The International Association of Chiefs of Police, this week, hosted its Southern Region Conference in Orlando. Police chiefs and state troopers from across the South attended the conference and shared strategies to fight drug trafficking, rescue human trafficking victims and prevent terrorism.

I was excited to meet with these dedicated public servants, and on my way to the conference I was reminded of just how vital they are to our nation’s security. As we headed to Orlando, news broke of a shooting in Orange County—claiming the lives of five victims.

The crime occurred one week before the first anniversary of the Pulse nightclub attack—the worst terrorist attack in the United States since 9/11—and just days after a terrorist attack in London that claimed the lives of eight people. These attacks remind us that there is pure evil in this world, and good men and women are the only defense against those who want to terrorize our communities. Now more than ever we rely on law enforcement to protect our safety and way of life.

I am proud to stand with our brave law enforcement officers in Florida and nationwide; and I am grateful that I could thank a few of them this week face-to-face at the IACP’s Southern Region Conference. It is because of courageous law enforcement officers and brave military members that we remain the greatest country on earth and a beacon of freedom to the world.

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