REMARKS AS PREPARED
May 3, 2016
It is my pleasure to be with you today as the State of Oregon honors and recognizes one hundred eighty-two law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our great state as law enforcement, corrections, and parole and probation officers.
I extend my gratitude to all of the law enforcement professionals from city, county, state, tribal, and federal agencies who are with us today. Your dedicated service to our state is not taken for granted and is greatly appreciated.
I also extend a special welcome to the families, friends, and colleagues of those we honor today. We know there are no words that can restore your loss — but know that the legacies of each officers will not be forgotten.
As we reflect on the service and sacrifice of our fallen officers and their families, I ask that you look to your right and up the driveway. A United States flag is placed there to honor each of our state’s fallen officers. One hundred eighty-two flags line the driveway. Each of these flags tells a story. They tell the story of an officer, his or her agency, the incident, the family left behind, and the rich history of the Oregon law enforcement community.
Today we’re here to tell and remember the story of Coos County Sheriff Deputy Gil Datan [DAY-ton]. Deputy Gil Datan was tragically killed April 20, 2015 while serving in the line of duty.
We gather today to honor Deputy Datan, and next year, another U.S. flag will join the others in honor of Sergeant Jason Goodding of the Seaside Police Department.
It is my sincere hope that no additional names are added to this memorial next year -- or any year hence. The losses suffered by the Coos County and Seaside communities are just two reminders of the dangers faced by the Oregon men and women who take an oath to serve and protect.
In true Oregonian form, their home communities came together to bring comfort to the families of these brave young men, and heartfelt condolences poured in from across the state.
In Coos County, some fifteen hundred families, friends and fellow law enforcement officers gathered to honor Deputy Gil Datan at his memorial last spring. Deputy Datan had served nineteen years as a law enforcement officer, including five years with the Coos County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputy Datan is remembered not only for not only his selfless service to his community, but also as a warm, loving family man.
In uniform, Deputy Datan put the safety and wellbeing of others ahead of his own. In 1999, Deputy Datan saw smoke coming from a house and rushed in to pull an unconscious woman from the burning interior. His actions that day led to the capture of a wanted murder suspect.
Last year, it was my honor to recognize Deputy Gil Datan’s heroism in the line of duty by posthumously awarding him the Medal of Honor. Oregon owes a debt of gratitude to Deputy Datan for the ultimate sacrifice he made in service to our state.
On behalf of all Oregonians, I thank the Datan family for your sacrifices, and offer my sincere condolences for your loss. We will never forget Deputy Gil Datan’s dedication, and we honor his memory.
It is now my great pleasure to introduce our keynote speaker, Dianne Bernhard, Executive Director of the Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.).
C.O.P.S. is dedicated to rebuilding shattered lives of survivors and co-workers affected by line-of-duty deaths. Nationally, between 140 and 160 law enforcement professionals are killed in the line of duty each year. C.O.P.S. is always there to provide support and resources to the families and colleagues of our fallen officers.
Please join me in welcoming Diane Bernhard.