WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama on Saturday praised the nation's police officers for everyday acts of courage, saying they often rush into danger to do "some really tough stuff."
In a White House ceremony honoring some of the bravest, he said America need look no further than the Boston Marathon bombings to know what police are made of: "Police officers ... running towards explosions not knowing if there was something more on the way. Law enforcement from different agencies in different parts of the country working together as one united team to identify suspects and bring them to justice."
He said few will ever forget the end of the marathon manhunt in Watertown, Mass. Suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in a gunbattle with police, and residents cheered and gave police high fives after his brother Dzhokhar was apprehended.
"We don't always get that opportunity to stand and applaud the men and women who keep us safe," Obama said. "But they're out there - hundreds of thousands of you patrolling our streets every single day. And we know that when we need you most, you'll be ready to dash into danger, to protect our lives, even if it means putting your lives on the line."
Obama was flanked by award recipients, many in uniform, with families, friends and other officers looking on from the audience in the East Room.
The annual ceremony honored 43 law enforcement officers who are recipients of the National Association of Police Organizations TOP COPS award.