Two Miami FBI agents were killed a year ago. Honor them by creating safer communities | Opinion
FEBRUARY 01, 2022 6:00 AM
One year ago, two FBI Miami special agents went to work and didn’t come home. Dan Alfin and Laura Schwartzenberger started their day on February 2, 2021, as they had started many others throughout their career — preparing to conduct a court-ordered search warrant as part of a crimes against children investigation at an apartment complex in Sunrise, Florida. The subject was suspected of harboring child pornography.
They never made that search. As the search team announced their presence, the subject inside the apartment opened fire indiscriminately through the closed front door, killing Dan and Laura and wounding four other agents with them.
On that day, Dan and Laura joined 71 other law enforcement officers from around the country who were feloniously killed in the line of duty in the year 2021. They left behind loved ones: spouses, children, friends and family who loved them, and colleagues and co-workers who admired and respected their work. Dan and Laura left behind young children and heartbroken spouses.
Tragic. Traumatic. Needless.
As FBI Director Christopher Wray said last month in his op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, we owe it to them to redouble our efforts to take the most violent offenders off the streets and to make sure officers have the resources, equipment and training they need to do their jobs safely. Even more, we need to ensure these brave men and women know that the communities they serve have their backs.
Law enforcement is dangerous work performed by officers who put themselves at risk not knowing the situation they may encounter — challenging work that deserves our respect and admiration, undertaken by men and women who overwhelmingly act with the professionalism and commitment demanded of them.
I talk to law enforcement leaders every day from across South Florida. They are concerned about morale, retention and recruitment. They are committed to building and strengthening trust and transparency with the communities they serve daily.
While the lion’s share of the responsibility lies with law enforcement, everyone has a role. Community and government leaders and responsible citizens must consider how we talk about engaging with law enforcement. This is a noble effort. The payoff is safer, more bonded communities.
Let us all honor the memories of those law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice protecting others. Let us commit to working together to create safer communities and to improve the interactions between law enforcement and those they serve. Together, we can promote a unified effort to reduce violence in our communities and fight crime.
George L. Piro is the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Miami Field Office