We owe a debt of gratitude to all our police officers and their families
© Greg Nash

When I became the top Republican on the Committee on House Administration, there were many issues under the committee’s purview that I was looking forward to working on, like election security and various day-to-day oversight functions of the House, but one area that I felt a personal connection to is our oversight of the United States Capitol Police (USCP).

On Wednesday, June 14, 2017, two United States Capitol Police Officers and the Alexandria Police Department saved my life and the lives of everyone on the baseball field when a gunman opened fire on Republicans practicing for the Congressional Baseball Game. USCP Special Agents Crystal Griner and David Bailey bravely held off the gunman until help could arrive. Griner and Bailey, who were assigned to the protection detail of Republican Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseOn The Money: Senate panel scraps vote on key spending bill amid standoff | Democrats threaten to vote against defense bill over wall funding | Trump set to meet with aides about reducing capital gains taxes Overnight Energy: House moves to block Trump drilling | House GOP rolls out proposal to counter offshore drilling ban | calls mount for NOAA probe House GOP rolls out energy proposal to counter Democrats offshore drilling ban MORE, are the reasons, Steve and all of us at that practice are alive today. They acted without a single concern for their own safety and selflessly fought to ensure others in that area might live. I can never fully express my gratitude for their courageous actions.

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My appreciation for members of the USCP only grew stronger that day. Now, as the Republican leader on the Committee on House Administration, it’s my honor to work closely with these officers who are ready and willing to stand in the line of fire for others.

The United States Capitol Police protect members of Congress, their staffs, and millions of visitors to the Capitol complex each year.

It is encouraged by the Committee on House Administration for Members who need security to have access to it, but USCP officers provide much more than security. They also give us all peace of mind, and I cannot thank every officer enough for that peace of mind they provide me and my family.   

Many brave men and women across our country proudly serve in law enforcement to protect and defend the people of this nation, and it’s important we remember them not just during National Police Week, but every day.

I’ve met many law enforcement officers and their families who have inspired me, people like St. Louis County Police Officer Justin Sparks and his sister Elizabeth Snyder, widow of fallen St. Louis County Police Officer Blake Snyder. Officer Snyder gave his life three years ago while serving and protecting the communities just outside my home district in Illinois.

My good friend, Gary Jones, was a dedicated police officer who passed away just last month after a long battle with cancer. He and I both grew up in Taylorville, and after his service in the Army, he went on to become a police officer for our hometown. He was proud of his job and always loved going to schools to teach students about the police station and his job as an officer.

We owe a great deal of gratitude to all our police officers and their families. In today’s environment, bridging the gap that has formed in some communities between police officers and those they serve can be incredibly challenging, but it starts by understanding the human faces behind the badges.

This should remain our goal as we remember our fallen officers and continue to appreciate the officers who have served and those still serving today.

Davis represents the 13th District of Illinois and is ranking member of the Committee on House Administration.