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McCarthy: 'Defunding of the police' shouldn't be discussed after deadliest year for officers

'We should not make politics out of security and safety for our communities,' the House GOP leader said at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

Updated: May 20, 2021 - 1:58pm

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House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy said that 2020 was the deadliest year for police officers and urged Americans not to support efforts to defund the police.

McCarthy bicycled with other GOP lawmakers to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial on Thursday to honor fallen officers during National Police Week.

"Now more than ever Congress must show our gratitude for the service and sacrifice of our fallen heroes," McCarthy said at the memorial. "We should not talk about defunding of the police, we should talk about providing what they need to protect us. We should not make politics out of security and safety for our communities.

"We should respect those who risk and give their life just so they can make a difference in the community. That is why I'm pleased to stand here today with my fellow House Republicans, we know the issue before us, and we are ready and willing to act to support law enforcement, not just today, but every day, and just as we have in the past."

McCarthy laid two wreaths to honor the fallen officers from his district and members of the Capitol Police "who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect us." 

According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, "the names of 394 officers killed in the line of duty were added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial" in 2021. The organization's statistics show that 2020 was the deadliest year for law enforcement officers.

"These 394 officers included 295 (182 fatalities are COVID-19-related) officers who were killed during 2020, plus 99 officers who died in previous years but whose stories of sacrifice had been lost to history until now," reads the organization's official website.

Minnesota Republican Rep. Pete Stauber, a former officer who was shot in the line of duty, said he knows firsthand "what it is like to put on the uniform, kiss your family and kids goodbye, and head to work uncertain what type of call or situation you will encounter that day."

"It is a hard job, it is a noble job, and it’s an honorable profession," he said. "I know that the men and women who serve and protect our communities each day do an excellent job."

Florida Republican Rep. Kat Cammack, the wife of a first responder, had a message for the families of the first responders "having very uncomfortable, scary conversations at the dinner table."

"Thank you," she said. "I know that those conversations are not getting any easier. I know, because I’ve had them. To my colleagues who stand here today, thank you. To my colleagues on the other side of the aisle who have been calling for the defunding of our men and women in uniform, please consider joining us for an educational ride-along. I think it would be very illuminating."

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