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Thune Honors Law Enforcement, Fallen South Dakota Officer During Police Week

“[M]ay God richly bless all the men and women who serve our nation as police officers. And may He protect them as they stand on guard for us.”

May 16, 2024

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today spoke on the Senate floor to commemorate National Police Week and honor law enforcement officers and their families for their service. Thune paid tribute to Moody County Chief Deputy Sheriff Ken Prorok, who was tragically killed in the line of duty earlier this year.

Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):

“Mr. President, this week is Police Week – a week to honor our nation’s law enforcement officers.

“These men and women have had a challenging few years.

“Unsurprisingly, calls to defund the police and attacks on the vital work they do left a lot of officers discouraged and demoralized – even as they were asked to shoulder the same burdens with less support.

“Fortunately, Mr. President, I think time has started to provide a corrective.

“As we’ve watched crime take a toll on American cities, I think governments and individuals are more and more remembering just how much we need the men and women who bring order and safety to America’s streets.

“And I hope and pray that we are coming to this week with a greater appreciation for the essential work these men and women perform.

“I said essential, Mr. President, and they are.

“But let’s remember something else as well.

“Police officers aren’t just necessary – they’re noble.

“They sign up for a heroic line of work.

“For a job that asks them to get up in the morning and go out and put themselves in danger to keep the rest of us out of it.

“And that asks them to do that day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.

“And they do it willingly. Gladly.

“And when they’re not doing the big things, Mr. President – the hard, heroic work of confronting dangerous situations and individuals – you can frequently find police officers doing the little things as well.

“Speaking to a school class. Helping out a stranded motorist. Buying shoes for a child in need.

“Police officers don’t just defend our communities; they play a vital role in building them up.

“Mr. President, I am particularly grateful for our law enforcement officers in South Dakota, who work so hard in communities across our state.

“They’ve shared challenges faced by other police departments across the country over the last few years – including dealing with deadly drugs like fentanyl coming over the border and making their way around the United States.

“And they face some specific South Dakota challenges.

“I am also deeply grateful for the Capitol Police here in Washington, D.C., who spend their days ensuring members of Congress, our staffs, and the many visitors to the U.S. Capitol building can go about their days in safety.

“And, Mr. President, I am grateful to the families.

“Having a husband or wife, a dad or mom, who is a police officer is not always an easy thing.

“Knowing that your parent or spouse may not come home from work one day is a difficult burden to carry.

“And in this Police Week, as we contemplate the service and sacrifice of our nation’s police officers, it is important to remember the service and sacrifice of their families as well.

“Mr. President, before I close, I want to mention the heroic service of Moody County Chief Deputy Ken Prorok, of South Dakota, who was killed in the line of duty in February of this year.

“And I just want to read a couple of lines from the Officer Down Memorial Page on Chief Deputy Prorok’s actions.

“I quote: ‘Chief Deputy Sheriff Ken Prorok was struck and killed by the driver of a vehicle being pursued by the Madison Police Department at 4:12 p.m. Chief Deputy Prorok responded to the call for assistance and was deploying spike strips at South Dakota Highway 34 and 472nd Avenue in Colman. The driver intentionally swerved toward Chief Deputy Prorok, killing him.’

“And, Mr. President, the line that stands out for me the most in that memorial is this: ‘Chief Deputy Prorok responded to the call for assistance.’

“He heard a call for help and he went to answer it, knowing full well that he could be placing himself in danger, up to and including the loss of his life.

“But he went anyway.

“That, Mr. President, is the heroism of Chief Deputy Prorok – and it is the heroism of all the men and women across our country who serve in our nation’s police forces, and who, when they hear a call for help, go out to answer it.

“Mr. President, may God richly bless all the men and women who serve our nation as police officers.

“And may He protect them as they stand on guard for us.

“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”