It is natural for the images and ugliness of the illegal occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon to fade from public attention over time, but the impacts on federal land management will endure. The quieter, more insidious efforts to undermine the legitimacy of public lands and deprive the American people of their rights have shown more clearly than ever the importance of our law enforcement community.
Across the nation, we’re indebted to those who protect not only our voiceless natural heritage but also the public servants dedicated to conserving those resources, and the public itself.
As we celebrate National Police Week (May 15-21), let us remember the hundreds of federal, state and local law enforcement professionals who gave their lives to protect us. And let us honor the officers, agents, inspectors and all who stand a post for us today. Men and women of integrity like Sheriff Dave Ward of Harney County, who upheld his oath of office under the most difficult of circumstances.
We owe Sheriff Ward and others in the law-enforcement community, like our own John Megan and Jeremy Bucher, an enormous debt of gratitude for ensuring the safety of our Malheur family and the local community in what could have resulted in numerous casualties.
And all across the country – and the world – I want to express my appreciation to the rangers, wardens, officers, special agents and inspectors who put their lives on the line daily to keep us out of harm's way and safeguard the future of our natural heritage.
Thank you for your service, and stay safe.