President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. declared May 15 to be “Peace Officers Memorial Day” as Democrats for Change celebrated the candidacy of Brandis Puryear, who is running for an at-large seat on the Roselle Borough Council with Column C contender Travis Amaker in the 4th Ward.
The Democrats for Change candidates, Puryear and Amaker, acknowledged that keeping the community safe is among their highest aspirations and one of the main duties of elected officials.
“For generations, courageous men and women of our nation’s law enforcement community have dedicated their lives to protecting us in big cities, small towns, and suburban neighborhoods across America,” said Biden at a White House event on Friday. “Each morning, police officers pin on their shield and walk out the door to go to work, hoping they will come home safely.”
“Last year, a record number of law enforcement officers died in the line of duty,” said Biden. “On Peace Officers Memorial Day and during Police Week, we express our gratitude for these selfless public servants who put themselves in harm’s way to keep us safe and honor those who lost their lives in the line of duty.”
Puryear is a sergeant detective with 17 years of experience on the Irvington Police Department.
Amaker trained Hudson County Sheriff’s Officers and was employed to provide security for the Jersey City public school system.
“As we see a rise in gun violence and other violent crimes, it is critical that we fund law enforcement with the resources and training they need to do their jobs safely and effectively,” said Biden. “That is why the American Rescue Plan provided $350 billion that cities, States, counties, and tribes can use to hire more police officers and invest in proven strategies like community violence intervention, youth programming, and other supportive services.”
Puryear and Amaker have advocated community policing techniques that would improve the trust between the police and the public, to create a cooperative crime-fighting approach in the wake of decades of antagonism that has deteriorated the mutual respect that once existed.
“Only by working together can authorities protect citizens from illegal gun trafficking and violence,” said Puryear.
Puryear said Biden’s proposed 2023 budget more than doubles funding for effective community policing through the Community Oriented Policing Services Hiring Program. In addition, the Democratic president’s budget increases support for the United States Marshals and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, so they can apprehend fugitives.
Amaker, who has trained Hudson County Sheriff’s Officers in security, said gun violence not only affects community members, it also targets law enforcement officers and people like Aaron Salter, the retired police lieutenant and heroic security guard who engaged the gunman but was among the 10 people killed in a racially motivated massacre at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket.
Last month at the White House, surrounded by law enforcement, community leaders, and families who have lost loved ones to gun violence, President Biden announced that the Department of Justice is reining in the proliferation of “ghost guns” — privately-made firearms without serial numbers that are increasingly showing up on our streets and being used to attack law enforcement officers and members of the public.
“My administration is also committed to supporting programs that protect the physical safety of our law enforcement — more bulletproof vests, active shooter training, and early warnings of threats targeting officers,” said Biden.
“We must also do more to protect our officers’ mental health and emotional well-being. Suicide and COVID-19 were among the leading causes of death for law enforcement officers in 2021,” said Biden. “I was proud to sign into law three bills that extend critical peer counseling and mental health resources for officers, expand eligibility and benefits for first responders disabled in the line of duty, and protect federal law enforcement serving abroad. Our officers swear an oath to protect us, and we owe them the same pledge.”
“We must not abandon our streets or accept the false choice between public safety and equal justice. The solution is not to defund our police. It is to make our streets more secure through policing that treats everyone with dignity and respect. It is to provide officers with the resources, tools, and training they need to keep our neighborhoods safe.
During Police Week, President Biden asked Americans to “demonstrate our appreciation for the unsung heroes who nobly wear the badge and put their lives at risk to protect people each and every day.”
“Let us honor the brave officers whose bright futures were cut short in the line of duty,” said Biden. “Let us come together to help police be the partners and protectors our communities and our Nation need for a safer, more just America.”
He also called upon all Americans to salute our nation’s brave law enforcement officers and remember their peace officer brothers and sisters who have given their last full measure of devotion in the line of duty.