U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs

Regina B. Schofield, Assistant Attorney General
Office of Justice Programs

Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor Reception
Washington, DC
July 12, 2005

Good afternoon, and welcome to the Department of Justice. I want to thank all of you for being here today. We appreciate you joining us as we celebrate the recipients of the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor.

I am Regina Schofield, the Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Justice Programs. OJP provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist crime victims. It is the Department of Justice's resource for federal, state, local, and tribal criminal and juvenile justice initiatives. OJP serves as the lead office for the Medal of Valor, with the Bureau of Justice Assistance administering the program. I would like to thank the Director of BJA, Domingo Herraiz, and his terrific staff for their work today.

All of us at OJP and the Department of Justice have long recognized the dedication and sacrifice of the brave men and women who protect our communities every day. I am honored and excited to have the opportunity to participate in this year's Medal of Valor ceremony.

As we begin the program, I want to acknowledge several special guests. Joining us today are two of the Medal of Valor Review Board members, Smokey Dyer and Bill Nolan. Also joining us is Art Gordon, President of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association. Art, Welcome.

We're also joined by Dan Rosenblatt, executive director of the International Association of Chiefs of Police; Cabell Cropper, executive director of the National Criminal Justice Association; and Sylvester Daughtry, executive director for the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. Gentleman, welcome.

For both the Department of Justice and the Medal of Valor Review Board, the safety and preparedness of America's public safety officers are among our highest priorities. The Medal of Valor is part of that mission. It recognizes the tremendous value that we place on the lives of the men and women who come face to face with mortal danger as they protect and serve our fellow citizens.

The Medal of Valor is a Presidential award and is our nation's highest commendation for bravery by law enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel, as well as courts and corrections officers.

This is the third year for the Medal of Valor, and this year we honor four individuals and a team who faced extreme danger with no regard to their own safety. They were selected from 165 nominations submitted by state government executives, mayors, police and fire chiefs, sheriffs, and emergency medical services directors. The Medal of Valor Review Board forwarded its selections to the Attorney General, who reviewed and approved the Board's recommendations, and requested the President's approval of the citations.

I join the Attorney General and the Department in recognizing the hard work and dedication of the Review Board, led by its chairman, Michael Branham. All of us salute Michael's long and distinguished career in law enforcement. In his own words, "the Board seeks to recognize the valiant actions of public safety officers that reflect the synergy of good training, instincts, teamwork, and wise judgment."

Earlier today, the Vice President welcomed the Medal of Valor recipients at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. The Vice President was joined by the Attorney General, who honors us again with his presence.

Judge Gonzales has been a close and trusted advisor to President Bush for many years. Before being appointed and confirmed as the nation's 80th Attorney General, Judge Gonzales served in the White House as the President's Counsel. While President Bush was Governor of Texas, he served as his General Counsel and then as the Texas Secretary of State before being appointed Justice on the Texas Supreme Court.

Judge Gonzales has devoted his career to the public good. Throughout his career, he has strongly supported the work of our nation's public safety officers, and he knows well the dangers they face each time they walk out their doors.

Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

* * * * *

Thank you, Judge Gonzales. Ladies and gentlemen, we will now present the recipients with their Medal of Valor certificates. I would ask all the recipients to come forward at this time.

We have Rodney Lee Chambers from the Amtrak Police Department in Washington, D.C.

Jennifer Fulford-Salvano, a deputy in the Orange County, Florida Sheriff's Office.

Andrew J. Phillips from the Marietta, Georgia Police Department.

Thomas D. Richards from the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Division of Police in Lexington, Kentucky.

And a team of six from the Kansas City, Missouri Fire Department: Phillip Atwood; David Bradley; Marvin Donaldson; Stephen Johnson; Patrick Martin; and Sean McKarnin.

All of the recipients please come forward.

* * * * *

On behalf of the President, the Vice President, and the Attorney General, I want to congratulate the 2004 Medal of Valor recipients and extend our gratitude to you. Your stories of courage and bravery are an inspiration to us all. Please join me in one last round of applause for them.

That concludes our program. Thank you again for attending today's celebration.

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