U.S. Attorney General William Barr delivered on Friday a eulogy for Detective James Skernivitz, a veteran law enforcement officer who was tragically killed while working undercover on the Justice Department’s “Operation Legend,” The Epoch Times reported.
Skernivitz’s funeral comes as a somber reminder of the dangers that the men and women working in law enforcement face every day.
Ambushed in the line of duty
Detective Skernivitz was alone in an unmarked car on Sept. 3 when he was shot to death in what was reportedly an attempt at armed robbery.
“As a veteran officer,” Barr said of Skernivitz, “he didn’t have to take on that dangerous mission. He could have let someone else do it, especially given the risks to police officers nowadays. Once again he volunteered, and once again he made a difference,” the AG added, according to The Epoch Times.
Indeed, Skernivitz didn’t have to be there that night. But his dedication is a testament to how much those in uniform risk to Americans safe.
“I witnessed first-hand the superb work that he and his colleagues were doing to get violent criminals off the streets,” Barr said of the detective Friday.
He went on: “It was only a few days after my visit that Jim was killed in the line of duty, making the ultimate sacrifice by laying down his life for the community he served.”
According to The Epoch Times, Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams also spoke about Skernivitz.
“The reasons for becoming a police officer? His answer was: I wanted to protect the city that I grew up in and make it safe,” Williams said. “What he did out there for our city was to try to lift not individuals, not neighborhoods, not groups, but an entire city, to a higher and more noble life.”
Operation Legend, which Skernivitz was working on, was created on the back of a promise made by President Donald Trump to combat the sudden rise in violent crime throughout American cities amid ongoing protests against alleged police brutality.
“The Department’s Operation Legend is named in honor of one of Kansas City’s youngest victims, four-year old LeGend Taliferro, who was shot in the face while sleeping in his bed,” Barr said at the start of the operation. “LeGend’s death is a horrifying reminder that violent crime left unchecked is a threat to us all and cannot be allowed to continue.”
As of Sept. 3, Operation Legend has led to the arrest of over 2,000 offenders, according to the Justice Department. A full 147 of those arrests were on homicide charges.