In a statement in the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), commending the service and sacrifice of Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum, said there are lessons for the country in the Sheriff's work and tragic death.
"While the cause of the heinous murder remains under intense investigation, its effect is well known," Rahall said. "The legacy of Eugene Crum will live on each time justice is served and tempered with mercy to give new hope to those who have wronged their families and their communities. Eugene Crum's hope for a more civil world, born of his life of valor, is the badge of honor Sheriff Rosie Crum now wears, as do his comrades in law enforcement throughout our Nation."
Rahall has been active and vocal in the fight against prescription drug abuse and has teamed up with Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) as co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse, an information sharing, educational vehicle to aid members of Congress in addressing national prescription drug abuse issues. Rahall has introduced legislation, H.R. 672, the Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, the House companion measure to the Senate bill authored by Senator Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), which would promote both physician and consumer education, as well as authorize federal funding to help states create and maintain prescription drug monitoring programs that all states can access.
"The obligation of the Congress to aid our law enforcement officers is clear," Rahall said. As American citizens, let us pray for their safe keeping, and that their resolve -- this Nation's resolve -- will be strengthened by the indelible mark left by Eugene Crum to serve and protect the people he loved."
Rahall has added his support to the Preventing Violence Against Law Enforcement Officer Resilience and Survivability Initiative (VALOR) Program -- an important program that helps ensure our nation's first responders are fully prepared to meet the demands of their jobs to not only help save the lives of our police officers, but make our communities safer as well.
Below is the full text of Rahall's statement:
Extension of Remarks
The Honorable Nick J. Rahall (D-WV)
Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum
A True Titan in the Battle for Law and Order
Each April, just a few blocks from the Nation's Capitol Building, we witness in full bloom 10,000 daffodils, amidst well manicured lawns, signaling the advent of the season of renewal and hope. This peaceful setting surrounds two blue-gray curved marble walls that help form our Nation's lasting tribute and memorial to law enforcement officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.
Every 57 hours in this Country, a law enforcement officer lays down their life, so that the rest of us can enjoy lives enriched by the very safety and security our officers provide.
Last week, West Virginians lost a true titan in the battle for law and order. Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum had just left his friend and compatriot, Judge Michael Thornsbury, with the parting words, "I'm going to fight the good fight," so he could spend his lunch hour in his vehicle, keeping an eye on a former illegal pill mill. Moments later, the Sheriff would be slain. While the cause of the heinous murder remains under intense investigation its effect is well known.
Dave Rockel, Sheriff Crum's friend and teammate as the Commander of Mingo County's Drug Task Force said the murder has "awakened a sleeping giant." Commander Rockel pointed out "Operation Zero Tolerance" has taken on a new significance to continue the Sheriff's legacy of waging a successful war against the scourge of prescription drug abuse. As Judge Thornsbury calculated, the Sheriff had already achieved 57 felony convictions within 93 days of being sworn into office. Make no mistake, Eugene Crum may have been a new Sheriff, but he was a three-decade-old seasoned veteran of law enforcement, having served as a police lieutenant, chief of police, magistrate and chief magistrate.
Since the Sheriff's passing, many tributes have been offered by friends, officeholders and multiple newspaper editorials have been written to honor Sheriff Crum, his achievements, his compassion, his humility, his selflessness, and his fervent dedication and devotion to duty. And, what honor and comfort it must be to his widow, Rosie, his children, Julie and Bub, and his entire family to know that, as Judge Thornsbury relayed, Eugene was often times able to personally enjoy one of the highest compliments anyone can be paid. For when many of those he had previously arrested would see Eugene on the street, they would stop to thank him for saving their lives. I ask my colleagues, here in the people's House, "What truer measure of a man is there?"
To such a man, this Nation remains deeply indebted and eternally grateful. On the National Memorial honoring the fallen, one of its four inscriptions reads, "In valor, there is hope." Eugene Crum's valor was as significant as that of the bravest soldier on the most tumultuous of battlefields. For Eugene, the field of battle was in the hills and hollows of home, on the front porches and through the backyards of neighbors, on the streets of Mingo County's downtowns and on their corners during the darkest hours of night. His battle endured without end until justice had ultimately prevailed. Indeed the legacy of Eugene Crum will live on each time justice is served and tempered with mercy to give new hope to those who have wronged their families and their communities. Eugene Crum's hope for a more civil world, born of his life of valor, is the badge of honor Sheriff Rosie Crum now wears, as do his comrades in law enforcement throughout our Nation.
As it was strongly and passionately relayed at his memorial this past weekend by Mingo County Commission President John Mark Hubbard, shame on anyone who will not make sure that the change Sheriff Crum laid his life down for does not continue.
Mr. Speaker, the obligation of the Congress to aid our law enforcement officers is clear. As American citizens, let us pray for their safe keeping, and that their resolve -- this Nation's resolve -- will be strengthened by the indelible mark left by Eugene Crum to serve and protect the people he loved.