Watch the President's and the Vice President's full remarks here.
It was a beautiful day in the Rose Garden to honor the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) TOP COPS. The Vice President spoke first, reiterating the commitment that he and the President have to supporting America's law enforcement, from giving states the funding they need to keep them on the job, to better communication resources, to supporting their rights as workers. The President spoke to that commitment as well, and also commended the outstanding officers who had earned this year's title of "Top Cops":
This is the third year I’ve had the honor of welcoming America’s Top Cops to the White House. It’s kind of like the Heisman Trophy presentation for law enforcement. But I just spent a little time with these men and women inside, and I can tell you with certainty, they carry themselves with such humility. They don't say to themselves “This is it –- this year I made Top Cop.” “I’m going to train, put in long hours, and go to Washington and stand with the President.” That's not why they do what they do every single day.
None of them put together a PR package for our consideration. Some of them are still recovering from gunshot wounds suffered in the line of duty. Some have heavy hearts for partners who’ve been lost, and they commit themselves to their memory. And all would put forward others in their units who they would say are just as brave, or just as dedicated, or just as capable, or just as deserving of this recognition.
But, you know, a moment came when their actions earned recognition. It wasn’t talk; it was what they did. They didn’t know it that morning, as they pinned on a badge, or strapped on a vest, or holstered a weapon. But that day, something would happen that would make them worthy of this honor -– whether it was a random act of bravery, or a successful outcome that was the results of months or even years of painstaking and dangerous police work.
The men and women we honor today have responded with courage under withering fire to defend the innocent. They’ve skillfully rescued women and children from armed gang members, and have saved the life of a shooting victim when there wasn’t time for paramedics to arrive. They’ve carried out a dangerous and deadly sting operation to get drugs off the streets. They’ve burst into a white-hot building to save paralyzed senior citizens whose beds were engulfed in flames. They’ve doggedly pursued an 18-year-old cold case until justice was done. And they’ve investigated last year’s attempted Times Square bombing, successfully extracting a full confession and a wealth of actionable intelligence leading to arrests that have made this country safer.
Think about the strong stuff that takes. Think about the character it takes to refuse to close the books on a case forgotten by all but the victims’ families; the coolness it takes to talk down an armed and hostile criminal; the courage it takes to run into flames or press forward through a hail of bullets when every natural instinct would say, “Stop. Think about yourself. Survive.”