Gov. Perry Celebrates Texas Law Enforcement Standouts
Addresses Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Awards Ceremony
*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Thank you, Constable [Charles] Hall and congratulations for your leadership by example in this fine organization.
It is an honor to be here today, in the company of men and women who wear the badge who patrol our streets, who do the hard work of maintaining order in our state. I especially want to commend those of you who have done bicycle patrol: that is one dangerous way to make a living.
On behalf of 24 million Texans, or at least the law-abiding ones, I want to thank you for the risks you take every day to protect us.
To be honest, it goes against human nature to head toward danger instead of away from it, but I'm glad our state is blessed with folks like you, who place such a high value on the lives of others.
You express that value in a variety of ways, but they all bring credit to your departments and make our state safer every day.
It is the variety of approaches, of police departments all across Texas, that remind us how richly diverse our state really is, and how the best approaches come from people on the ground in the community, who know the best ways to solve problems.
There is no question we have some genuine innovators here in the room with us today. In this world where technology continues to rapidly evolve, you have shown a willingness to innovate, and push for new ideas, that have made a big difference in your communities.
They used to say "you can't outrun a radio," but, these days, criminals are learning you can't outrun email, Facebook or Twitter either.
LT Jennifer White from the Arlington PD did a great job using the Internet to cast the light of day on criminal activity, and got some unsavory characters to change their ways.
At the same time, today's awardees also succeeded by applying time-tested principles of relationship building, looking people in the eyes, letting them know you care, and keeping your word.
That's how folks like Corporal Shawn Gilcrease of Alvin PD made inroads through his "Shop with a Cop" program, and Officer "Dace" Clifton made the Police Athletic League a driving force in the Arlington community.
These programs allow citizens to see police officers in a different light, reducing the fear factor, and forming a team approach to solving problems in the community.
Unfortunately, outreach programs don't work for every single individual, and police officers are still required to jump in the path of approaching trouble. In some cases, they do that literally, like DPS Trooper Cody Mitchell who had to tackle a suicidal DUI suspect out of oncoming traffic.
Selfless actions like those of officers like DPS Trooper John Kopacz, who saved an 80-year-old driver from a train collision, demonstrate a simple, enduring truth, that compassion for others is a key motivation for peace officers. What else would cause a person to willingly confront armed suspects who are clearly bent on doing harm to others?
In my view, the men and women who wear the uniform are a beacon of light in a sometimes dark world.
We will always need officers like those here today who will use intellect, compassion and, yes, force to prevent the tyranny of the lawless, and to preserve the freedom of the law-abiding.
Every day that you put on the badge, kiss your spouse and children goodbye, and walk out the door, you do so knowing that you might be called upon that day to stand between good and evil, often at great personal risk.
Your sacrifice and service bless us beyond anything we can do in return. So, in addition to these awards today, please know that you have our enduring admiration and respect.
As you walked into the Capitol complex today, you might have noticed that things are fairly quiet, compared to the frenzy of a few weeks ago as the Legislative Session was wrapping up.
Texans should be pleased that we ended up with a balanced budget, a tax cut for about 40,000 small businesses, and $9 billion in our rainy day fund for future challenges.
A lot of governors who would love to make those claims, but they'd have to swap jobs with me, and that ain't happening anytime soon.
The Legislature also passed a little bill that will make this ceremony even better next year, giving TCLEOSE more latitude in their awards.
Your legislators also responded to my request to fund our ongoing border security initiatives, and also invested in our expanding efforts to combat the growing influence of drugs and transnational gangs across our state.
Those investments will get you the resources you need to bump up patrols on the land, air and water, speed up prosecutions, and apply pressure where needed to break the grip of crime on our communities.
Yours is a tough job and we're doing our best to support you, as are organizations like CLEAT, and the TMPA.
Texans do not hesitate to call your name when trouble arises, so we must not hesitate to equip you for that trouble, so that you are best able to keep the peace.
That is my commitment and I will continue to pursue it as we lead Texas into the future.
Thank you for your service, thank you for your sacrifice, thank you for keeping Texas safe.
May God bless you and keep you
and, through you, may He continue to bless the great state of Texas.