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On behalf of the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO), I want to recognize the dedication and service of the U.S. Capitol Police and the other state, local and federal law enforcement agencies who responded to the riot and violence at the U.S. Capitol yesterday.

We recognize and acknowledge that there are great political divides in our nation.  As law enforcement officers, the first law we are sworn to uphold is the Constitution of the United States. And we strive to protect all the rights contained therein, including First Amendment rights. At the same time, mass protests regarding controversial issues present an extremely volatile situation, and the deliberate and provocative acts of a few can swiftly turn what was a relatively peaceful assembly into a dangerous and violent mob.

Officers, in fact, put their own safety at risk in protecting the legitimate First Amendment rights of protesters, even those protesters who vilify and despise the police. They also risk their own safety in restoring public order and welfare when it is threatened by violent criminals, regardless of the political motivations or beliefs of the individual persons involved.