In Honor of National Police Week, Phillips Salutes and Thanks Minnesota Law Enforcement

May 12, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today, Rep. Dean Phillips (MN-03) spoke on the House floor during a Special Order Hour organized by Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) to honor Minnesota law enforcement officers and their sacrifices made in the line of duty.

“As a Gold Star Son, I empathize with and salute the overwhelmingly honorable men and women who don a uniform and risk their lives every day to protect our country, and our communities – all too often without the appreciation or support they deserve,” said Rep. Phillips. “So I rise today to express gratitude to the 11,000 police officers who serve and protect the residents of my home state of Minnesota – and in particular to those officers who made the ultimate sacrifice to do so.

In his remarks, Phillips paid tribute to Major Dawanna Witt, an officer who rose from adversity to a leadership position in the Hennepin County Sherriff’s office. A fierce advocate for both law enforcement and police reform, Major Witt embodies the character and values that define community policing in MN-03.

Click here to watch the speech

 

Remarks as prepared:

Thank you to the Gentlelady from Florida for yielding and for organizing this important Special Order Hour.

As a Gold Star son who lost his father in the Vietnam War, I empathize with and salute the overwhelmingly honorable men and women who don a uniform and risk their lives every day to protect our country, and our communities – all too often without the appreciation or support they deserve.

So I rise today to express gratitude to the 11,000 police officers who serve and protect the residents of my home state of Minnesota, and in particular to those officers who made the ultimate sacrifice to do so.

I’m proud of the law enforcement agencies that serve Hennepin and Carver Counties in Minnesota’s 3rd District – innovative and well-led police departments committed to building cultures and communities in which everyone feels safe.

That includes people like Dawanna Witt, whose remarkable life story of perseverance embodies the very best of our law enforcement community. Ms. Witt grew-up surrounded by alcoholism and drug addiction, was subject to sexual abuse, had her first baby at age 15, and lived with her newborn in a homeless shelter.

But she finished high school with honors, then received her bachelor’s degree, and then her master’s.

And today she is Major Witt, a grandmother of two, supervisor of 500 employees of the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, and a rising star in the Minnesota law enforcement community.

Major Witt will be the first to tell you that we need police reform. That systemic racism DOES exist, and that racial profiling is real. She will also tell you that more must be done to protect our valiant officers from harm.

So I invite my colleagues – and our entire country – to join me in celebrating Major Witt and the hundreds of thousands of law enforcement professionals like her who have committed their professional lives to helping America become a more safe, equitable, just, and perfect union.

I yield back.

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