Statement in Support of Carson's Rios ATF Building Bill, May 10, 2016
the Honorable André Carson
Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
H.R. 4957, To designate the Federal building located at 99 New York Avenue, N.E., in the District of Columbia as the "Ariel Rios Federal Building"
May 10, 2016
I am pleased to see that my bill is being considered by the House this afternoon during National Police Week. I appreciate the support of this measure from Subcommittee Chairman Barletta, and the other members of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee who agreed to be original co-sponsors of this bill. As mentioned, this bill would name the current headquarters of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, or the ATF, after fallen Special Agent Ariel Rios.
Ariel Rios was born in New York City in 1954. He attended the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan and graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice in 1976. Agent Rios immediately started his career in criminal justice working for the Department of Corrections in both Washington, DC and New York. He later joined the ATF in 1978 and developed a reputation as an effective law enforcement officer.
In 1982 Agent Rios was working as a member of Vice President’s George H.W. Bush’s anti-drug task force. It was here that he was shot and killed while working undercover to unravel a drug ring in Miami, Florida.
In 1985, Congress saw fit to honor the ultimate sacrifice that Special Agent Rios made. Congress acknowledged the fact that he was the first ATF agent to die in the line of duty by naming the headquarters of the ATF Building, the “Ariel Rios Memorial Building”. This name stood for nearly 30 years, until the building was renamed for President Clinton in 2012, to reflect the fact that the old building now houses the Environmental Protection Agency. Unfortunately, the Ariel Rios name was not transferred to the new ATF headquarters. My bill seeks to correct this omission and name the new ATF headquarters as the “Ariel Rios Federal Building”.
As a former law enforcement officer, I have a special appreciation for the risks facing officers every single day. Agent Rios death serve as a reminder that when law enforcement officers walk out of the door, leaving their families for the day, they are putting their lives on the line to protect our communities.
So it is fitting that the House is considering this legislation during National Police Week. This is an annual event when thousands of law enforcement officers from around the world travel to Washington, DC to participate in events honoring those killed in the line of duty. By naming the ATF headquarters after Ariel Rios, a front line law enforcement officer, we offer a very public tribute and commemoration of the sacrifices that too many officers have made.
This legislation comes at the request of many current and former agents who would not rest until this recognition was restored to Special Agent Rios. Because of their tireless efforts, the House will vote today to restore the name of Special Agent Rios to the ATF headquarters. This is an overdue and well deserved acknowledgement of both Special Agent Rios and the nearly 20,000 law enforcement agents who have died in the line of duty in the United States.
In closing, I am very pleased that so many members of our Committee, from both sides of the aisle, have agreed to co-sponsor this legislation. I am also honored that Mr. Rogers, the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, supports this bill. Former President H.W. Bush has written Congress in support of naming this building after Agent Rios, as well as several former directors of the ATF, and several other organizations representing former law enforcement officers.
I am proud that this legislation is being considered today and urge my colleagues to support my bi-partisan bill honoring Special Agent Ariel Rios.