‘I waited too late’: Emotional Trey Gowdy shares personal confession in powerful tribute to fallen officers

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After fallen U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick was laid to rest this week, former South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy delivered an emotional statement in his honor.

Speaking on Fox News’ “Fox News Primetime,” which the former lawmaker hosted this week, he spoke specifically of the desperate need for Americans to thank law enforcement officers before it’s too late and they’re gone.

“As I watched the ceremony in the rotunda for Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick today, I was reminded again of the sacred trust that exists between the police and us. We give the police awesome powers, and we have high expectations for the police, and they have the right to expect certain things from us too,” his statement began.

“There are a lot of hard jobs in our country, but I can’t imagine anything harder than being a police officer. The hours are long, the pay is not good, the job is hard on your family, there are physical dangers, but there is also an emotional price to pay,” Gowdy added.

Listen to Gowdy’s full statement below:

(Source: Fox News)

Indeed, according to the Department of Justice’s COPS Office, roughly 15 percent of officers experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder due to all the traumatic events they witness.

“When you spend most of your time investigating acts of depravity and evil, you get the proportions misaligned in your own mind. Sometimes when depravity is all you see, you think it is all that exists. When you are a cop, you see people at their worst. But that’s not all you see,” the former congressman continued.

“You see the crime scene photos that you can’t get out of your mind. You see the acts of violence committed against children and other vulnerable people. You are expected to run towards danger when every instinct tells us to run away from danger. You are lied to. You are assaulted,” he continued.

Fact-check: TRUE.

“And then everything you did or did not do is scrutinized. You make hard decisions sometimes — split-second decisions. And then the people judging those decisions can take weeks and months to decide whether or not you made the right call,” Gowdy continued.

“I want us to have high expectations for cops because they have awesome powers, but I want them to have high expectations of us too. And too often the only time we think about cops is when they get in trouble or when they’re killed in the line of duty. We don’t call the cops when things are going well in life,” he said.

Gowdy had to learn this lesson the hard way back when he was a prosecutor in South Carolina.

I prosecuted a murder case in South Carolina years ago, and the cop on that case was outstanding. It was a tough, emotional case, but he was great. He was professional, and he was compassionate and I wanted to tell him what a great job he had done. But the verdict came back and the sentencing hearing was about to begin, and he slipped out of the back of the courtroom,” he recounted.

It’s OK, I thought to myself, I’ll see him again, and I’ll make sure he knows what a great job he did. He was young, and he was talented, and he had a bright future, so I knew that I would see him again. And when I saw him again, I could thank him,” Gowdy explained.

Except he never had the opportunity.

But the next time I saw him, he was lying on the side of a road shot to death while serving a warrant. I waited too late,” Gowdy explained as his voice began to crack from emotion.

The officer he spoke of was fallen Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Kevin Carper, who died during a foot chase on Feb. 27, 2007.

Gowdy also spoke about him during a speech on the House floor four years ago:

Given all the recent officer deaths, from that of Sicknick to the two FBI agents who were killed in Florida, it’s paramount that the lesson he learned the hard way years ago be embraced by the public now before it’s too late, he added.

“We lost a police officer during the storming of the capitol. We lost FBI agents yesterday. My hope is we can all do a better job of appreciating cops in the job they do before it’s too late,” he said.

“We should have high expectations of them, but they should have high expectations of us too. And one of those expectations is to simply say thank you while they’re still able to hear us,” Gowdy said. “So to every law enforcement officer in the country who can still hear us, thank you for your service from all of us, and goodnight.”

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Vivek Saxena

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