Police Officers Deserve Our Respect
Op-ed by Congressman Lee Zeldin
Across the U.S. last week, we celebrated National Police Week and extended our deepest gratitude to the law enforcement officers who selflessly protect and serve our communities each day. However, one week of appreciation is not sufficient to ensure police officers can do their jobs without their basic rights being threatened.
Unfortunately, we live in an era where calls to defund, undermine, and dismantle police departments are commonplace from leftwing activists, but also among many elected officials who should know better than to amplify this dangerous anti-police rhetoric.
That is why I recently introduced House Resolution 283, which denounces these calls to defund, disband, dismantle, or abolish law enforcement and encourages states to adopt statutes to establish essential rights for law enforcement officers. This resolution comes on the heels of multiple levels of government, from the federal government to local municipalities, undermining protections for our police officers, including the termination of qualified immunity, the implementation of cashless bail, and calling for social workers to respond to domestic violence 911 calls instead of sending cops.
A Bill of Rights for law enforcement will lay the groundwork for police officers nationwide to better carry out their duties to keep our communities safe while protecting themselves and others and being entitled to the same due process that all Americans deserve. Fifteen states have adopted some form of a Bill of Rights for law enforcement and my resolution includes language to protect the public and respect the rights of law enforcement personnel, including but not limited to:
- Affirming an officer’s inherent right to self-defense against physical threats;
- Ensuring legal recourse if a civilian attempts to assault the law enforcement officer;
- Forbidding physical harassment targeting law enforcement officers;
- Providing officers equipment necessary for personal protection;
- Guaranteeing the presence of counsel and/or a union representative at any interview conducted as part of an investigation into an officer.
My resolution has been cosponsored by 11 of my House colleagues and earned the endorsement of the Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association, Fraternal Order of Police, and National Association of Police Organizations.
H.Res. 283 makes it clear we will not stand idly by while some attempt to dangerously defund law enforcement units and officers. Our nation’s law enforcement officers put their lives on the line each and every day to defend ours, and they have earned nothing but our full support. In doing so, we must ensure that both our great law enforcement officers and the people they serve are protected.
Thank you to all the law enforcement officers in Suffolk County and throughout New York and the U.S. who sacrifice so much to keep our communities safe. Police officers help maintain the rule of law and ensure justice is upheld, and this resolution works to make sure they can continue performing these essential services to our society and have their basic rights and protections upheld.
Congressman Lee Zeldin represents New York’s First Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.