IACP Capitol Report Update
IACP’s news digest, covering recent activities in Congress.

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December 2012

The Police Chief
Legislative Column
December 2012

What Sequestration Means to State, Local and Tribal Law Enforcement

With the 112th Congressional Session coming to a close, issues such as federal deficits, budget cuts, and the sequestration are some of the most discussed topics today. Here we explain sequestration, it’s probable impact on state, local and tribal law enforcement, and how it can be avoided.

What is Sequestration?

Sequestration is a series of automatic spending cuts that are set to take effect beginning January 2nd, 2013 until 2021. The spending cuts are a part of the overall Budget Control Act (BCA), which was passed in August 2011, and is expected to cut $1.2 trillion from federal spending. Split evenly between defense and domestic spending, these across-the-board cuts will range from 7.6 to 9.6 percent. According to a recent White House report, the BCA is projected to slash $109 billion in the 2013 fiscal year and is likely to wreck havoc on federal agencies including those who provide funding assistance to state, local and tribal law enforcement.

Origins of the Sequestration Package

During budget discussions in August 2011, Congress failed to reach an agreement regarding the looming debt limit. Without a vote, the federal government was estimated to default by the end of August. Before the default could occur, President Obama and Congress agreed to the BCA, which raised the debt limit by $2.1 trillion in exchange for automatic steep cuts and the establishment of a sequestration supercommittee. Under the BCA, automatic cuts would be triggered if the established supercommitee did not agree to a $1.2 trillion deficit-reduction plan by November 23, 2011. The committee failed to reach an agreement thus, triggering sequestration.

The Impact of Federal Budget Cuts on State, Local and Tribal Agencies

In the last two years, federal funding for criminal justice assistance through the Department of Justice (DOJ) has dropped by an enormous 43 percent. Major programs affected by these cuts include the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne-JAG), cut by 34 percent and the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Grants, cut by 44 percent,. In the last three years, funding for Byrne-JAG decreased from $511 million in Fiscal Year 2010, to $494 million in Fiscal Year 2011, and then to $470 million in Fiscal Year 2012. Similarly, funding for COPS decreased 75 percent from $792 million in Fiscal Year 2010, to $485 million in Fiscal Year 2011, and then to $198.5 million in Fiscal Year 2012. These vital programs, as well as many others, are currently at a historically low level of funding and are threatened to be altogether cut out of the budget. Just last year, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to eliminate COPS while pushing a 10 year history of budget cuts for Byrne-JAG.

The National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA) and the Vera Institute of Justice suggests that the impacts of cuts are already felt by numerous organizations. In their most recent survey, NCJA and the Vera Institute discovered that 77 percent of respondents, including state and local criminal justice stakeholders, reported receiving smaller grants than Fiscal Year 2011. Of those respondents, 44 percent reported a funding drop of at least one-third while 14 percent reported a cut of more than half.

Additionally, half of the respondents reported a cutback in their organizations personnel, further obstructing how law enforcement, legal services, and crime prevention groups carry out their jobs.

Findings of IACP’s 2011 Policing in the 21st Century Survey further supports the financial strain felt by budget cuts. Of the 400 respondents, 77 percent of agencies have been asked to increase support for other agencies despite 55 percent of them experiencing serious or severe problems due to the economy. The building financial limitations have caused 60 percent of responding agencies to cut back on crucial training and 58 percent of agencies to curtail major technology purchases or upgrades regardless of the growing workload.

Looking Out

The sequestration can be avoided, but only with Congressional approval of another budget plan that focuses on $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction. While both parties have offered several proposals, but to date, none have been approved.

The IACP is a firm believer in state, local, and tribal law enforcement officers as the first line of defense. Only with well-trained, well-equipped officers armed with the best information can they protect the communities they serve. It is an imperative that the budgets of these organizations be preserved and their resources provided for. These indiscriminate cuts, meant to pressure Congressional leaders into a deal, only harm local and state communities that benefit the various legal services, law enforcement leaders, and crime prevention programs that the DOJ funds.


November 2012

The Police Chief
Legislative Column
November 2012

Congress Passes Continuing Resolution

Before Congress recessed, both the House of Representatives and the Senate pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) that will fund the government through March 27, 2013. Typically a CR will only authorize funding at current levels, but this spending measure authorizes an across the board 0.6 percent increase. The CR includes grants administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to aid state, local and tribal law enforcement.

The bill allocates $977 million (after carve outs) for all state and local programs administered by DHS through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Actual funding amounts are to be determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security. The allocation covers major law enforcement assistance programs such as the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), the State Homeland Security Grants (SHSG) and the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program (LETPP), along with several other state, local and tribal assistance grants.

For grants administered through DOJ, the bill provides 198.2 million, including $141 million for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program (after carve outs). The COPS Program seeks to fund critical programs for combating methamphetamine production and trafficking; tribal law enforcement; to combat gun trafficking and reduce gang violence; to hire school resource officers and to establish school-based partnerships between local law enforcement agencies and local school systems to combat crime, gangs, drug activities; to pay for officers hired to perform intelligence, anti-terror, or homeland security duties; and for the recruitment of inactive military personnel to pursue the law enforcement profession.

The bill also includes $352 million for the Edward R. Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne-JAG) (after carve outs). Byrne-JAG provides funds to assist states and units of local government in controlling and preventing drug abuse, crime, and violence, and in improving the criminal justice system.

Programs that assist state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies are valuable and critical resources and significantly strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to combat crime and violence and prevent terrorism in our communities. Eliminating or reducing these programs would be devastating to the nearly 18,000 law enforcement agencies in this country. The IACP will continue to work with Members of Congress to educate them on the importance of these critical resources to the state, local and tribal law enforcement community. The IACP will also be working with DHS to provide education when they consider specific allocation of grants they administer.

House Passes Byrne-JAG Reauthorization

The House of Representatives recently approved a reauthorization on Byrne-JAG—which was set to expire on September 30. (This is separate from the appropriations noted in the previous story).

H.R. 6062, the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program Reauthorization Act of 2012, will provide an authorization level of $800 million through Fiscal Year 2017. H.R. 6062 enjoys broad, bi-partisan Congressional support and is strongly supported by the IACP.

The bill was not passed by the Senate before they recessed. Therefore, the program cannot be authorized above its current level until the legislation is completely ratified. The Senate is set to take up the legislation when they return from their fall recess.

The House is also working on reauthorizing the COPS program and that bill should be introduced sometime this fall.

IACP Fights Marijuana Legalization Proposals

The IACP continues to fight any and all proposals that would legalize or medically classify marijuana. The IACP membership has passed several resolutions that oppose any step towards marijuana legalization on the federal, state or local level.

In late September, the IACP and the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) sent a joint letter to Attorney General Eric Holder expressing concern over proposals in Colorado, Oregon and Washington. The letter read, “…a number of states and localities that have relaxed their laws on marijuana have since expressed regret—as illegal activity and crime have increased in and around dispensaries and decriminalized zones.”

The letter continued, “Proponents mislead the public about the impact of marijuana legalization and assert that revenue from a marijuana tax will fund treatment, prevention, enforcement, and end drug-related violent crime…the concept of marijuana legalization providing tax dollars to remedy all societal ills is simply not in touch with reality.

Additionally, in mid-October, the IACP participated in a press conference with former heads of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the National Narcotics Officers Association Coalition and the National Sheriffs’ Association, condemning the proposed state statutes and calling for their failure. The IACP will continue to fight any proposals that would legalize or decriminalize marijuana on all levels of government.


October 2012

The Police Chief
Legislative Column
October 2012

Looking Ahead to the End of the Year

Looking ahead to the remainder of 2012, there are several issues that Congress could address. Of course, much depends on the outcome of the November elections, but there are several issues that Congress could address this year.

