Remembering Senator Claiborne Pell

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and our nation’s law enforcement community have lost a long-time and valued friend. Former U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell died early on January 1; he was 90.

Senator Pell served with distinction the people of Rhode Island for six terms in the U.S. Senate, retiring in 1997. Senator Pell was probably best known for authoring legislation that created a program that has given college grants to literally tens of millions of students from low- and middle-income families. Those grants, now called Pell Grants, bear the Senator’s name. He also wrote legislation establishing the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities,

In addition to these accomplishments, Senator Pell was also a great friend and supporter of law enforcement. Along with U.S. Representative Mario Biaggi of New York, he authored the 1984 law to establish the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. He was an incorporator of the Memorial Fund and has been the Honorary Chairman of the NLEOMF since its inception. Of the Memorial, Senator Pell said, “it is a reminder that law enforcement depends, finally, on the men and women who work every day to uphold the law.”

For his steadfast support, not just of the Memorial Fund but of law enforcement in general, Senator Pell received the NLEOMF’s inaugural Distinguished Service Award in 1996. His prominent role in establishing our organization and building the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial will always be remembered.