State unveils new license plate honoring law enforcement and other first responders

CHARLESTON — U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart is calling on Gov. Jim Justice and state lawmakers to support a new West Virginia license plate that honors fallen victims of law enforcement.

Stuart unveiled the license plate with the words “Back the Blue” during a ceremony Thursday to recognize National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

“We’re calling on the governor and the Legislature to dedicate a percentage of the revenues from that license plate to the victims of fallen heroes,” Stuart said following the ceremony at the Charleston federal courthouse.

There are hundreds of crime victims across West Virginia who have dealt with abuse, assault, neglect, among other things, but Stuart said he wanted to dedicate this year’s ceremony to those who have died in the line duty, including the two Pratt volunteer firefighters killed in a fire truck wreck last month.

A moment of silence was held for Assistant Chief Mike Edwards and Lt. Tom Craigo.

“I was particularly struck by the tragedy and the depth of the tragedy. I’ve been praying over this and thought it would be inappropriate to have an event where you’re honoring the fallen heroes of law enforcement without honoring those folks,” Stuart said.

It’s a tough job, Stuart said, adding these men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice.

“There are no greater victims, no greater heroes in our communities than those fallen heroes — those folks that go up to a car in the middle of the night having no idea what’s going to be looking back at them. Those folks that rush into danger as opposed to rush away from it,” he said.

Families of fallen law enforcement officers attended Thursday’s ceremony. Each of them were honored with Stuart telling them, “We will never forget them.” Some families have been grieving over their loss for years.

“I talked with families where it was 12 years ago. We honored a fallen hero who died in 1958. He thinks of this every single day. Every single day he walks with this, so I thought it was important to say ‘we walk with you’,” Stuart said.

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