Funding

At press time, neither the House of Representatives nor the Senate has voted on all 13 appropriations bills and it is likely that a continuing resolution (CR) will be passed until after the election in November. As it currently stands, The House has passed their bill that funds the Department of Homeland Security for FY2013 and provides grants to state, local and tribal law enforcement. The bill allocates $1.53 billion for all state and local programs administered by FEMA, including the State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP), the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program (LETPP) and up to 10 other grants to assist state, local and tribal law enforcement. Actual funding amounts are to be determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security, to be distributed “according to threat, vulnerability, and consequence, at the discretion of the Secretary…”

The full Senate has not yet voted on their bill, which would provide $1.41 billion to the same programs. However, the Senate Committee on Appropriations voted to keep the same model as the House and combine the various programs.

For programs administered through the Department of Justice (DOJ), at press time, on the House side, the Committee on Appropriations approved their FY 2013 spending bill, which included $370 million for the Edward R. Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne-JAG) and $72.5 million for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Program, including $40 million for hiring.

The Senate Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Subcommittee approved the FY 2013 spending bill, including $392 million for Byrne-JAG and $248 million for COPS, including $215 for hiring.

VAWA

In late April, the United States Senate passed S. 1925, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) of 2011. The IACP has been a proud supporter of VAWA since it was first passed in 1994, passing resolutions and retaining a strong commitment to prevent violence against women. The IACP strongly supports S. 1925.

In addition, the IACP is also very supportive of provisions in S. 1925 which contain increased penalties for violence against women in tribal communities. The IACP passed a resolution in 2011 stating support for these provisions. Native American women are victims of violent crimes at a rate disproportionately higher than any other ethnic group in the United States, with studies revealing that one third of Native American women will be raped during their lifetimes and nearly 3 out of 5 will be assaulted by their spouses or intimate partners. The new provisions will significantly assist tribal law enforcement in combating violence against Native women residing within their respective tribal communities, while at the same time strengthening provisions within the existing VAWA statute.

Unfortunately, the legislation has become very political and has reached a stalemate in the House of Representatives and its fate is unknown. The IACP is currently working with members of the House and Senate to pass the critical piece of legislation.

Criminal Justice Commission

The IACP continues to work with Sen. Jim Webb to pass the National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2011. The legislation would allow for a long overdue comprehensive examination and report on the state of law enforcement and criminal justice in the United States.

For more than twenty years, the IACP has advocated for the creation of a commission that would follow in the footsteps of the 1965 Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice. The work of that commission and the 200 recommendations it produced marked the beginning of a sea change in our methods for dealing with crime and the public and built the framework for many of the highly effective law enforcement and public safety initiatives that have been in place for the last forty years.

The United States needs a new commission to address the broad range of new and emerging challenges that confront law enforcement today, from cyber-crime to non-traditional organized crime, from violent street gangs to homeland security.

The IACP has also worked with the White House to pursue an executive order establishing the commission and will continue to do so. This spring, the IACP organized a letter from 13 state and local organizations to the White House calling for the creation of a commission via executive order. We will continue to pursue the commission to be set up by all possible means.

For the latest updates on the IACP’s legislative initiatives, please visit the IACP Blog www.theiacpblog.org.


September 2012

The Police Chief
Legislative Column
September 2012

House Approves Byrne-JAG Reauthorization

The House of Representatives recently approved IACP-supported legislation: H.R. 6062, the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program Reauthorization Act of 2012.

The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program (Byrne-JAG) provides funds to assist states and units of local government in controlling and preventing drug abuse, crime, and violence, and in improving the criminal justice system. Byrne-JAG is a highly successful program that enjoys broad support within the law enforcement community because of its proven record in helping law enforcement agencies to fight crime effectively.

Under current law, Byrne-JAG is authorized through September 30, 2012. It is one of the IACP’s highest priories to ensure that the program is reauthorized before it is allowed to expire. The IACP will now focus its efforts on getting the legislation passed in the Senate.

The IACP will continue to push for passage in the Senate.

IACP Testifies on Forensics Reform

In late July, IACP Forensics Co-Chair Stephanie Stoiloff, Senior Police Bureau Commander, Forensic Services Bureau, Miami-Dade Police Department, testified before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary at a hearing titled “Improving Forensic Science in the Criminal Justice System.”

For more than 2 years the IACP, under the leadership of the Forensics Committee, has been working with the Senate Judiciary Committee staff to produce a piece of reform legislation that is beneficial to the law enforcement community. The hearing addressed potential reforms.

In her testimony, Commander Stoiloff stated, “forensic science is not the floundering profession that some may portray it to be. As with any scientific discipline, there is a perpetual need for support, improvement, and advancement. In fact, many of the improvements in forensic science have resulted from the commitment of law enforcement agencies and their executive leadership to sound forensic practices.”

Commander Stoiloff went on to discuss the importance of forensic science to the investigation of a crime and challenges currently confronting the forensic science and law enforcement community. She said, “the first—and greatest—need is funding: the forensic community needs funding to perform the work conducted nationwide every day. The common question asked is, “How much funding is needed?” $1 billion was allocated to address DNA backlogs. That is, $1 billion was allocated for one discipline that still is not able to completely manage the flood of evidence submitted for analysis. The analysis itself is expensive. Have we now put a price on public safety?”

Commander Stoiloff also discussed other needs to improve forensic science. “The forensic community needs strong national leadership with the understanding that one size does not fit all. The needs of federal, state and local agencies are separate and distinct from each other. Our agencies and their forensic laboratories are at ground zero in the fight on crime. Most of these organizations have higher demands for service and fewer resources available with which to wage that fight.”

Commander Stoiloff ended her testimony by saying, “federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement are utilizing every possible resource to provide public safety. It is our hope that these open discussions will continue, allowing everyone to accomplish the goal of providing the framework and resources necessary to maintain our existing capabilities and develop new technologies for the future.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will continue to work on forensics reform legislation and the IACP will continue to work with them on this effort.

House Approves IACP-Supported Legislation

The House of Representatives recently approved H.R. 6063, the Child Protection Act of 2012. H.R. 6063 seeks to significantly enhance the ability of state, local and federal law enforcement to investigate and prosecute those who engage in child pornography and exploitation crimes.

The bill increases the penalty range from 10 to 20 years for possessing child pornography. The bill also will allow prosecutions for harassing or intimidating a child witness without requiring serious threats or harm. Finally, the legislation also gives the Department of Justice administrative subpoena powers in assisting states to find sex offenders.

The IACP will continue to push for passage in the Senate.

IACP Legislative Briefing

The IACP will hold its 119th annual conference in San Diego September 29-October 3. The membership-wide legislative briefing will be held in conjunction with the IACP business meeting on Wednesday, October 3 at 9:30 a.m. During this briefing members will be updated on pertinent legislation, resolutions, and have the opportunity to ask questions.

For more information, please contact Meredith Ward, Legislative Representative, WardM@theiacp.org. To register for IACP2012, please visit www.theiacpconference.org.


August 2012

The Police Chief
Legislative Column
August 2012

IACP Supported Legislation Gains Committee Approval

The House Committee on the Judiciary recently approved H.R. 6062, the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program Reauthorization Act of 2012.

The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program (Byrne-JAG) provides funds to assist states and units of local government in controlling and preventing drug abuse, crime, and violence, and in improving the criminal justice system. Byrne-JAG is a highly successful program that enjoys broad support within the law enforcement community because of its proven record in helping law enforcement agencies to fight crime effectively.

