• September 19, 2020

LANDGRAF: Law enforcement & first responders: Thank you - Odessa American: Guest Columns

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LANDGRAF: Law enforcement & first responders: Thank you

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Posted: Sunday, September 13, 2020 3:15 am

On Sept. 11, 2001, Americans were united to an extent that had not been seen since the 1940s, and has not been seen since. As a country, we were mourning the loss of thousands of innocent lives: men, women and children whose breath was snuffed out by acts of unimaginable terrorism. We were united by our shared grief and a renewed purpose. American flags began popping up in front yards and lines formed in military recruitment offices across the nation.

In the days after Sept. 11, 2001, thousands of brave men and women (including a large contingency from West Texas) felt a calling to enlist in the armed forces to take the fight overseas. Their courage and extreme sacrifice will never be forgotten. When the nation was in peril, they answered the call.

But our military was not the first line of defense. When planes started dropping out of the sky on that September morning, firefighters, police, and EMS mobilized. These heroes, our first responders, ran into the fire and smoke to do what they do every single day: risk their lives to save others.

For these reasons and more, the Texas Legislature designated Sept. 11 as “Texas First Responders Day.” Given the current political discourse, I cannot imagine a more important year to genuinely acknowledge and thank our first responders for their selfless service, especially when it comes to law enforcement. To all of you who put yourselves in harm’s way to serve and protect complete strangers, thank you!

As a member of the House Select Committee on Mass Violence Prevention and Community Safety, I’m well aware of the threats that gangs, terrorist groups, and lone wolf shooters pose to Texans. I’m also aware that Texans are far more likely to lose their lives due to domestic disputes and distracted driving than to acts of mass violence or terror. Regardless of whether the threat is an angry spouse, a truck driver under the influence or an active shooter, our police officers, sheriffs and state troopers are the ones answering the call to keep us safe.

That is why I adamantly oppose any proposal to defund law enforcement at the local or state level. I certainly believe in accountability and transparency for every tax dollar spent and recognize the need for certain reforms, but the primary role of government is to protect the lives and property of its people. Effective law enforcement and a strong military are necessary to achieve this most basic function of government. As your state representative, I will fight to ensure sufficient resources are available to enforce the rule of law here in Texas.

God bless Texas!

Odessa, TX

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