It is a tragedy that the state of Louisiana has witnessed the loss of so many law enforcement officers recently. We have already lost nine state law enforcement officers in 2015. This does not include the federal law enforcement agent who was also killed in Baton Rouge this year. In comparison, our state lost a total of four law enforcement officers in 2014. Of the 10 deaths this year, six were gun-related.

All of these losses, regardless of the cause, have impacted our communities and the officers’ friends and families in an equally dramatic fashion. I am reminded of the fact that, on a daily basis, law enforcement officers run toward chaos rather than avoiding it. They don’t do it for money or fame but out of a commitment to public service.

We must acknowledge that on a national level law enforcement has been the focus of numerous news stories, highlighting both the positive and negative aspects of this profession. With regard to the negative aspect, we must recognize that wrongdoing by any public servant is unacceptable. Likewise, individuals in the private sector are also held accountable for any wrongdoing. In both the public and private sectors, however, the overwhelming majority of people commit no crimes whatsoever.

Importantly, it is worth reminding ourselves that one person’s actions are not representative of the entire entity they serve. The reputation of any profession is earned by the great majority. Over generations, law enforcement’s reputation has been earned by devotion to duty, selfless acts and, unfortunately, the ultimate sacrifice.

On a local level, it is my hope that the communities in the Middle District of Louisiana continue to deal in facts and not in rhetoric — to consider anything short of the truth is simply counterproductive. Our community leaders also deserve recognition and credit for maintaining positive relationships with law enforcement agencies throughout our nine parishes.

Law enforcement officers have stated that in times of trouble they are first to be called and the last to be thanked. They should be the first to be called and the first to be thanked by all of us. Law enforcement officers who serve and protect us deserve our respect and gratitude for a job well done.

Walt Green

U.S. Attorney, Middle District of Louisiana

Baton Rouge