Under current law, Byrne-JAG is authorized through September 30, 2012. It is one of the IACP’s highest priories to ensure that the program is reauthorized before it is allowed to expire. Therefore, we urge quick approval of H.R. 6062 which will extend the program’s authorization through Fiscal Year 2017.

In FY 2010, the Edward R. Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne-JAG) was allocated $511 million; $494 million in FY 2011; and, in FY 2012, $470 million—a cut of nine percent over three fiscal years. Unfortunately, these cuts only continue a 10-year history of decline. In FY 2003, the same programs funded by Byrne-JAG received $1.05 billion, marking a 56 percent reduction to date. Reauthorizing Byrne-JAG at $800 million will significant increase the chances of it being appropriated at a higher amount.

The IACP firmly believes that just as state, local and tribal law enforcement officers have protected our communities from crime it is “a well trained, well equipped officer, armed with the best information, will be our first line of defense,” against violent crime and terrorism. That is why it is imperative that we ensure that law enforcement agencies have the resources they need to meet their core responsibilities of protecting our communities from crime while at the same time they continue their vital role in protecting our homeland from attack.

H.R. 6062 enjoys broad, bi-partisan Congressional support. It will now head for a vote in the full House of Representatives and then to the Senate. The IACP will keep members informed on latest developments.

IACP Supports Child Protection Act

IACP President Chief Walter A. McNeil recently expressed the IACP’s strong support for H.R. 6063, the Child Protection Act of 2012. The legislation seeks to significantly enhance the ability of state, local and federal law enforcement to investigate and prosecute those who engage in child pornography and exploitation crimes.

The bill increases the penalty range from 10 to 20 years for possessing child pornography. With an increase in availability of innocent images on the Internet, combating child pornography has become an increasingly more difficult task for state, local and tribal law enforcement. Increasing the penalty rightfully elevates this crime to the very serious level it deserves. T

he bill also will allow prosecutions for harassing or intimidating a child witness without requiring serious threats or harm. This has become a big problem as abusers use subtle coercion that can have major negative effects on child. The proposed legislation will ensure that harassment and intimidation are punishable by law.

Finally, the legislation also gives the Department of Justice administrative subpoena powers in assisting states to find sex offenders. Sex offenders venturing outside their registered jurisdictions has become a serious problem.

H.R. 6063 has several bi-partisan cosponsors and is currently being considering in the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary.

IACP’s Supports Anti-Animal Fighting Legislation

The IACP recently announced support for H.R. 2492, the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act. The legislation will make it a federal crime to attend a dogfight or cockfight, and a felony to bring a child to an animal fight.

Many states have penalties for animal fighting spectators, who finance the criminal activity with their admission fees and gambling wagers and provide cover for animal fighters who blend into the crowds during law enforcement raids. Making this crime a federal law, combined with the state laws, will ensure that state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies have the tools they need to crack down on ALL participants involved in animal fighting.

The Senate companion bill to H.R. 2492 passed earlier this summer by an overwhelming majority and the legislation is currently being considered in the House of Representatives.

IACP Legislative Briefing

The IACP will hold its 119th annual conference in San Diego September 29-October 3. The membership-wide legislative briefing will be held in conjunction with the IACP business meeting on Wednesday, October 3 at 9:30 a.m. During this briefing members will be updated on pertinent legislation, resolutions, and have the opportunity to ask questions.

For more information, please contact Meredith Ward, Legislative Representative, WardM@theiacp.org. To register for IACP2012, please visit www.theiacpconference.org.


July 2012

The Police Chief
Legislative Column
July 2012

House Passes DHS Funding

The House of Representatives recently voted on their bill that funds the Department of Homeland Security for FY 2013 and, specifically, grants to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies. The House voted to keep in line with the model that was adopted last year and combine funding for many assistance programs. The bill allocates $1.53 billion for all state and local programs administered by FEMA SHSGP, UASI and up to 10 other grants to assist state, local and tribal law enforcement. Actual funding amounts are to be determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security, to be distributed “according to threat, vulnerability, and consequence, at the discretion of the Secretary…”

The full Senate has not yet voted on their bill, which would provide $1.41 billion to the same programs. However, the Senate Committee on Appropriations voted to keep the same model as the House and combine the various programs.

The IACP will continue to keep members up to date on the programs of appropriations bills.

IACP Opposes GPS Act

The IACP recently voiced opposition to H.R. 2168, the Geolocational Privacy and Surveillance (GPS) Act. The provisions of H.R. 2168, as they relate to law enforcement's access rules when requesting a search warrant, would severely hinder our ability to properly serve the communities we are sworn to protect.

In a letter to the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), IACP President Walter A. McNeil wrote, “requests for search warrants cannot adopt a "one size fits all" approach and must be evaluated on a case by case basis before a decision is made for the need to establish the level of probable cause. Access to fundamental data is a crucial law enforcement investigative tool and creates leads that could be used to bring focus on a specific individual who may be involved in criminal activity while eliminating persons who, while originally thought to be involved, are not.”

McNeil continued, “without this basic information law enforcement would never be able to establish the probable cause and trace a criminal's "electronic footprint." Law enforcement’s goal is to attain justice while avoiding wrongful arrests and convictions.”

The House Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security recently held a hearing on this legislation. It is currently being considered by the Judiciary Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The IACP will continue to actively oppose H.R. 2168 and fight to defeat it.

IACP Supports RISS Funding

The IACP recently renewed its support of the Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS) Program and a program funding level of a minimum of $45 million in FY 2013. The IACP wholeheartedly endorses the RISS program and is committed to its continuing success. RISS centers are a unique combination of federal/state/local cooperation, providing services to law enforcement agencies across the country.

The IACP represents 22,000 police executives from federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies. IACP members, as chief executives of state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies, have joined RISS and actively utilize RISS’s service on a regular basis. Any reduction of services will greatly impair IACP members’ ability to secure information that is vital to the apprehension of known drug traffickers and other criminals.

Rep. Peter King (R-NY) and Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) introduced legislation that would fund RISS at the needed level and that amendment was passed by the House in May. The IACP is currently working towards passage in the Senate.

IACP Invited to Join Homeland Security Advisory Council

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano recently appointed the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) President Walter A. McNeil, Chief of the Quincy, Florida Police Department to join the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC). The HSAC is an independent, bipartisan advisory board of leaders from state and local government, first responder communities, the private sector and academia and provides advice and recommendations to Secretary Napolitano on matters related to homeland security.

As part of the HSAC, the IACP will provide recommendations on:

  • Strategy and policy: for the development of strategies and policies that will further DHS’s ability to prevent, protect against, respond to and recover from terrorist attacks, major disasters, or other emergencies.
  • Leadership and Coordination: recommendations on improving the DHS’s leadership and coordination, internally across the department, externally across the federal government, and among state, local and tribal governments, first responders, the private and non-profit sectors, academia and research communities.
  • Management and Implementation: recommendations on the development and implementation of specific programs or initiatives to prevent, protect against, respond to and recover from terrorist attacks, major disasters, or other emergencies.
  • Evaluation and Feedback: recommendations on the efficiency and effectiveness of DHS programs to prevent, protect against, respond to and recover from terrorist attacks, major disasters, or other emergencies.

For more information about the HSAC, please visit: www.dhs.gov/hsac.


June 2012

The Police Chief
Legislative Column
June 2012

In late April, both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees made progress on FY 2013 spending bills that govern funding levels for assistance grants for state, local and tribal law enforcement. The Senate Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Subcommittee approved the FY 2013 spending bill, including Department of Justice grants for state, local and tribal law enforcement. The Edward R. Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne-JAG) would receive $392 million and the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office would receive $248 million, including $215 for hiring.

