As another busy holiday season draws to a close and the new year gets underway, I am reminded of a critical segment of our population, who collectively never take a holiday and individually hopefully get some well-deserved time with their loved ones and needed rest and renewal. According to the Census of State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies, 2018 issued in October of 2022, Idaho has 112 law enforcement agencies with 3,209 sworn police officers who right wrongs and step in to keep Idahoans safe at all hours of everyday. This National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, January 9, and every day, I thank Idaho law enforcement and their families who give generously of their time, talents and resources to helping those in our communities.
In 2019, I had the opportunity to honor a leader in Idaho law enforcement who is a fitting example of the peace officers who thoughtfully patrol our streets. I presented Latah County Sheriff Richard “Richie” Skiles with the Spirit of Idaho Award for his dedicated service to his local community and the residents of the Syringa Mobile Home Park following the neighborhood court’s closure. He spent his own time, money and resources to help ensure their safety and wellbeing, going above and beyond the call of duty. Sheriff Skiles’ actions have demonstrated what it means to truly serve others and are the epitome of Idaho law enforcement who honor the badges they wear by the good they do in our communities. He stayed and helped when others needed it, selflessly willing to help and seeking ways to help improve the lives of people in the community. This is the mindset of so many who choose to serve in law enforcement.
Law enforcement is a difficult and demanding profession. Whether it’s the Idaho State Police keeping watch over a lonely tract of highway, a Sheriff’s deputy responding to a domestic violence call, or a police detective working a complicated case, they are on duty constantly, vigilantly keeping us safe—something we often take for granted. Whether it is the middle of the night or Christmas Eve, we know there is a police officer or sheriff’s deputy on duty and ready to respond.
And, law enforcement remains about individuals standing up to protect their fellow citizens from dangers. The risks they face are heightened by the rise in violent crime in many parts of our country connected to liberal efforts to defund the police and other challenges, such as the deadly impacts of fentanyl and counterfeit pills, cartel drug trafficking, domestic violence and much more. They deserve thanks, and they deserve our support, especially through resources, education and ongoing training. I have been proud to support legislation recognizing the vigilance and compassion of those who serve in law enforcement and strongly supporting law enforcement officers across Idaho and the U.S. in their efforts to secure our communities. I will continue to support these legislative efforts as the 118th Congress gets underway.
Idaho’s men and women in law enforcement are not just faces in a passing patrol car or in uniform on the street. They are neighbors, fellow church-goers, family and friends. I am grateful for their work to maintain law and order. Thank you to Idaho’s law enforcement community for keeping our communities safe.