U.S. Senators file resolution in honor of 3 slain Mo. officers

The resolution expresses condolences to the families of the officers who were killed in the line of duty in March

By Joe Hadsall
The Joplin Globe, Mo.

WASHINGTON — Missouri's two U.S. senators submitted a resolution honoring three fallen police officers amid a rising tide of violence against police.

Republican Sens. Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley announced that they will introduce a Senate resolution in honor of three police officers who were killed in the line of duty last month. All three of them had connections to Jasper County:

Cpl. Ben Cooper and Officer Jake Reed, of the Joplin Police Department, were shot March 8 while attempting to take a suspect into custody. Cooper was declared dead that day; Reed later succumbed to his injuries. Officer Rick Hirshey was also shot by the same suspect that day in a different location; he is recovering from his injuries.

Officer Lane Burns, of the Bonne Terre Police Department near St. Louis, was shot and killed March 17 will responding to a reported disturbance at a motel. Another officer was injured in the exchange. Burns, a Carthage native, was buried in a cemetery near La Russell.

From left to right, Officer Lane Burns, Officer Jake Reed and Cpl. Ben Cooper.
From left to right, Officer Lane Burns, Officer Jake Reed and Cpl. Ben Cooper.

The text of the resolution expresses condolences and appreciation to the families of the officers, recognizing their heroism and sacrifice, according to a news release from Hawley's office. It also noted that six Missouri police officers were shot in the line of duty in March.

In an interview with "60 Minutes," FBI Director Christopher Wray said that while violence is increasing, violence targeting police officers is also on the rise — calling it "one of the biggest phenomena that I think doesn't get enough attention." Wray said 73 officers were killed in 2021, marking an increase of 59% when compared with those of 2020.

"One of the phenomena that we saw in the last year is that an alarming percentage of the 73 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty last year were killed through things like being ambushed, or shot while out on patrol," Wray said during the interview, which aired Sunday. "Wearing the badge shouldn't make you a target."

The resolution, numbered S.Res.594, was filed on Monday, according to Congressional records. A Senate resolution is an expression of the Senate's collective sentiment on an issue, person or event, and carries no binding law.

A spokesperson with Blunt's office said Blunt has joined a bipartisan group of senators supporting a bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R- Iowa, that would establish mental health programs for first responders who suffer long-term effects caused by responding to dangerous or tragic situations. Blunt co-chairs the Senate Law Enforcement Caucus.

A spokesperson with Hawley's office sent a list of bills the senator proposed in 2021 dealing with boosting law enforcement.

A measure specifically addressing increased attacks against law enforcement officers has not yet been proposed from Blunt's or Hawley's offices, according to their spokespeople.

(c)2022 The Joplin Globe (Joplin, Mo.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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