May 13, 2020 - Issue: Vol. 166, No. 90 — Daily Edition116th Congress (2019 - 2020) - 2nd Session
NATIONAL POLICE WEEK; Congressional Record Vol. 166, No. 90
(Senate - May 13, 2020)
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[Page S2419] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] NATIONAL POLICE WEEK Mrs. HYDE-SMITH. Mr. President, our Nation commemorates National Police Week in May, bringing together law enforcement officers, families, and public safety advocates from across the country to the Nation's Capital to pay respect to law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty last year. The coronavirus outbreak in our country has disrupted the public tributes in Washington and in communities across the country. However, COVID-19 will not diminish our heartfelt gratitude to the fallen and those they left behind. This year, an online virtual candlelight vigil has replaced an in-person national ceremony to honor fallen officers from across the Nation. Sadly, the State of Mississippi lost four officers in the line of duty last year. These brave men are being recognized this week, and their names have been added to the National Law Enforcement Memorial here in Washington, DC. On May 5, 2019, Officer Robert McKeithen, 58, of Biloxi, was ambushed and tragically murdered. An Air Force veteran, Office McKeithen served with the Biloxi Police Department for 24 years and planned on retiring by the end of the year. He was dearly loved by his family, friends, and fellow officers. Constable Willie West, known as Hoot, was first elected in 1971 as constable of Lowndes County District 1 and was serving his 13th consecutive term. He had previously served with the Columbus Police Department and Lowndes County Sheriff's Office. He had a total of 52 years of law enforcement service and was a founding member and first president of the Mississippi Constables Association. On May 6, 2019, Constable West was serving civil papers when his vehicle struck a tree. He succumbed to his injuries a few days later at the age of 81, leaving behind a son, two daughters, five grandchildren, five great- grandchildren, his mother, brother, and two sisters. Chickasaw County Deputy Sheriff Jeremy Voyles died in a single automobile crash while conducting an investigation on August 27, 2019. He was assigned to the North Mississippi Narcotics Unit. Prior to joining the sheriff's department, Voyles served as a law enforcement officer with the Mississippi Department of Transportation. He is survived by his wife, two young children, and his parents. On December 12, 2019, Panola County Constable Eula Ray ``Raye'' Hawkins, 57, was killed when his vehicle was struck by a stolen pickup truck being pursued by other officers. Constable Hawkins served in law enforcement for 29 years. He is survived by his son, who serves with the Batesville Police Department, a daughter, one grandson, and two sisters. I join the families, fellow officers, and communities of these four Mississippi officers, who dedicated themselves to bravely serving the people of my State, honoring their lives with a deep sense of gratitude for their service. My heart aches any time a law enforcement officer is lost, whether it is in the line of duty or not. Their names may not grace a national memorial, but their service still merits recognition. For instance, long-time Lawrence County Deputy Sheriff Robert Ainsworth and his wife, Paula, were among the 14 Mississippians who lost their lives in terrible tornadoes that hit my State on Easter Sunday. In his last act, Deputy Ainsworth, a Marine Corps veteran who died trying to shield his wife from harm, demonstrated the selflessness and bravery that is characteristic of so many in law enforcement. Law enforcement officers risk their lives daily to help keep us safe, and any loss of an officer profoundly affects entire communities. My admiration for the law enforcement community, who remain deeply dedicated despite the dangers of their noble profession, knows no bounds. We acknowledge their brave service and fortify our support of their work to serve and protect our families and our communities. ____________________