Slain Police Officers Remembered: Laws Urged to Guard Public-Safety Workers

Article excerpt

The three D.C. police officers killed since February were foremost on the minds of those who gathered at Washington National Cathedral yesterday for a service dedicated to city police officers, firefighters and rescue workers.

Representatives of the District's Police and Fire departments were in attendance as Eric H. Holder Jr., the U.S. attorney for the District, delivered a sermon in which he challenged city residents to help rejuvenate a segment of the population suffering from spiritual poverty.

"It is entirely appropriate that today in this great cathedral we gather to remember, to honor and to pray for the brave men and women, and their families, who through their ultimate sacrifice have made a difference in all our lives," Mr. Holder told the several hundred worshipers at the 11 a.m. service.

In the wake of the officers' killings, the shots fired at ambulance workers in December and the regular dangers firefighters face, Mr. Holder called for stronger laws to protect the District's police and public-safety workers.

"Those who would attack them must be held accountable, in the harshest way, for their acts," he said.

On Feb. 5, Officer Brian Gibson was killed in his police cruiser while stopped at a light outside a D.C. nightclub. On Feb. 26, Officer Oliver Smith Jr. was killed in a robbery outside his Prince George's County apartment. On April 26, Officer Robert Johnson was killed near the 3rd District police station while waiting to celebrate an officer's birthday. …