PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Allegheny County Sheriff released a letter on social media addressing the demands of recent protests, calling for people to respect officers who have fallen in the line of duty.

Sheriff William P. Mullen started the letter expressing his support of calls for police reform, condemning the actions of the Minneapolis officers involved in the death of George Floyd. From there, Mullen said he “must take up” the names of 16 local police officers killed in the line of duty.

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“The names of these individuals, heroes killed within the last twenty years, have been forgotten by many,” Mullen wrote. “Yet still the families of these men: mothers, fathers, siblings, spouses and children; must now watch as the reputation of all public safety officers is destroyed. Police survivor families live the sacrifice every day. Their loved ones have already proven their decency; left their legacies. Why must they now be disgraced? Especially when you consider the fact that in only one of these 16 killings did an officer initiate gunfire. Good police, such as the fallen law enforcement officers of our region, do not deserve to be desecrated due to the deplorable actions of bad cops.”

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The letter proceeds to list the names of the 16 officers: Officer James Naim of Aliquippa Police, Trooper Joesph Sepp Jr. of Pennsylvania State Police, Corporal Joesph Pokomy Jr. of Pennsylvania State Police, Special Agent Samuel Hicks of Pittsburgh’s FBI division, Officer Eric Kelly of Pittsburgh Police, Officer Stephen Mayhle of Pittsburgh Police, Officer Paul Scuillo of Pittsburgh Police, Officer Michael Crawshaw of Penn Hills Police, Trooper Paul Richey of Pennsylvania State Police, Officer Derek Kotecki of Lower Burrell Police, Officer John Dwyer of East Washington Police, Officer Lloyd Reed Jr. of St. Clair Township, Officer Scott Bashioum of Canonsburg Borough Police, Trooper Landon Weaver of Pennsylvania State Police, Officer Brian Shaw of New Kensington Police and Officer Calvin Hall of Pittsburgh Police.

“As the villainization of law enforcement officers proliferates, so must we increase the call to remember our fallen officers, who are no longer here to defend their integrity. Their deaths have at least earned them as much. But it is now controversial, reckless it seems even, to speak well of a law enforcement officer, especially in the media, even if that person died honorably,” Mullen added. “The rightful cries for improvement of our law enforcement systems, which absolutely must be heard, understood and placed into well-constructed action, should not deafen, rewrite or disparage the individuals who died in the very name of peace.”

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Mullen’s full letter can be read here.