Good morning. Today is a difficult day, but it is also an important day, and a necessary one. It is a day when we mourn and reflect, but also take time to give praise and homage. It’s a day when brave men and women and their families, who all too often go unrecognized by the public, are reassured that their hard work and sacrifices are valued and appreciated.
The job of a parole officer is very challenging and demanding. Your families know that. Your peers know that, and I want to assure you that I know that as well. I not only am appreciative of the work you do for this agency, your community, and this state, but I also am very proud of the work you day every day. Each morning when you wake up, you face the possibility, that, without any advance warning, you could be placed in a very difficult or dangerous situation; one that could mean life or death, not only yourself, but for someone else as well.
Many times that someone else is a person whom society has given up on. However, as professionals, we must care about them. The onus of carrying out the mission of this Department to help offenders successfully reenter the community, is your first priority. At times you are put in harm’s way, yet you continue to focus on the job and you do so with honor and dignity. For all of that, I say well done and thank you.
Earlier this month, we stopped our busy lives and took a moment to remember those who lost their lives on September 11th . We also took time to remember those heroes who rushed in to help that day, and for many days thereafter, whether it was the first responders, the police officers, the fire-fighters, or the men and women who went overseas to defend us from further terrorism. The message is and always will be “never forget” all those who protect and defend us every day.
Included within that category of those who protect and defend us every day, are parole officers. Although you typically do not find yourselves in the limelight with a lot of fanfare, nevertheless, you deserve to be saluted, just like all of our brethren in the law enforcement and public safety community. The sacrifices you make to protect us all are very real. You need look no further than the wall behind me for a sobering reminder of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of public safety.
Fortunately it’s been seven years since we have had to add a name on this wall. But just because we haven’t recently added a new name, does not mean that we have forgotten those who came before us. It is not only important but it is necessary to continue to honor and remember those who gave their lives in the line of duty, protecting the people of New York State. Their deaths are significant moments in time that deserve our attention -- not just once a year, but every day. And the best way to honor these men and women is for you and me, and everyone else in our Department, to proudly and bravely carry out the mission of this agency.