Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson’s remarks for Peace Officers Memorial Day
DALLAS — Mayor Eric Johnson delivered the following remarks during the city’s Peace Officers Memorial ceremony on Tuesday:
In life, there is no escaping grief. It comes for us all, often when we least expect it.
But that also means grief is a shared experience — a universal language that we learn against our will. And in our grief, we can find comfort in each other. We find communities and support. And through the pain, we find meaning.
Today, we grieve as we remember the lives of four of our police officers — four people who took on job number one for our city government: keeping our residents safe.
We’ve now lost 92 Dallas police officers in the line of duty in our city’s history. And every year around national Peace Officers Memorial Day, we gather here to talk about their sacrifice. We talk about the virtues of service that they embodied. And we mourn with the families of the fallen and try to share the burden of their unbearable and incalculable loss.
For the brave officers who join us today, this service is also a reminder not just of the people who we’ve lost, but of all the near-misses and close calls you’ve experienced yourselves. It’s a day to think about the times you went home bruised but not beaten — wounded, but alive. And it’s a day to consider the mental toll it takes to walk and run and drive toward danger and the unknown — with everything on the line.
We’ve had no shortage of such harrowing incidents in the past three years. Unfortunately, a virus has robbed us both of lives of loved ones and of the chance to experience our grief and anguish together.
That makes today’s ceremony especially vital for all of us. This is the first year as mayor that I’ve been able to spend this solemn day with all of you. And that means this is my first chance to say on this day to all of you — in person, face-to-face — thank you.
In the last three years that I’ve had the privilege to serve as your mayor, I’ve never wavered from my position that we must put public safety first. The budget that our City Council approved this year reflects our commitment to our top priority.
But I also want you to know that I’m not confused about what my position ultimately means: it means that we’re asking all of you to put yourselves in dangerous situations to keep the rest of us safe. It means we ask you to stop violent criminals one moment and act as family counselors the next. And it means that we’re asking you to be perfect in an imperfect world.
It’s a request we must make. The stakes are too high for our standards to be low. People’s lives hang in the balance in our communities.
We need people like you. People who are aware of the dangers of this job and choose to dedicate themselves to our city and its people anyway.
You help make everything else we do in this city possible — basic services, business deals, entertainment, parks, and everything in between. And as much as today is about remembering and sharing, it’s also about gratitude.
You have mine. And you have the support of the greatest city in the world. Your losses are our losses. You’re part of our family. And your successes mean the world to us.
I promise that as long as I’m mayor, what you do — and what you sacrifice to do it — will not go unnoticed or unappreciated.
That is why I’m officially proclaiming this Sunday, May 15, as Peace Officers Memorial Day and this week as Police Week in the City of Dallas.
Thank you again. Take care of yourselves and each other, and we’ll take care of you as we grieve and as we press forward in pursuit of our goal of making Dallas the safest major city in America.