WASHINGTON — President 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 toward 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 pursuit in Watertown, Mass. Suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev died following 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 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.
The group included eight officers from the Oak Creek, Wis., police force who battled a gunman at a Sikh temple last Aug. 5. The gunman killed six people before turning his weapon on himself.
Obama singled out New York police Detective Ivan Marcano, who was off duty in the Bronx with his girlfriend when he saw muggers attack a cab driver. The president recounted Marcano being shot inches from his heart yet still giving chase to the suspects — holding his wound with one hand and his weapon with the other. Obama had Marcano’s girlfriend stand, saying, ‘‘This was his date night! It’s unbelievable.’’
Other honorees included officers from California, Illinois, Iowa, Florida, Indiana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Texas, and Wisconsin, as well as three FBI agents from Nevada.