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 []

                          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 
  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.