In the House of Representatives, the Committee on Appropriations also approved their FY 2013 spending bill, which was previously approved by the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science. This bill included $370 million for Byrne-JAG and $72.5 million for the COPS Office, including $40 million for hiring.

Compared to previous years:

  • In FY 2010, Byrne-JAG was allocated $511 million; $494 million in FY 2011; and, in FY 2012, $470 million—a cut of nine percent over three fiscal years.
  • In FY 2010, COPS received $792 million; $495 million in FY 2011; and, in FY 2012, $198.5 million—a 75 percent decrease over the past three fiscal years. Additionally, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to ELIMINATE this program in 2011.

The actions by both the House and Senate subcommittees represent an early step in the appropriations processes. The full Appropriations committees in each chamber must approve the bills, followed by each full chamber separately and then the two will come together to work out their differences and settle on a final bill that will be sent to the president.

The IACP has grown increasingly concerned about the severe cuts to state, local, and tribal law enforcement assistance grants in the past few fiscal years. These continued cuts have the potential to cripple the capabilities of the 18,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide and force many departments to take officers off the streets, likely leading to more crime and violence in our hometowns and ultimately less security for our homeland.

In addition to the impact these cuts may have on crime levels and crime prevention in general, these reductions will have a profound and direct impact on our ability to prevent terrorist attacks in our communities and upon our homeland.

Unfortunately, the severe cuts to these programs come at a time when state, local, and tribal agencies are already dealing with dramatic cuts in state, county, municipal, and tribal budgets. In addition, many agencies have already been forced to make drastic reductions in services such as responding to only high-level or life-threatening calls for service, forgoing equipment replacement and upgrades, and eliminating special programs and units. Even more troubling is the fact that most chiefs reported that their levels of services would continue to decline as the impact from budget cuts intensified.

If immediate action is not taken to restore these critical funds, the damage that has already been done will continue. The IACP will continue to work with Congress to restore necessary resources that will allow state, local, and tribal law enforcement to mount effective anticrime and antiterrorism programs in order to protect the communities they serve.

Senate Passes IACP Supported VAWA Legislation

In late April, the United States Senate passed S. 1925, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) of 2011. The IACP has been a proud supporter of VAWA since it was first passed in 1994, passing resolutions and retaining a strong commitment to prevent violence against women. IACP President Walter McNeil recently sent a letter to the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, expressing the IACP’s support for S. 1925.

Violence against women continues to be a significant problem in this country as evidenced by the fact that 3 women are killed every day in the United States by an intimate partner, 1 in 6 women have experienced sexual assault, and over 70% of stalking victims are women. In his letter, Chief McNeil wrote, “we know that reporting, and thus, prosecution and conviction rates are among the lowest among other violent crimes. Law enforcement must have tools, support, and training available to help prevent these horrific crimes. With additional tools, we can continue to build stronger cases which will lead to a higher prosecution and conviction rate and continue to shed light on these oftentimes hidden crimes.”

In addition, the IACP is also very supportive of provisions in S. 1925 which contain increased penalties for violence against women in tribal communities. The IACP passed a resolution in 2011 stating support for these provisions. Native American women are victims of violent crimes at a rate disproportionately higher than any other ethnic group in the United States, with studies revealing that one third of Native American women will be raped during their lifetimes and nearly 3 out of 5 will be assaulted by their spouses or intimate partners. The new provisions will significantly assist tribal law enforcement in combating violence against Native women residing within their respective tribal communities, while at the same time strengthening provisions within the existing VAWA statute.

The legislation will now be considered in the House of Representatives.


May 2012

The Police Chief
Legislative Update
May 2012

2012 Day on the Hill: A Great Success

In late March, the IACP held its biennial Day on the Hill in Washington, DC. Held in conjunction with the mid-year meetings of both the Division of State and Provincial Police and the Division of State Associations of Chiefs of Police, IACP members had the opportunity to meet with their elected officials on issues of importance to the law enforcement community.

In the meetings with Congress, IACP members called for the creation of a commission to study the criminal justice system, an end to budget cuts for state, tribal, and local law enforcement and to restore full funding to various programs. IACP members also discussed terrorism prevention, curbing illegal firearms sales, combating illegal narcotics, highway safety and forensics.

The same day, the IACP held a briefing on officer safety, which was sponsored by Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), who are co-chairs of the House of Representatives Law Enforcement Caucus. Law enforcement deaths, especially ambush/unprovoked attacks, are on the rise. And, for the first time in nearly fifteen years, felonious deaths by gunfire outnumber traffic crashes as the number one cause of officer deaths. At the briefing, the IACP leadership pledged to continue to fight these trends.

IACP President Walter McNeil spoke at the briefing and discussed one of his presidential priorities: law enforcement having a good relationship with the corrections community and vice versa. President McNeil pointed out that 28% of all offenders who killed a law enforcement officer were on probation or parole for the period of 2001-2010. President McNeil stated, “law enforcement and correctional agencies share a common goal: public safety through crime reduction. Each pursues this goal from a different perspective: law enforcement seeks to maintain order while correctional agencies seek to rehabilitate. The two must share actionable intelligence on offenders in their communities.”

IACP S&P General Chair Chief John Batiste shared his personal experiences and also discussed the work that S&P is doing to reduce officer deaths and injuries on our highways. For the past 14 years, traffic crashes were the number one killer of law enforcement officers. 42 percent of officers killed in traffic crashes who were not wearing seatbelts (NHTSA, 1980-2008). Last year, the IACP passed a resolution urging departments to adopt mandatory seat belt use policies.

IACP SACOP Vice General Chair and Chair of the IACP SafeShield Committee Chief Peter Carnes also spoke of the important work SafeShield is doing as it serves as the umbrella officer safety initiative within IACP and works to coordinates efforts across the association. Chief Carnes shared the alarming statistic that nearly 40 percent of all law enforcement officers feloniously killed between 2000-2009 who were not wearing body armor (FBI LEOKA). This is even more alarming when considering that not all departments have a mandatory vest wear policy. The IACP also passed a resolution in 2011 urging departments to adopt mandatory wear policies.

Finally, the IACP/Alcatel-Lucent 2011 International Police Officer of the Year, Officer Michael Neal, with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, spoke at the briefing about his experiences on the job. In May, 2010, Wildlife Officer Neal learned that two West Memphis, Arkansas, police officers had been shot dead while making a routine traffic stop. Officer Neal immediately raced to the area where the suspects were engaged in another gunfight with 2 other officers. Officer Neal rammed his truck into the suspect’s van and returned fire. The suspects died on the scene (to read more about Officer Neal’s story, please see the December issue of The Police Chief).

Officer Neal spoke about the dangers of ambush style attacks that law enforcement face today. Before the incident, Officer Neal kept his vest in the back of his truck and wears it often. Neal told the audience at the briefing that he now never goes a day without wearing his vest.

Thank you to all who participated in Day on the Hill. The briefing documents used at the Day on the Hill are available on the IACP website: www.TheIACP.org/DOTH.


April 2012

The Police Chief
Legislative Column
April 2012

Victory for Law Enforcement: President Signs D-Block Legislation

On February 22nd, the President signed a piece of legislation that will allocate the D-Block to public safety. As part of the payroll tax extension compromise, a deal was reached on D-Block that includes:

  • D-Block allocation for public safety,
  • funding ($7 billion) for a build-out of a nationwide public safety broadband network,
  • a good governance structure, and
  • preservation of the 700 megahertz narrowband mission-critical voice spectrum.

The IACP has been working with the first responder community as part of the Public Safety Alliance for the past 2 1/2 years to allocate D-Block spectrum to public safety for the development of a nationwide interoperable public safety broadband network. This has been a top priority for the IACP and of IACP President Walt McNeil.

