Steve Young, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, lost his battle with cancer and passed away on January 9, 2003, at the age of 49. Steve is a native of Upper Sandusky, Ohio, and a graduate of Upper Sandusky High School. He is survived by his wife, Denise; his children, Steven David and his wife Karen Angela, and Staten Daniel; his three sisters, Gloria Steurer, Kay Baker, and Deborah Smith; and his mother, Lillian Heffelfinger.
“Steve Young was the finest of our nation’s finest,” said Chuck Canterbury, the FOP’s National Vice President. “Though Steve did not complete his term, he leaves a record of accomplishment that future National Presidents will find difficult to match. He forged an excellent working relationship with the Bush Administration and, in so doing, has made the Fraternal Order of Police the most prominent and influential law enforcement organization in the United States.”
Young was unanimously elected to serve as National President of the FOP at the organization’s Biennial National Conference in Phoenix, Arizona in 2001. Young was a 26-year member of the Fraternal Order of Police and was an innovative leader in issues affecting law enforcement personnel. He was a graduate of the FBI National Academy and served as a Lieutenant in the Marion City Police Department in Ohio until his passing today. During his career, Young helped create the Ohio Labor Council, with more than 8,000 members, to improve the effectiveness of management/labor negotiations within police forces, a model that is now being used in fourteen states.
“Steve Young spent his career fighting for the rank-and-file member,” said Canterbury. “In his eleven years as President of the Ohio State Lodge, four years as National Vice President and his all-too brief term as National President, Steve woke up each morning and went to work for the citizens of Marion City and the rank-and-file officers in every region of the country. He was as dedicated a man, an officer, and a friend as I have ever known.”
Under his leadership, the FOP forged a closer and better working relationship with the Administration than ever before. President George W. Bush, who earned the FOP’s endorsement in 2000, asked Young to serve on his Homeland Security Advisory Council, where he often found himself the only voice speaking in support of Federal employees. In this capacity, Young and the FOP worked cooperatively with the Director of the Office of Homeland Security, Governor Tom Ridge. With the creation of the new Department of Homeland Security and the appointment of Governor Ridge as Secretary, the FOP will have a role in the transition of the many law enforcement agencies to their new homes.
More recently, because of the FOP’s relationship with the Administration, the FOP was asked to serve as a Charter Member of the National Citizen Corps Council, which brings together national leaders from first responder groups, emergency management agencies, volunteer service organizations, State and local governments, and the private sector to engage citizens in homeland security and promote community and family safety practices across the country.
In December 2001, President Bush also appointed Young as a member of the Medal of Honor Review Board which was created by legislation supported by the FOP and signed into law in May of that year.
National President Young led the effort to increase the ties and better the relationship between the FOP and the U.S. Department of Justice. The FOP was among the first to endorse Senator John D. Ashcroft when he was tapped by President Bush to serve as U.S. Attorney General. Our support was warmly welcomed by General Ashcroft, who often seeks input from the FOP when crafting law enforcement policy.
Young also broke new ground for the FOP in Washington when he worked to establish a close partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor and Secretary Elaine L. Chao. One of the first fruits of this new relationship was a $2 million grant from the Labor Department to the FOP to design and administer a scholarship program for the spouses of fallen officers.
Canterbury credits Young and his leadership of the organization for the FOP’s national prominence. “Leadership is a difficult quality to define,” he said, “but you know a leader when you see one. Likewise, friendship is difficult to define, but everyone knows what a friend is. Steve was both, to me and to the more than 300,000 members of this proud organization that he loved so deeply and served so well. Every law enforcement officer lost a friend and a leader today. Our hearts go out to Steve’s family and our prayers will be with him and the loved ones he leaves behind.”
Laura and I are saddened by the news of the passing of Steve Young, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police. Steve made important contributions to our country as a police officer, President of the Fraternal Order of Police, and as a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council. Steve was a true hero for his dedication to ensuring the safety of our communities. He was a great friend and an honorable and loyal man.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.
— President George W. Bush
The law enforcement community lost a great friend and leader today. Steve Young committed his life to protecting his community and to supporting law enforcement officers across our nation. For the past year and a half, since being chosen to lead nearly 300,000 of his colleagues, Steve provided the Department of Justice with valuable advice and helped me to see through the lens of local law enforcement officers. I am grateful for the contributions Steve made, and I am saddened by our tremendous loss. I offer my deepest sympathy to Steve’s family at this difficult time.
— Attorney General John Ashcroft
Steve Young was a true friend and patriot. He was a leader in our nation’s efforts to secure the homeland and to enforce the law, as demonstrated by his participation on the President’s Homeland Security Advisory Council. We will remember Steve for his dedication and commitment to the men and women of the Fraternal Order of Police and to his country. He will be missed.
— Homeland Security Advisor Tom Ridge
I am deeply saddened by the death of our friend Steve Young. Steve was as honest and decent a person as I have met in public life. His word was his bond–his promise–and each cause to which he committed himself was well served. The people of Ohio, the policing community, and indeed America have lost a great, but humble public servant. We in law enforcement have lost a friend we can’t replace, and whom we’ll never forget.
