May 12, 2009
Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid today met with three police officers from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department who received honorable mention in the Top Cops awards given out by the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO). NAPO created the Top Cops Awards to pay tribute to outstanding law enforcement officers across the country for actions above and beyond the call of duty.
Below are Reid’s remarks as prepared for delivery on the floor of the United States Senate.
“I first came to Washington as a law student with a young family. We didn’t have much. So to support my wife and baby daughter, when I wasn’t sleeping or studying I was serving as a United States Capitol policeman.
“I worked full-time, in uniform, in this very Capitol complex from 3 every afternoon to 11 every night. My time was mostly spent helping tourists find their way around or directing traffic on Constitution and Independence Avenues.
“Mr. President it’s safe to say I never did anything so brave as the police officers we honor this week, National Police Week.
“Every year for decades now, police officers and their families have come to Washington to honor those who have risked their lives and remember those who gave their lives.
“Three of those fearless officers we recognize this year serve in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. And this morning they are with us here in the Capitol.
“Last June, Officer Blake Penny was following an armed suspect when the suspect’s car flipped end-over-end and landed on its side. When Officer Penny went up to the car to check on the passengers, the suspect suddenly appeared and shot him in the right leg, just above the knee.
“It was then that Officer Penny’s fellow patrolmen – Sergeant Steve Custer and Officer Christian Jackson – heard those four frightening words over their radio: “Shots fired, officer down.” They raced to the scene.
“In the meantime, even though he was unable to walk, Officer Penny courageously continued to exchange fire with the suspect.
“When Sergeant Custer and Officer Jackson got there, they threw themselves into the line of fire to administer First Aid to Officer Penny and pull him into their patrol car. Officer Jackson drove his wounded partner to the hospital, and Sergeant Custer – a police officer for 36 years – stayed on the scene until back-up arrived.
“This week the National Association of Police Organizations is honoring these brave officers with the Top Cops award, a tribute given to just a select few of the countless men and women who each year go above and beyond the call of duty.
‘But today it is we who are honored to have them with us. To Officer Blake Penny and his wife, Marcia; Sergeant Steve Custer and his wife, Marcela; and Officer Christian Jackson and his wife, Barbara – Nevadans and Americans everywhere thank you for your service and your sacrifice. We are fortunate to have you to protecting us.”
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