Law enforcement and public safety must have a minimum of 20 MHz of broadband spectrum to meet current and future needs and must have access to new technologies to perform increasingly complex duties. These technologies must have adequate and dedicated spectrum to ensure that they will be more secure and reliable than commercial broadband systems. The D-Block allocation to public safety and federal funding help meet the critical needs of our nation’s law enforcement and public safety community.

Commercial systems cannot be relied upon for mission-critical operations. Commercial networks, which often become congested with consumer applications such as Facebook, YouTube, Hulu and Twitter, do not provide priority access to law enforcement and public safety. A substantial slow down of service in the commercial services will serve as an inconvenience to paying customers; however, a similar slow down for public safety could result in lives being lost.

The completion of a nationwide interoperable public safety broadband network will significantly impact the day to day lives of our nation’s law enforcement and other first responders. This nationwide network would allow for the transmittal of mission critical real-time high resolution data such as photos, videos and text messages with the in-building penetration required by police, EMS and fire when responding to emergencies within residential and commercial units. The robust network would be strong and efficient enough to provide mission critical grade communication in the case of a natural disaster, terrorist attack or other emergency.

For example:

  • This will allow law enforcement across jurisdictions to communicate when there is a high speed chase across border lines, a natural disaster like a hurricane or tornado occurs or during a major event that spreads across border lines.
  • The nationwide system would prevent communications lines from becoming jammed during an earthquake, hurricane, terrorist incident or other major incident that greatly increases commercial cell and broadband usage.
  • This will allow for first responders to send secure data when it counts the most. For instance, during an active shooter incident or rescue mission, there may be a need for law enforcement to receive a blue print of the building or property where the incident is taking place.

All of the major national public safety organizations supported this legislation, including the International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Sheriffs' Association, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the Major County Sheriffs' Association, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the Police Executive Research Forum, the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International, the National Association of State EMS Officials, the National Criminal Justice Association, the National Emergency Managers Association, the National Association of Police Organizations, the National Troopers' Coalition, and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.

Additionally, many state, local and tribal government organizations supported it, including the National Governors Association, the National Association of Counties, the National League of Cities, the United States Conference of Mayors, the Council of State Governments, the International City/County Managers Association, and the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The IACP wishes to thank Communications and Technology Committee Chairman Chief Harlin McEwen (ret.) for his tireless work on this issue. The IACP would also like to recognize the hard work of our membership for the letters sent, calls made and work towards passage of this critical legislation.


March 2012

The Police Chief
Legislative Column
March 2012

FY 2013 Proposed Budget Released

The Obama Administration recently released its FY 2013 budget proposal. The proposal includes funding for Department of Justice (DOJ) programs which fund state, local and tribal assistance programs, such as Byrne-JAG and COPS.  The proposed DOJ budget includes:

  • $290 million for the Community Oriented Police Services Program (COPS), of which $257 million is set aside for hiring. And of that amount, $15 million is set aside for training and technical assistance funds.
  • $413 million for the Edward R. Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne-JAG) Program.

The proposal also include s funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) , which includes assistance grants for state, local and tribal law enforcement. The proposed DHS budget would eliminate the State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSG), the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) and the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program (LETPP). All three programs would be replaced with a “National Preparedness Grant” (NPGP) funded at $1.5 billion. 

The NPGP is intended to focus on the development and sustainment of National Incident Management System (NIMS) typed capabilities that can be utilized nationally and regionally. Examples of these capabilities include canine explosive detection teams, Urban Search and Rescue Teams (USAR), and Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) Teams.

The President’s submission of his budget proposal represents the first step in the federal budget process. Over the next several weeks, the House and Senate Budget Committees will begin work on drafting the Congressional Budget Resolution. This non-binding document serves as a statement of Congress’s priorities in the budget process. At the same time, the various subcommittees of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees will begin their efforts to craft the annual appropriation bills that fund the federal government.

IACP Continues to Push for Commission on Criminal Justice

The IACP recently held the third in a series of live webinars intended allow police chiefs throughout the country to exchange ideas and best practices, and discuss the challenges they are facing and the solutions they have identified. Hundreds of chiefs from the United States and around the world joined us for this very informative and thoughtful discussion on the creation of a national commission on the criminal justice system. The webinar may be viewed by visiting IACP’s website: www.TheIACP.org/webinar.

For more than twenty years, the IACP has advocated for the creation of a commission that would follow in the footsteps of the 1965 Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice. The work of that commission and the 200 recommendations it produced marked the beginning of a sea change in our methods for dealing with crime and the public and built the framework for many of the highly effective law enforcement and public safety initiatives that have been in place for the last forty years.

A piece of legislation, the National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2011 (S. 306), introduced by Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), would establish a commission similar to the 1965 Commission. The legislation is strongly supported by the IACP as the establishment of a commission is one of the top priorities for the association. The legislation would allow for a long overdue comprehensive examination and report on the state of law enforcement and criminal justice in the United States.

S. 306 embraces the same mission as the 1965 Commission. As clearly set forth in the legislation the commission is tasked with conducting a comprehensive examination of all aspects of the criminal justice system including, but not limited to, the prevention of crime, law enforcement, corrections and offender re-entry.

In conducting this critical review the commission will have the opportunity to examine and develop recommendations addressing the broad range of new and emerging challenges that confront law enforcement today, from cyber-crime to non-traditional organized crime, from violent street gangs to homeland security. In addition, the commission will also be reviewing the impact, difficulties and opportunities that are presented to the criminal justice community by technological innovations.

All of the major law enforcement organizations and many state and local groups supported this legislation including: The National Sheriffs’ Association; The Fraternal Order of Police; Major Cities Chiefs Association; Major County Sheriffs; National Narcotic Officers’ Associations’ Coalition; The National Association of Counties; The National League of Cities; U.S. Conference of Mayors: and The National Criminal Justice Association. It is because of these efforts that the legislation came close to passage.

For far too long our nation’s law enforcement and criminal justice system has lacked a strategic plan that will guide an integrated public safety and homeland security effort in the years ahead. The IACP will continue the fight towards passage in the coming months.

Unfortunately, the legislation was voted on last fall and fell short by just three votes. However, the IACP will continue to work with our allies on Capitol Hill and partners to pass this critical piece of legislation.


February 2012

The Police Chief
Legislative Column
February 2012

D-Block Agreement Not Reached

In late 2011, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3630, the Payroll Tax Deduction Extension legislation, which included the Jumpstarting Opportunity with Broadband Spectrum (JOBS) Act of 2011whichallocates the D-Block spectrum to public safety and funds the build out of the Public Safety Broadband Network. Unfortunately, the Senate did not include this language in their payroll tax deal and it was ultimately not in the final two month extension bill that was signed by the president.

The IACP worked towards inclusion of allocation of the D-Block but also to amend serious concerning provisions contained in the JOBS Act. Specifically, the JOBS act mandated giveback of mission critical spectrum which public safety currently uses for voice communications; does not provide enough funding for the build out of a nationwide, interoperable, wireless broadband network; and creates and unworkable “administrator” governance model.

The IACP has long been a supporter of S. 911, the SPECTRUM Act, a bi-partisan bill sponsored by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX). The SPECTRUM Act would allocate the D-Block to public safety, allow for the build out of an effective nationwide public safety wireless broadband network, set up a workable governance structure for the network and allocate adequate funding for the network.

Any D-Block legislation considered MUST:

  • Allocate the D-Block to public safety;
  • Allow for the build out of an effective nationwide public safety wireless broadband network,;
  • Set up a workable governance structure for the network; and
  • Allocate adequate funding for the network.

