- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Attorney General William P. Barr Tuesday urged Americans to give police officers the respect they deserve as he honored some of the top cops across the nation.

“They have to start showing more respect than they do,” Mr. Barr said of the public. “If communities don’t give [law enforcement] the support and respect they deserve, they may find themselves without the services they need.”

Mr. Barr said the lack of respect has made the job more dangerous.

“You put your life and well-being on the line to protect your communities and your families spend anxious nights, night after night, so the rest of us can sleep in peace,” he continued. “That job has always been a difficult job but … there is no time where it is more difficult than today.”

The attorney general noted that public sentiment about the military shifted from animosity in the post-Vietnam years to one of appreciation in recent years. He called for the public to show the same respect to law enforcement officials.

Mr. Barr’s comments came at the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Policing ceremony. It is the highest recognition the Justice Department bestows on law enforcement.

The Justice Department honored 19 officers from 12 jurisdictions across the country. This year, the department received 199 nominations for 414 individuals.

A New York police detective who linked the murder of a young man to MS-13 gang members became the first law enforcement officer to posthumously receive the award.

Detective William Maldonado of the Suffolk County Police Department died in April 2018 after a three-year battle with colon cancer. Mr. Maldonado’s investigation helped dismantle MS-13’s Long Island operations, the Justice Department said.

Others honored by the department included a pair of Providence, Rhode Island, detectives who solved the abduction and sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl; Officer Jonathan Plunkett of the Irving, Texas, Police Department for his efforts to bridge the gap between the black community and law enforcement; and a team of officers from the Prince William County Police Department in Virginia on their response to a 2018 mass shooting.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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