to meet with Officer Robinson. I told him that the courage he exhibited under fire was nothing short of amazing, and as everyone knows here, he saved the community from what could have been a catastrophic result. I told him how proud I was of him – how proud the entire country is of him. There are not many of these body cams that everybody in the country sees, and this one I think pretty much everybody did see. And I know how proud this community is of him.
And as I said to the Chief, I also know that the entire Fargo Police Department and the entire Fargo community are mourning the loss of Officer Wallin. As Officer Hawes said, Officer Wallin was “an honorable person in everything he did.” He was dedicated and a courageous public servant. The Justice Department will long remember him, and we will seek to honor him in the work we do with our state and local law enforcement partners.
The Justice Department recognizes that our state, local, and Tribal law enforcement partners are on the front lines of keeping our communities safe. We also recognize just how much is being asked every single day of the officers. Their jobs are difficult. We now see how dangerous they are, and they demand enormous sacrifices from both the officers and their families.
The Justice Department is committed to doing everything in our power to provide our local law enforcement officers, partners the support they need and deserve.
We are dedicating our resources to programs that support officer safety, health, and wellness; to initiatives that help build trust between law enforcement and the communities we serve; and to incentives to address the recruitment and retention challenges that departments all across the country are facing.
We are doing everything in our power to harness our investigative and prosecutorial resources so that we can be the best partners law enforcement can have.
For this U.S. Attorney’s Office, that has included going after the dangerous fentanyl trafficking rings that profit at the expense of families in North Dakota and across the country. And among many other things, it has included investigating and prosecuting violent crime and dangerous human smuggling organizations and protecting the civil rights of people with disabilities.
I am grateful to the dedicated men and women of this office who do this work with integrity and skill.
We will continue to work closely and cooperatively with state, local, and Tribal law enforcement agencies on behalf of the public that we all serve. The entire Justice Department is grateful for that partnership – I am grateful for that partnership.
So, we’re about to begin the meeting where we’ll have a chance to discuss things that both sides – all sides – need in order to get our common mission accomplished. Thank you.
Source: Department of Justice