The IACP has been working with the Public Safety Alliance and several other law enforcement and first responder organizations to coordinate this effort. Thank you to all members who responded to the legislative alerts on this topic in December. The IACP will continue to work in 2012 to ensure allocation of the D-Block in the format that is best suited for the law enforcement community.

Congress Passes FY 2012 funding

In late December, appropriations for FY 2012 (for the funds not covered in the November-passed minibus) to fund the government through September 30, 2012, was passed and it included grants administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to aid state, local and tribal law enforcement. DHS grants fared slightly better that DOJ grants but were still deeply cut. The bill allocates $977 million (after carve outs) for all state and local programs administered by FEMA. Actual funding amounts are to be determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security.

The allocation, which is a cut of nearly $2 billion from FY2011, covers major law enforcement assistance programs such as the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), the State Homeland Security Grants (SHSG) and the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program (LETPP), along with several other state, local and tribal assistance grants. Other grants covered under this amount include: Citizen Corps, Public Transportation Security Assistance and Railroad Security Assistance, Over-the-Road Bus Security, Port Security Grants, Driver’s License Security Grants, Interoperable Emergency Communications Grant Program, Emergency Operations Centers, Buffer Zone Protection Program, High-Risk Non-Profit Organization Security Grants, and other grants.

Programs that assist state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies are valuable and critical resources and significantly strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to combat crime and violence and prevent terrorism in our communities. Eliminating or reducing these programs would be devastating to the nearly 18,000 law enforcement agencies in this country. The IACP will continue to work with Member of Congress to educate them on the importance of these critical resources to the state, local and tribal law enforcement community. The IACP will also be working with DHS to provide education when they consider specific allocation of the $977 million in funding.

Day on the Hill

The IACP’s Day on the Hill has been scheduled for Tuesday, March 27 in conjunction with the mid-year meetings of both the Division of State and Provincial Police and the Division of State Associations of Chiefs of Police Divisions. On this day, IACP members will have an opportunity to meet with their elected officials on issues important to the law enforcement community. A briefing will be held in the afternoon on the day before to update attendees on legislative activities and issues in Congress.

2012 will be a busy year for Congress as the November elections approach. That is why it is important that members from the state, local and tribal law enforcement community educate elected officials on issues important to the law enforcement community.

If you are interested in joining us for the Day on the Hill, please contact Meredith Ward for more information: mays@theiacp.org.


January 2012

The Police Chief
Legislative Column
January 2012

Congress Passes ‘Minibus’ Appropriations Bill

In mid-November, President Obama signed the appropriations “minibus,” which contains FY2012 Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Transportation and Housing appropriations bills. Within the minibus was funding for the Department of Justice, who administers several of the assistance grants for state, local and tribal law enforcement.

Specifically, the bill provides 198.2 million, including $141 million for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program (after carve outs). The COPS Program seeks to fund critical programs for combating methamphetamine production and trafficking; tribal law enforcement; to combat gun trafficking and reduce gang violence; to hire school resource officers and to establish school-based partnerships between local law enforcement agencies and local school systems to combat crime, gangs, drug activities; to pay for officers hired to perform intelligence, anti-terror, or homeland security duties; and for the recruitment of inactive military personnel to pursue the law enforcement profession.

The minibus also included $352 million for the Edward R. Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne-JAG) (after carve outs). Byrne-JAG provides funds to assist states and units of local government in controlling and preventing drug abuse, crime, and violence, and in improving the criminal justice system.

The bill also included $12.5 million to reinstate funding for cleanup of methamphetamine labs—a fund that was zeroed out last year. This is a program that the IACP fought hard to reinstate, after hearing outcries from our membership. According to the DEA, state, local and tribal agencies seized 3,636 meth labs in 2008; 5,513 in 2009; and 6,294 in 2010. And, sadly, these numbers do not represent a complete picture of the meth lab problem—many state and local law enforcement agencies simply do not have the staff resources to report meth lab seizures and there are many other labs that are unknown to law enforcement.

Up until FY 2010, Congress appropriated funding for state, local and tribal clandestine lab cleanups under the Community Oriented Policing Services program (COPS). In FY 2010, the COPS office was authorized to transfer $10 million to the DEA to continue to administer the program; however, this level of funding was not adequate to address the increasing demands on the program. While additional and continued funding is necessary, the IACP is pleased that Congress appropriated $12.5 million to assist law enforcement in this critical effort.

 

Finally, changes in communications technologies are presenting new challenges to law enforcement’s ability to access, intercept, collect and process wire or electronic communications to which they are lawfully authorized. The recommendation includes program increases totaling $12,466,000 to address such challenges, including $10,463,000 and 13 positions to establish and operate a Domestic Communications Assistance Center (DCAC), which will serve as a hub for the management of knowledge and technical expertise regarding lawful electronic surveillance and facilitate the sharing of solutions among Federal, State and local law enforcement. The IACP strongly supports the creation of the DCAC.

The IACP will continue to work with members of Congress on legislative funding proposals to ensure that law enforcement has the resources needed to fulfill their mission. 

Day on the Hill

The IACP’s Day on the Hill has been scheduled for Tuesday, March 27 in conjunction with the mid-year meetings of both the Division of State and Provincial Police and the Division of State Associations of Chiefs of Police Divisions. On this day, IACP members will have an opportunity to meet with their elected officials on issues important to the law enforcement community. A briefing will be held in the afternoon on the day before to update attendees on legislative activities and issues in Congress.

2012 will be a busy year for Congress as the November elections approach. That is why it is important that members from the state, local and tribal law enforcement community educate elected officials on issues important to the law enforcement community.

If you are interested in joining us for the Day on the Hill, please contact Meredith Ward for more information: mays@theiacp.org


December 2011

The Police Chief
Legislative Column
December 2011

National Criminal Justice Commission Legislation Falls Short of Passage

In late October, the National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2011 was introduced as an amendment to the Senate Ag-CJS-Transportation FY12 Appropriations Minibus. The legislation, introduced by Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) is strongly supported by the IACP as the establishment of a commission is one of the top priorities for the association. The legislation would allow for a long overdue comprehensive examination and report on the state of law enforcement and criminal justice in the United States. Unfortunately, the amendment needed 60 votes to pass and fell short of that mark and was voted down 57-43.

For more than twenty years, the IACP has advocated for the creation of a commission that would follow in the footsteps of the 1965 Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice. The work of that commission and the 200 recommendations it produced marked the beginning of a sea change in our methods for dealing with crime and the public and built the framework for many of the highly effective law enforcement and public safety initiatives that have been in place for the last forty years.

The commission embraces the same mission as the 1965 Commission. As clearly set forth in the legislation the commission is tasked with conducting a comprehensive examination of all aspects of the criminal justice system including, but not limited to, the prevention of crime, law enforcement, corrections and offender re-entry.

In conducting this critical review the commission will have the opportunity to examine and develop recommendations addressing the broad range of new and emerging challenges that confront law enforcement today, from cyber-crime to non-traditional organized crime, from violent street gangs to homeland security. In addition, the commission will also be reviewing the impact, difficulties and opportunities that are presented to the criminal justice community by technological innovations.

Many IACP members from around the United States called and emailed their Senators and asked them to support this legislation. Additionally, all of the major law enforcement organizations and many state and local groups supported this legislation including: The National Sheriffs’ Association; The Fraternal Order of Police; Major Cities Chiefs Association; Major County Sheriffs; National Narcotic Officers’ Associations’ Coalition; The National Association of Counties; The National League of Cities; U.S. Conference of Mayors: and The National Criminal Justice Association. It is because of these efforts that the legislation came close to passage.

