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In House speech, Spanberger honors fallen Virginia law-enforcement officers

Rep. Abigail Spanberger honors fallen Virginia law enforcement officers

Speaking Wednesday in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Abigail Spanberger honors fallen Virginia law enforcement officers, including Culpeper’s Sisk.

As 2022’s National Police Week began across the country, Rep. Abigail Spanberger reflected on the service and sacrifice of Virginians who put on the badge. The week is observed Wednesday, May 11, through Tuesday, May 17.

Speaking Wednesday in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Virginia congresswoman shared the names of Virginia law-enforcement officers who died in 2021 and 2022.

To help remember them, the former federal law-enforcement officer read the names and departments of 13 Virginia peace officers lost in recent months.

They included Capt. James Anthony “Tony” Sisk of the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office. His agency’s patrol division commander, Sisk succumbed Oct. 1, 2021, to complications from contracting COVID-19 in the line of duty.

The coronavirus was the leading cause of law-enforcement officers’ deaths in the first six months of 2021, killing 71 people, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

On Friday, the names of the 619 fallen officers will be added to the wall at the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial in Washington, D.C., and read aloud during a Candlelight Vigil starting at 8 p.m. Anyone who wishes to watch the vigil live can do so online via the Memorial Fund’s YouTube channel at youtube.com/TheNLEOMF.

According to the Memorial Fund, 472 law-enforcement officers died nationwide in the line of duty in 2021. Of that number, 319 succumbed to COVID-19.

In the Eastern District of Virginia, Frederick Henry “Butch” Cameron Jr. of the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office died Jan. 12, 2021, of complications from COVID-19 contracted on duty at the Fairfax County Judicial Center. U.S. Attorney Jessica D. Aber also remembered Police Officer George Gonzalez, of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, an Army combat veteran killed Aug. 3, 2021, in a violent attack at a Pentagon bus platform.

“I am grateful for the dedication of our law enforcement officers, who serve under increasingly challenging and dangerous conditions,” said Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a statement Wednesday. “National Police Week is a time to express our gratitude while honoring their sacrifice. I hope that this week is a chance for everyone to reflect on the many positive contributions of law enforcement agencies to our communities and seek out a partnership of trust and collaboration with them.”

“This week, we gather to pay tribute to the law enforcement officers who sacrificed their lives in service to our country,” U.S. Attorney General Garland said. “We remember the courage with which they worked and lived. And we recommit ourselves to the mission to which they dedicated their lives. On behalf of a grateful Justice Department and a grateful nation, I extend my sincerest thanks and gratitude to the entire law enforcement community.”

Spanberger said Virginians will reflect this week all across the commonwealth “on the sacrifice of the men and women who serve our neighbors and keep our communities safe.”

“They will honor those who continue to wear the uniform, and they will remember those who never returned home from their patrol,” the two-term lawmaker said. “For Virginia’s spouses, siblings, parents and children who have lost a loved one in the line of duty, this week is particularly difficult.”

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week in which May 15 falls as National Police Week.

Established by a joint resolution of Congress in 1962, National Police Week pays special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others.

Spanberger said she was honored to remember the Virginia officers who have fallen in 2021 and to date in 2022.

Click here to watch her remarks.

A full transcript of the legislator’s remarks follows:

Today—at the start of National Police Week, I stand here to remember the lives of Virginia’s fallen law enforcement officers.

As the daughter of a retired law enforcement officer and as a former federal agent, I know what it means to put on a badge.

And I know what it means to have a family member leave the house, concerned as to whether or not they’ll return. And, for far too many, that fear is realized when a loved one dies in the line of duty.

This week—all across the Commonwealth, Virginians will reflect on the sacrifice of the men and women who serve our neighbors and keep our communities safe.

They will honor those who continue to wear the uniform, and they will remember those who never returned home from their patrol.

For Virginia’s spouses, siblings, parents, and children who have lost a loved one in the line of duty, this week is particularly difficult.

And, today on the House floor, I am honored to remember the officers who have fallen in 2021 and so far this year in 2022:

—Sgt. Frederick Henry “Butch” Cameron, Jr. of Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office;

—Police Officer Dominic Jared Winum of Stanley Police Department;

—Sgt. Jose R. Rivera of Suffolk Police Department;

—Police Officer George Gonzalez, United States Department of Defense Pentagon Force Protection Agency;

—Police Officer Bonnie Nicole Jones, the Danville Police Department;

—Cpl. Charles Wayne Catron, Carroll County Sheriff’s Office;

—Capt. James Anthony Sisk, Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office;

—Police Officer Michael D. Chandler, Big Stone Gap Police Department;

—Sergeant Malek Majzoub, Portsmouth Sheriff’s Office;

—Police Officer John Painter, Bridgewater College Police Department;

—Campus Safety Officer J.J. Jefferson, Bridgewater College Police Department;

—Police Officer Caleb D. Ogilvie, Covington Division of Police;

—Police Officer Trey Marshall Sutton, Henrico County Police Department.

Today, we remember these names on the floor of the United States House of Representatives. But they are already forever etched in the hearts of Virginia’s law enforcement officers—especially the men and women who knew them best and served alongside them. And, their families who mourn them and miss them.

Our hearts are with them as they remember their loved ones and reflect on their service—and we honor them.

On behalf of a grateful Commonwealth and a grateful country, I stand here to thank them for their heroism, the sacrifice, and their service.

My heart is with their families as we honor these fallen officers today and every day.

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Clint Schemmer, a journalist since 1980, has worked at papers in California, North Carolina and Virginia. He’s been a bureau chief, editorial-page editor, copy desk chief and local news editor. Now a staff writer at the Culpeper Star-Exponent.

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