May 18 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) spoke on the Senate floor honoring the service and sacrifice of law enforcement officers during National Police Week.

Watch Senator Tillis’ floor speech HERE. 

Senator Tillis on the three North Carolina officers who made the ultimate sacrifice:

“Over the past year, North Carolina has tragically lost three law enforcement officers in the line of duty. This doesn’t include the numerous law enforcement offices we also lost over the last year due to other causes, including some due to COVID-19. I’d like to take a moment to honor those three officers who lost their lives while protecting those they served. Last October, we lost Ryan Hayworth of the Knightdale Police Department after his patrol vehicle was hit by a drunk driver. Officer Hayworth was only 23 years old, and yet he already had a distinguished record of service. He served in the U.S. Army and the National Guard. He answered the call again by becoming a police officer, following the footsteps of his father, who was the longtime chief of the Zebulon Police Department, and his brother, who is a firefighter. Last December, only days before Christmas, my home county of Mecklenburg grieved the loss of CMPD officer Mia Danielle Figueroa-Goodwin. Officer Figueroa-Goodwin only 33, was tragically killed when a tractor-trailer hit her patrol car as she was working to keep drivers safe following a previous crash. Officer Figueroa-Goodwin had served CMPD for six years. And she had a beautiful family, survived by her husband and three young children, including a four-month-old baby. In January, we lost North Carolina State Trooper John Horton in a tragic car accident with another patrol vehicle as the area faced icy and dangerous driving conditions. The accident also tragically took the life of another driver. Trooper Horton had served for 15 years, and he is survived by his wife and six children.”

Senator Tillis on the danger law enforcement officers face:

“The incredible sacrifice from our brave men and women in blue can take many forms. Last month, an act of incredible bravery by a North Carolina State Highway Patrol Trooper Cody Thao captivated North Carolinians. When a suspected drunk driver’s car was barreling the wrong way down a highway exit ramp, Trooper Thao bravely put himself and his patrol car in the way to stop the driver from hurting and killing others. Instead of speeding the wrong way on the highway, the suspect was stopped by Trooper Thao’s split-second decision to angle his car and let the driver crash into him. This remarkable act was filmed by Trooper Thao’s dashboard camera, and his bravery has been broadcast to the world. Trooper Thao’s selfless decision undoubtedly saved lives and serves as a reminder of the danger our law enforcement community faces each and every day to keep us safe.” 

Senator Tillis on supporting law enforcement officers:

“I am deeply encouraged by the outpouring of support from North Carolina communities for our brave, hardworking law enforcement officers. While some in the DC bubble take anti-police policies seriously, North Carolinians and Americans back home respect and support law enforcement. The American people understand that law enforcement officers make our communities safer and stronger. They understand that proposals to abolish and defund the police are out of touch with reality. The reality is that rhetorical attacks on law enforcement only serve to encourage physical attacks on law enforcement…That is why I am very proud to have introduced the Protect and Serve Act. This commonsense legislation would make it a federal crime to intentionally assault a law enforcement officer. This bill has received bipartisan support in the past, and I believe would make a strong statement to criminals that assaulting law enforcement is inexcusable. With the Protect and Serve Act, criminals would be on notice that an assault on law enforcement is an assault on all Americans.”