For far too long our nation’s law enforcement and criminal justice system has lacked a strategic plan that will guide an integrated public safety and homeland security effort in the years ahead. The IACP will continue the fight towards passage in the coming months. 

Holder, Napolitano Speak at IACP 2011

Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary Janet Napolitano, Department of Homeland Security, spoke at the IACP’s 118 th annual conference in Chicago, IL. Both praised the efforts of state, local and tribal law enforcement and pledged support for many top priorities for the law enforcement community.

Attorney General Holder praised the success of the Law Enforcement National Data Exchange (“N-DEx”) as well as the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative, (“NSI”). The Attorney General said, “By fostering increased partnership among law enforcement agencies, as well as private-sector entities, NSI is allowing officers to connect suspicious, but seemingly disparate, pieces of information. As a result, potential terror attacks are being identified – and prevented.”

The Attorney General also pledged support for the allocation of the D-Block to public safety. “… when it comes to meeting your communications needs, let me assure you that the Justice Department has not – and will not – let up on our efforts to ensure that you have meaningful, affordable access to radio spectrum when and where you need it.”

The Attorney General also expressed strong support for the Community Oriented Policing Services Hiring Program (COPS Hiring) and committed to saving and creating first responder jobs. Finally, Attorney General Holder renewed his commitment to reducing officer deaths and injuries and for the IACP Center for the Prevention of Violence Against the Police.

Secretary Napolitano praised the law enforcement community and the IACP saying, the “IACP has both informed and strengthened many of the programs and initiatives we have put in place since 9/11 to keep our nation safe – from our efforts to improve the sharing of information, to making our grant programs more effective, to developing better technology for police and first responders.”

Secretary Napolitano also praised efforts of state, local and tribal law enforcement in its participation in the fusion center network, NSI training, and efforts to detect and prevent acts of terrorism in the United States. 


November 2011

The Police Chief
Legislative Column
November 2011

Senate Committees Pass FY2012 Spending Bills

The Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science recently approved their FY2012 spending levels for grants administered by the Department of Justice, which includes many grant programs critical to the law enforcement community. The Committee approved $395 million for the Edward R. Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne-JAG). Byrne-JAG provides funds to assist states and units of local government in controlling and preventing drug abuse, crime, and violence, and in improving the criminal justice system.

The committee approved $232 million for the Community Oriented Policing Services Program (COPS), which includes $200 million for hiring grants. The COPS Program seeks to fund critical programs for combating methamphetamine production and trafficking; tribal law enforcement; to combat gun trafficking and reduce gang violence; to hire school resource officers and to establish school-based partnerships between local law enforcement agencies and local school systems to combat crime, gangs, drug activities; to pay for officers hired to perform intelligence, anti-terror, or homeland security duties; and for the recruitment of inactive military personnel to pursue the law enforcement profession.

Both of these levels are in stark contrast to what the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations passed for the COPS Program and Byrne-JAG.   The House proposal would eliminate funding for the COPS program and the COPS Office. Additionally, it would slash funding for Byrne-JAG by nearly 17% to $357 million. This proposed cut comes on top of a nearly 20% cut to the program in the current budget. The proposal does include $15 million to support methamphetamine lab cleanup.

Grants administered by the Department of Homeland Security to aid state, local and tribal law enforcement fared slightly better. The Senate Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Homeland Security voted to allocated $320 million for the State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP), $300 million for the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) program and $207.5 million for the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program (LETPP).

The full House of Representatives has already passed the Homeland Security appropriations bill for FY2012, which slashed funding for state, local and tribal homeland security assistance programs by more than $2 billion from its current levels. In FY 2011, these programs received $3.1 billion in funding; the House approved bill includes $1 billion for FY 2012. The IACP strongly opposed these proposals.

Specifically, $750 million is proposed to cover the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), the State Homeland Security Grants (SHSG) and the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program, along with several other state, local and tribal assistance grants, with actual funding amounts to be determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security.

These programs are valuable and critical resources to the state, tribal, and local law enforcement community. All significantly strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to combat crime and violence and prevent terrorism in our communities. Eliminating or reducing these programs would be devastating to the nearly 18,000 law enforcement agencies in this country.

Action by the committees represents the next step in the FY2012 appropriations process. Both the full House and Senate must vote on all of the bills and differences must be worked out before any proposal can be sent to the president for approval.

The IACP will continue to work with Member of Congress to educate them on the importance of these critical resources to the state, local and tribal law enforcement community. 

IACP Supports Narrowbanding Legislation

The IACP recently expressed support for H.R. 2976, the Help Emergency Responders Operate Emergency Systems (HEROES) Act of 2011. H.R. 2976, introduced by Representative Steve Rothman (D-NJ), addresses the unfunded federal mandate, known as narrowband, which affects local, tribal, and state law enforcement and other first responders in the United States.

H.R. 2976 will establish a $400 million DHS-administered Narrowbanding Compliance Assistance Program to assist local, tribal and state law enforcement and first responders in meeting the narrowband mandate issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The 2004 FCC Order mandates that local, tribal and state law enforcement agencies and other first respondersupgrade their spectrum licenses and equipment by January, 2013. Although previous legislation has been passed that would help local, tribal and state law enforcement and other first responders accomplish this mandate, recent budget cuts for FY2012 have eliminated or significantly reduced most of that assistance. H.R. 2976 would provide the federal funds necessary to help local, tribal, and state law enforcement and other first responders pay for the narrowband migration and purchase new equipment.

The IACP urges Congress to act to ensure that the nation’s nearly 18,000 local, tribal and state law enforcement agencies—who are already facing severely reduced budgets and are struggling to protect the communities they serve—are not further burdened by an unfunded mandate.


October 2011

The Police Chief
Legislative Column
October 2011

Legislation Introduced that Would Allocate $4 billion to Law Enforcement

In mid-September, the Administration proposed a plan which includes $5 billion for “first responder stabilization.” The bill allocates $4 billion for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program for hiring, rehiring or retention of law enforcement officers. The bill also includes $1 billion for Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grants for hiring, rehiring or retention of fire fighters.

The IACP is very supportive of the COPS Program as it has proven to strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to combat crime and violence in our communities.

The COPS Program seeks to fund critical programs for combating methamphetamine production and trafficking; tribal law enforcement; to combat gun trafficking and reduce gang violence; to hire school resource officers and to establish school-based partnerships between local law enforcement agencies and local school systems to combat crime, gangs, drug activities; to pay for officers hired to perform intelligence, anti-terror, or homeland security duties; and for the recruitment of inactive military personnel to pursue the law enforcement profession.

The proposal is based on the jobs bill that the Administration introduced in early September and is aimed at creating and saving jobs in the United States. In addition to first responder assistance, the bill also includes assistance to other sectors such as teachers, construction workers and veterans.

The proposal would also allocate the 700MHz D-Block to public safety for the build out of an effective nationwide public safety wireless broadband network—a proposal that is strongly supported by the IACP. All of the major national public safety organizations and many state, local and tribal government organizations support it as well.

For many years now, the IACP has been working towards this goal. This proposal would provide law enforcement and other public safety agencies with an additional 10 megahertz (MHz) of spectrum that is necessary to support a nationwide, interoperable, wireless broadband network that will help them fulfill their mission of protecting lives in communities throughout the United States.

Law enforcement and public safety must have a minimum of 20 MHz of broadband spectrum to meet current and future needs and must have access to new technologies to perform increasingly complex duties. These technologies must have adequate and dedicated spectrum that is managed and controlled by public safety to ensure that they will be more secure and reliable than commercial broadband systems. The D-Block allocation to public safety and federal funding is essential if we are to meet the critical needs of our nation’s law enforcement and public safety community.

