ADL event pays tribute to Missouri law enforcement

At the ADL’s  2016 Distinguished Service Awards ceremony last week are (from left:) Jennifer Winfield, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of Missouri; Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Darrin Haslag;  ADL Regional Board Chair Robbye Frank;  Detective Joseph Cichacki of the St. Louis Police Department; Rabbi  Susan Talve of Central Reform Congregation; and Karen Aroesty, ADL regional director.


Cops’ lives matter was illustrated at a recent police appreciation event sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League’s Missouri-Southern Illinois Region, which recognized two Missouri law-enforcement officers with ADL’s 2016 Distinguished Service Awards for their life-sustaining work. 

Several hundred local and state officers, along with members of the ADL Regional Advisory Board and other Jewish and general community organizations, gathered last week at the Third Degree Glass Factory, 5200 Delmar Blvd., to pay tribute to the men and women who risk their lives as they carry out their duties.

Much attention has been devoted to examples of negative law-enforcement actions, including the shooting of unarmed black suspects, racial profiling and other inappropriate actions by a small percentage of police and security personnel. 

These actions, including the Michael Brown shooting case in Ferguson, gave rise to the Black Lives Matter movement, whose activities have included both constructive demonstrations for justice as well as harsh anti-cop rhetoric. 

Then there are recent vivid examples of local and national cases of police officers being ambushed, gunned down or run over by vehicles. 


Officer Blake Snyder, a St. Louis County police officer, died after being shot in Green Park in south St. Louis County in October. In a solemn procession through two states, local, state and federal police escorted Snyder’s casket to its funeral in Illinois. One could not observe the dignified procession and coverage of the funeral without reacting emotionally to the tragic loss of a 33-year-old police officer, husband and father. 

Ballwin Police Officer Mike Flamion was paralyzed from the neck down after being wounded in the line of duty during a traffic stop July 8. He continues to undergo long-term care, with the support of his comrades in the law-enforcement community. 

While, yes, Black Lives Matter, so also do Cops’ Lives Matter. The ADL event paid tribute to that often overlooked aspect of police-community relations. 

Among the criteria for the ADL Awards Distinguished Service Award are significant contributions in preventing and/or responding to an ideologically motivated crime, or domestic or international terrorism; hate crime or bias-motivated activity, and promoting and/or protection of violations of civil rights. 

The honored officers include:  

• Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Darrin Haslag, who has been named Trooper of the Year in his division. Haslag was nominated for the ADL award for his outstanding service in the course of an exhaustive three-year investigation beginning in 2013 with the sexual assault and exploitation of multiple female victims by two defendants, one of whom was a law enforcement officer. 

• Detective JosephCichacki, who joined the St. Louis Police Department in 2001. Working his way up through the ranks, he was reassigned to the Intelligence Division and detached to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. He has also been a member of the U.S. Attorney’s Hate Crime Task Force for four years. Cichacki received his award for outstanding service in the protection of Central Reform Congregation and its clergy, “a synagogue under significant and consistent acts of anti-Semitism, hate-based threats and harassment between 2014 and 2016, beginning with CRC’s activity on the front lines of the Black Lives Matter movement.”

Rabbi Susan Talve of CRC, who has been active with Black Lives Matter and many other interracial and intergroup movements, paid warm tribute to Cichacki for his sensitive and consistent work to ensure the sanctity of the synagogue, its clergy and its membership. 

So it is not merely Black Lives Matter or “Blue Lives Matter.” Our Talmud teaches us that one who saves a single life is as though he or she saved the entire world. The ADL event honoring local law enforcement was a much needed public tribute to the life-protecting work of our local, state and federal law enforcement officers.