May 14, 2020
WASHINGTON – As part of National Police Week, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) today spoke on the Senate floor to honor the three Missouri law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty in the last year: Lakeshire Chief of Police Wayne Neidenberg, North County Police Cooperative Officer Michael Langsdorf, and Springfield Police Officer Christopher Walsh.
Blunt, the co-chair of the Senate Law Enforcement Caucus, also discussed congressional efforts to help ensure law enforcement officers have the support, training, and equipment they need to do their jobs.
Following are Blunt’s Remarks:
“Mr. President, this is National Police Week, it's one of the weeks that I always look forward to. It's, for years now, been an opportunity to spend time with people who protect us, who protect all of us. We get a chance each day to say thank you to the Capitol Police who work here at the Capitol. As the chairman of the law enforcement caucus, I have lots of opportunities in our state to see officers in groups and one at a time. And I always try to be thankful to them when I see them.
“This was a time every year when we got a chance to see people from all over the country come to Washington and get a chance for us to say thank you to them and thank you to their families. Particularly this year, Chief Jon Belmar, the just recently retiring chief at the St. Louis County Police Department, a good friend, always there for advice, always brought a big contingent and came with a contingent of officers to Police Week. So I'm thinking about him and not seeing him at Police Week in Washington.
“As I'm also, Mr. President, thinking about the new chief of the St. Louis County Police Department, Chief Mary Barton. That's a county of over a million people, it is a substantial job. It's a place to really affect how police work is done, and I look forward to spending time with Chief Barton as she moves forward with what she can do to build on what's happened in that department over the years. Like everything else, or like so much else this year, Police Week is different than it's been before. No sounds of hundreds of motorcycles going down the streets of Washington as we celebrate the week. No groups of law enforcement officers or police vehicles from all over the country coming here.
“I'm grateful for them. They protect our safety. This is a job where every day when you leave home, you have no idea of what events may come before you that day and frankly your family has no idea what may happen that day. …
“Sadly in the past year, Missouri lost three dedicated officers. Last June, Lakeshire Chief Wayne Neidenberg passed away after assisting at the scene of a rollover crash in O'Fallon, Missouri. Chief Neidenberg had stopped at the scene on his way home, called for assistance, provided aid, proceeded on after the situation was stabilized, but before he got out of his car at home, he had a heart attack and we lost Chief Neidenberg at that moment.
“He'd spent his entire career in law enforcement serving in both the St. Louis County Police Department and the Lakeshire Police Department. He was an Army veteran, he's survived by his wife Ardell, his daughter Cori, and three sons Matthew, Darek, and Aaron.
“On Sunday June the 23rd, North County Police Cooperative Officer Michael Langsdorf responded to a complaint of check fraud at a local business in Wellston, Missouri. The man who has been charged with his murder shot Officer Langsdorf after a struggle inside the store. He'd served the department for only three months, but before that, he'd, for 17 years, been part of the St. Louis City Metropolitan Police Force.
“At his memorial service, Officer Langsdorf’s son, Kaleb, remembered his dad this way, according to Kaleb's quote was: ‘They say never to meet your heroes because you'll end up disappointed. Well, I had the chance to be raised by mine and he never disappointed. He taught me that [a] life [of] rescuing, defending, and serving is the only life worth living.’ In addition to Kaleb, Officer Langsdorf is survived by his fiancée Kim, his daughter Olivia, and future stepchildren Devin and Kaitlyn.
“Officer Christopher Walsh joined the Springfield Police Department in 2016. On the evening of Sunday, March the 15th of this year, Officer Walsh responded to an active shooter situation at a convenience store. The shooter had opened fire in the store, killing three people and injuring a fourth person. Officer Walsh rushed into harm’s way to protect others. The shooter opened fire on Officer Walsh, killed him, and his fellow officer, Josiah Overton, was injured in the same attack. Officer Walsh, fatally wounded, died the next day.
“He'd been a U.S. Army reservist, 14 years of service in the reserves. He'd been to Iraq and completed tours there and Afghanistan. His wife, Sheri, and their daughter, Morgan, will live with his loss for the rest of their lives. Let me share a passage from Chris's obituary. ...
“So the quote from his obituary was, ‘Christopher Ryan Walsh, a man devoid of vanity and devoted to the service and to the welfare of others, would hope that out of these tragic circumstances something beautiful could take [root] in all our hearts. Chris would hope that his memory would serve as an example to spur small kindnesses and acts of devotion and service to all of our community, friends, and loved ones. To look past the things that separate us and focus on the things that unite us.’
“So Police Week, Mr. President, is exactly the time to think about the things that unite us, to think about these officers and their courage, to think about acts of devotion and service as we remember them. [In] Congress, we want to make sure that law enforcement officers have the support they need and never go into a situation with less than you would hope they would have to back them up. I'm honored to serve as the co-chairman of the bipartisan Senate Law Enforcement Caucus, which advances legislation that supports the efforts of law enforcement nationwide. …
“So Police Week is different this year. … This is not an easy time for any of those who serve, but it's the week we, every year, remember law enforcement. This is a year, I think, it's particularly easy to be grateful to those who serve and protect us.”