At hearing on Capitol Hill, FBI director addresses dangers facing law enforcement

FBI Director Christopher Wray used his opening statement to make an emotional appeal to the American public to recognize the sacrifice law enforcement officers make.
6:52 | 07/23/19

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Transcript for At hearing on Capitol Hill, FBI director addresses dangers facing law enforcement
I had originally intended to start. With a few comments from my statement for the record which talks about some of the extraordinary work being done by the men and women of the FBI's some of the threats we face but. What do something a little different and talk about an issue that's particularly New Year's the year to me in that I think frankly doesn't get the attention it deserves. A before it turned to the many important questions of the committee. As you say senator Feinstein have been in the job just under two years and one of the toughest things about this job. Is the loss but the law enforcement officer. And certainly at the FBI we've experienced our share of laws but the success. Of the FBI also depends. Greatly. On the support of art dedicates state and local law enforcement partners who patrol or neighborhoods. Protect our streets all across America and I see that. Much more clearly now after having visited all 56. Of the FBI's field offices and having spoken directly with local law enforcement and it's from every one of your states. Our state and local partners serve on the FBI's joint terrorism task forces all across the country they're forced multiple wires. In our fight against drug trafficking. And taking them gangs. In saving kids who've been kidnapped and countless other efforts that help keep Americans safe. They also give the FBI a much clearer understanding. Of the threats across the different communities in your states. And ideas about how we can better combat together. Every time I attend an FBI graduation for new agents and analysts at Quantico. A significant number of those graduates are former state. And local officers and I have the privilege of shaking their hands presenting them with their credentials and welcome. To the FBI family so it line of duty death. Is personal to the FBI's personal to me. As director. I have a feeling it's personal to a number of U. Since I became director shortly thereafter I asked my team to let me know every time an officer is shot and killed on duty in this country. And every time it happens I asked for a picture. Of the officer and I read about his or her family. And about how long it's her. And then I pick up the phone. I called the chief. The sheriff or the commissioner. And on behalf of the entire FBI extend much support. And our condolences. And I will tell you that made an awful lot of those calls. To heartbroken police department way way too money just. Just last month for example I was overseas meeting with foreign counterparts and I found myself making. Five. Of those calls in nine days back the United States. That's five. Lost protectors of communities five. Grieving families and colleagues. All in a matter of days. One of the calls I made. Was to Sacramento police department. Home senator fights and a view and square senator Harris. Just a few weeks ago on June 19 officer Tara O'Sullivan was killed while responding to a domestic disturbance. She was 26 years old. And she'd only been on the job for about six months. Another call I made literally. Only about a day later. Was to the home state senator cornyn and senator crews. Corporal Jose its brick way to from the mission police department. Was killed trying to catch a guy who it threatened his family. With a gun and then fled on foot. Corpus fair equator was 44 years old. And had a wife and two kids so these calls never. Get an easier. In just under two years as director of authority had to make condolence calls like that. To more than half of the states represented on this committee. And I've had to speak to some chiefs and sheriffs more than once. I'll never forget for example last September. When I called Brookhaven Mississippi police department. After two. Of their men were killed. Put that in context they had an entire police force of 38 people. Unfortunately we've already had two more officers shot and killed in the line duty just this month. One was an officer killed in Arkansas. Is pastors. So I've mentioned only a few. Specific. Tragic incidents but I cannot stress enough that this is a problem that affects. Cities and towns big and small all over the country can happen anywhere it can happen any time. And the level of violence. Against law enforcement in this country doesn't get a whole lot of national coverage. And I worry often that Americans don't realize the extent of the problem. That's may be understandable because they don't see what I see in my job that devastating loss in each one of these instances to the loved ones left behind. And the loss to the FBI. And to our communities of partners. Who as I say are so critical to our mission. Finally I want folks to remember. But the dangers of this work go beyond just in towners with potentially deadly criminals. Think of the wanted duty deaths and illnesses that we're seeing now from our 9/11 first responders I know. That as director I've spoken and not one not two but three. Of our own agents who died as a result of their work in response to those attacks. And there are countless. Other kinds of examples so I know our country faces a daunting list of challenges and I'm confident we're going to be discussing any number of them together it this hearing. But I do want to make sure folks around this country are not forgetting. The good work. Of the people who were putting everything on the line it takes. An incredibly special person to be willing to put his or her life on the line for it complete stranger. And to get up every morning day after day after day to do that. I think is extraordinary. So I think we owe it to them into their fallen comrades to do whatever we can to make their work safer. We need to promote understanding and respect. For their roles and all of us as Americans. Owe them a profound debt of gratitude so. Appreciate the committee extending me the privilege. And honor its FBI director. To honor their sacrifice. In this job some be happy to answer these questions.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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