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Remarks on Signing the Public Safety Officers' Benefits Improvement Act of 2017 and the American Law Enforcement Heroes Act of 2017

June 02, 2017

The President. Thank you all. It's a great honor, and thank our Vice President for being here. Thank you. Ivanka Trump, thank you for being here. And we have a great group behind us, incredible people. Some of you are very good friends for a long time.

Good afternoon. It's an honor to be with you, the men and women of law enforcement, as well as two fantastic State attorneys general who are always proud to stand by the side of law enforcement officers. That's Pam Bondi and Leslie Rutledge. Thank you very much. Thank you.

I want to thank also Chuck Canterbury, President of the Fraternal Order of Police, and Sheriff Greg Champagne, President of the National Sheriffs Association. Where are you folks? Good. Hello, man. How are you? How are you?

St. Charles Parish, LA, Sheriff Greg Champagne. Yes, sir. Great.

The President. Appreciate you being here. Really two great champions of law enforcement.

We are here today to reaffirm our unbreakable support for the American heroes who keep our streets, our homes, and our citizens safe. And they've been doing an amazing job under very adverse conditions. We will always support the incredible men and women of law enforcement. I can speak very strongly for myself and for Mike Pence, our Vice President. We are behind you 100 percent.

Every single day, America's law enforcement officers, firefighters, first responders, and their families make tremendous sacrifices for their communities and for their nation. When a home is threatened, when danger visits our doorstep, when innocent lives are on the line, Americans turn to their courageous officers of law enforcement because we know they are here to serve and to protect us all.

They sacrifice every day to keep us safe. Many have paid the ultimate price, laying down their lives to save others. Incredible people. They're true heroes, and we will always be grateful. So I want to thank you folks. That is so true.

Our duty as Americans is to honor their service and sacrifice and to protect those who protect us. Today I am proud to sign two laws to help fulfill that very, very sacred commitment.

First, the Public Safety Officers' Benefits Improvement Act will help disabled officers and firefighters and families of those who fall in the line of duty quickly receive all of the benefits they so justly deserve. People have wanted this for a long time. And I'm not just talking the people behind me, I'm talking about many people that represent the people behind me: family members and friends and people that just appreciate the work they do, which is incredible.

For too long, injured officers have suffered, and the children of fallen officers have put their dreams of college on hold while bureaucracy delayed crucial benefits and made it impossible for their families. No longer. It's unacceptable, and it is going to end today. In fact, it's going to end in about 1 minute. This bill speeds approval times by giving State and local enforcement greater role in determining eligibility and lets applicants track the progress of their claims online. So a much, much faster situation. You're all happy with that?

Participants. Yes, sir.

The President. You know exactly what I'm talking about, right?

Participants. Yes, sir.

The President. You've been waiting for this for years.

Second, the American Law Enforcement Heroes Act allows the use of Federal grants to help our military veterans transition to new careers in law enforcement. America is proud of our veterans, and I think I can say double proud or triple proud. We love our veterans. And they're serving overseas, they're in harm's way, they are doing things that very few people would have the courage to do, and we will be and always will be incredibly proud to have them with us. And they've been with us like nobody, and we are going to be protecting them. They've been protecting us. We're going to be helping them right now. They've really been with us in terms of freedom, in terms of our rights, and we're right now—in terms of their rights.

As President, keeping Americans safe is my highest duty, and supporting law enforcement is my unwavering commitment. And I'm very proud to sign these two great bills today.

I want to thank everybody for being here. And if you have the bills, we'll sign them. This has been years in the making, and I will tell you that this is something that I'm very happy to be doing. So congratulations, everybody. Congratulations, Pam.

Participants. Thank you, Mr. President.

The President. This act may be cited as the Public Safety Officers' Benefits Improvement Act of 2017.

[At this point, the President signed the bill. He then handed the pen to Florida State Attorney General Pamela J. Bondi.]

Attorney General Bondi. Thank you, Mr. President.

The President. You spread it around. [Laughter]

[Attorney General Bondi then handed the pen to K. Charles Canterbury, Jr., national president, Fraternal Order of Police.]

Congratulations. That's a big one, right?

And this is, as you know—let it be an act of the United States House. This act will be used—the American Law Enforcement Heroes Act. And that's what it is: You're heroes. And so I want to just congratulate you. This one also has been a long time in the making. You're all heroes, aren't you? I think.

Arkansas State Attorney General Leslie C. Rutledge. Sure are. They are, they are.

The President. You're all heroes, yes?

[The President signed the bill.]

The President. That is fantastic. Who gets this pen, Mike? Who gets this pen? [The President handed the pen to Sheriff Champagne, who then passed it to Attorney General Rutledge.]

The President. Okay? [Applause] And thank you very much, everybody. This is slightly less controversial than yesterday—[laughter]—but yesterday was a big service to this country, I will tell you.

Thank you very much, everybody.

NOTE: The President spoke at 2:55 p.m. in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Assistant to the President Ivanka M. Trump. S. 419 and S. 583, approved June 2, were assigned Public Law No. 115-36 and 115-37, respectively. The transcript, prepared for immediate release by the Office of the Press Secretary, was received by the Office of the Federal Register on July 27.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks on Signing the Public Safety Officers' Benefits Improvement Act of 2017 and the American Law Enforcement Heroes Act of 2017 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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