— Assistant Attorney General Ralph Boyd
Our nation suffered a great loss today with the death of police Lieutenant Steve Young, who has served since 2001 as National President of the Fraternal Order of Police. Steve’s career in law enforcement spanned more than a quarter of a century, but it was only in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that I had the honor of working with him personally. From that time, his ideas and his leadership have been instrumental in strengthening law enforcement partnerships to protect the nation against future attacks. In June 2002, President Bush recognized his leadership and commitment by appointing him to the Homeland Security Advisory Council. From protecting his local community as a police officer to protecting all of our communities as a national law enforcement leader, Steve has lived a life of great service and devotion to our country. I am proud to have known him.
— Robert S. Mueller, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has lost a great friend and ally with the passing of Steve Young. Steve served as FOP National President with vitality, integrity, and enthusiasm. Steve was a strong voice for every man and woman in law enforcement, at all levels of government, and was a major advocate for his constituencies on issues both large and small. He was a calm and reasoned voice for law enforcement and the important role it plays as first-responder and protector of the public. His tireless efforts on behalf of the rank and file officer were extraordinary and we know he will be missed dearly.
“Steve always felt the strong call to duty that law enforcement professionals respond to with tireless dedication. We mourn his loss and extend our condolences to Steve’s wife, Denise, and family.”
— Bradley Buckles, Director, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
I am profoundly saddened by the untimely death of Steve Young, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police. He was one of the strongest and most passionate advocates for the rank and file police officers who put themselves on the line every day to serve and protect. Steve and I worked together to establish a scholarship program for the spouses of fallen officers. It’s just one example of his commitment and caring and I know it will serve as a lasting memorial that his family and colleagues will always cherish. All of us who knew him will miss him deeply.
— U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao
Fran and I extend our deepest sympathy and prayers to the entire Young family and to the police officers in Steve’s extended family.
Today, we lost a friend and a protector. Steve Young spent his life fighting to keep our communities safe and free from crime. I’ve had the opportunity to work with Steve for many, many years. I relied on his advice and expertise. As Lt. Governor and as a United States Senator, I regularly consulted with him on a variety of criminal justice issues. His keen insights helped shape nearly every piece of crime legislation that I have written.”
Steve Young dedicated his life to law enforcement. Criminals were caught and crimes were prevented because of his commitment to our communities. He was leading efforts to arm law enforcement officers with state-of-the-art crime fighting technology. His foresight and vision for the future has helped bring law enforcement into the 21st Century.
Steve lived a life of great achievement, both public and private, and we will miss him deeply.
— Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH)
One of the most rewarding things about serving in the government is having the opportunity to meet some very special people, and Steve was one of them. Every so often in life a person is fortunate enough to cross paths with someone who makes them feel good about being in their presence, someone who is caring, genuine, sincere and who brings a special life to the lives of others. That was Steve Young and I feel blessed to have known him.
— Senator George Voinovich (R-OH)
Steve Young was a dear friend, an exceptional leader and a tireless advocate for law enforcement officers across the nation. There are so many who will truly miss him, and I am one of them.
With 26 years of law enforcement experience, in 2001 Steve was elected National President of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the world’s largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers with more than 300,000 members in over 2,000 local lodges across the United States. An active police officer, serving as a Lieutenant in the Marion City Police Department of Marion, Ohio, and an FOP member for 26 years, Steve was an innovative leader in law enforcement issues. Before he became the FOP’s National President, Steve was the organization’s National Vice President for four years and served as Ohio’s state FOP president from 1988 to 1999. For the past 15 years he devoted much of his time to the Ohio State Lodge’s Legislative Committee. He graduated from the 185th Session of the FBI National Academy.
“I was honored to work with Steve and the Fraternal Order of Police on many issues affecting rank-and-file law enforcement officers. Most recently we worked closely together in the last Congress on the top legislative priority of the FOP, the “”Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act.”” His powerful testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee helped enormously as we worked to move this bill forward. He told how law enforcement officers are never “”off-duty,”” and described their commitment as dedicated public servants who are trained to uphold the law and keep the peace. He observed that whenever there is a threat to the peace or to our public safety, law enforcement officers are sworn to answer that call. Steve was dedicated to this legislation because he understood the importance of having law enforcement officers across the nation armed and prepared when they answer that call, no matter where, when, or in what form it comes.
“Steve Young inspired me and so many others with his enduring dedication to making our communities safer and protecting the officers who are sworn to guard and serve the American public. Law enforcement officers everywhere, and everyone who had the chance to know him or work with him, lost a great friend and champion last night. Our hearts and thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends and associates at this time of sadness over this loss and remembrance of Steve Young’s life.
— Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Ranking Member, Senate Committee on the Judiciary
Steve Young was an officer and a leader who has been taken from us much too soon, but whose courage and commitment to law enforcement will long be remembered. His leadership and friendship will be greatly missed.
Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-DE)
On behalf of the members of the bipartisan U.S. House Law Enforcement Caucus, we extend our deepest sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of National Fraternal Order of Police President Steve Young.
Steve fought a courageous battle with cancer, just as he fought courageously for the men and women who serve in law enforcement. He will be deeply missed, but his legacy of leadership and accomplishments on behalf of those serving on the front lines of our communities will live on.
Steve Young was an exceptional police officer and leader in law enforcement. Whether protecting his community or serving our nation on behalf of police officers, Steve’s selfless dedication set an example for all of us. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the over 300,000 officers in the Fraternal Order of Police who have lost a true friend and champion.
— Representative Jim Ramstad (R-MN), Co-Chair, Law Enforcement Caucus
— Representatives Bart Stupak (D-MI), Co-Chair, Law Enforcement Caucus
The information on this page was accurate and current at the time the Member of the Year Award was bestowed upon this member.