Legislation that would allocate the D-Block to public safety has been introduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The legislation passed the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation this summer and awaits final passage by the full Senate and also action by the House of Representatives.

Hearing Held on IACP-Opposed National Conceal Carry Bill

In mid-September, the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security held a hearing on H.R. 822, the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011. H.R. 822, sponsored by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) would weaken existing state laws by allowing an individual to carry concealed firearms when visiting another state or the District of Columbia as long as the individual was entitled to carry concealed firearms pursuant to the laws of his or her home state.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey testified at the hearing in opposition to the legislation. In his testimony, Commissioner Ramsey said, “ We have a uniquely diverse nation. What works where I currently serve as Commissioner in Philadelphia, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, does not work for our neighbor across the river in New Jersey. Our laws for obtaining a permit are vastly different, based on well-debated decisions made at the state level. This bill would allow people to carry concealed and loaded guns in every state, without consideration for the minimum standards created by their governments.”

The IACP is strongly opposed to H.R. 822 because it would severely undermine state concealed carry licensing systems by allowing out of state visitors to carry concealed firearms even if those visitors have not met the standards for carrying a concealed weapon in the state they are visiting.

For example, some states require a person to show that they know how to use a firearm or meet minimum training standards before obtaining a concealed carry license. These states would be forced to allow out of state visitors to carry concealed weapons even if they do not meet that state’s concealed licensing standards.

It is the IACP’s belief that states and localities should have the right to determine who is eligible to carry firearms in their communities. It is essential that state, local and tribal governments maintain the ability to legislate concealed carry laws that best fit the needs of their communities—private citizens as well as active and former law enforcement personnel.

The bill currently has an astounding 243 co-sponsors.


September 2011

The Police Chief
Legislative Column
September 2011

IACP Supports Bill to Combat Child Pornography

The IACP recently announced its support for H.R. 1981, the Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), seeks to significantly enhance the ability of state, local and federal law enforcement to investigate and prosecute those who engage in child pornography and exploitation crimes.

Specifically, the legislation:

  • Makes it a crime for someone to conduct a financial transaction knowing that such transaction will facilitate access to child pornography.  The offense is punishable by up to ten years in prison;
  • Requires Internet Service Providers (ISP) to retain for 18 months Internet Protocol (IP) addresses it assigns to customer accounts. The provision exempts wireless IP address assignment from the retention requirement;
  • Authorizes the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) to issue administrative subpoenas in investigations of unregistered sex offenders.  The USMS is the primary federal agency charged with apprehending criminal fugitives, including those who have absconded from state criminal charges.  Under the Adam Walsh Act, the USMS was put in charge of also apprehending sex offenders, including those who molest children, who have failed to register under state or federal registration laws;
  • Expands protection of minor victims and witnesses from harassment or intimidation and additional protections to children victims and witnesses, including penalties for harassing or intimidating a witness;
  • Directs the United States Sentencing Commission to review and amend federal sentencing guidelines and policy statements to ensure that such guidelines provide an additional penalty for sex trafficking of children and other child abuse crimes; and
  • Increases the maximum penalty from 10 to 20 years for child pornography offenses involving prepubescent minors or minors under the age of 12. 

Of particular interest to the law enforcement community pertains to the retention of network addresses by electronic communication services or remote computing services for 18 months. While the retention of records by communication service providers is vital to secure valuable evidence and produce investigative leads, this legislation will help address the changing face of investigations in the evolving technological world.

The legislation passed the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary in late July and currently has bi-partisan support with 25 co-sponsors.

IACP Opposes National Conceal Carry Bill

The IACP recently expressed strong opposition to H.R. 822, the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011. H.R. 822, sponsored by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) would weaken existing state laws by allowing an individual to carry concealed firearms when visiting another state or the District of Columbia as long as the individual was entitled to carry concealed firearms pursuant to the laws of his or her home state.

In a letter to Congress, IACP President Mark A. Marshall, Chief of the Smithfield, VA Police Department, said, “It is the IACP’s belief that H.R. 822 would severely undermine state concealed carry licensing systems by allowing out of state visitors to carry concealed firearms even if those visitors have not met the standards for carrying a concealed weapon in the state they are visiting.”

For example, some states require a person to show that they know how to use a firearm or meet minimum training standards before obtaining a concealed carry license. These states would be forced to allow out of state visitors to carry concealed weapons even if they do not meet that state’s concealed licensing standards.

It is the IACP’s belief that states and localities should have the right to determine who is eligible to carry firearms in their communities. It is essential that state, local and tribal governments maintain the ability to legislate concealed carry laws that best fit the needs of their communities—private citizens as well as active and former law enforcement personnel.

The bill currently has an astounding 242 co-sponsors and it being considered in the House Committee on the Judiciary.

Legislative Briefing

The IACP will hold its 118 th annual conference in Chicago in October. The membership-wide Legislative Briefing will be held on Saturday, October 22 from 10 to 11 a.m. in Convention CenterroomW181C . During this briefing members will be updated on pertinent legislation, resolutions, and have the opportunity to ask questions.

For more information, please contact Meredith Ward, Legislative Representative, WardM@theiacp.org.


August 2011

The Police Chief
August 2011

COPS Program Targeted for Elimination

In early July, the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations released its proposal for the FY 2012 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Bill, including its recommendations for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Program. The House proposal would eliminate funding for the COPS program and the COPS Office.

Additionally, the bill would slash funding for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne-JAG) Program by nearly 17% to $357 million. This proposed cut comes on top of a nearly 20% cut to the program in the current budget.

The COPS Program seeks to fund critical programs for combating methamphetamine production and trafficking; tribal law enforcement; to combat gun trafficking and reduce gang violence; to hire school resource officers and to establish school-based partnerships between local law enforcement agencies and local school systems to combat crime, gangs, drug activities; to pay for officers hired to perform intelligence, anti-terror, or homeland security duties; and for the recruitment of inactive military personnel to pursue the law enforcement profession.

Byrne-JAG provides funds to assist states and units of local government in controlling and preventing drug abuse, crime, and violence, and in improving the criminal justice system. The value of this program can be seen by examining the success of one of the most popular uses of Byrne JAG funds, multi-jurisdictional drug task forces. These multi-jurisdictional task forces help reduce the impact of drug and firearm traffickers, gangs, pharmaceutical diversion, and organized crime on America’s communities.

These programs are valuable and critical resources to the state, tribal, and local law enforcement community. Both significantly strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to combat crime and violence in our communities. Eliminating or reducing either of these programs would be devastating to the nearly 18,000 law enforcement agencies in this country.

Therefore, it is imperative that all IACP members contact their Members of Congress and urge them not to cut or eliminate these critical resources to the state, local and tribal law enforcement community. Both programs have been proven to strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to combat crime and violence in our communities.

IACP members can visit the IACP’s Legislative Action Center to quickly and easily send a message to your Members of Congress. Included in the Legislative Action Center is a sample letter and contact information for your Members of Congress. Please visit the Legislative Action section of the IACP website.

IACP Legislative Action Center

House Introduces D-Block Legislation

Congressman John Dingell (D-MI) and Congressman Gene Green (D-TX) recently introduced D-Block legislation in the House of Representatives, H.R. 2482, the Public Safety Spectrum and Wireless Innovation Act. The legislation, a companion bill to Sen. Rockefeller and Sen. Bailey Hutchinson’s Senate legislation, is strongly supported by the IACP. The introduction of H.R. 2482 follows the passage of the Senate companion bill in the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

Since 2009, the IACP has been working towards having the 700MHz D Block reallocated to public safety for an effective nationwide public safety wireless broadband network. S. 911, sponsored by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), and cosponsored by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison would achieve this goal.

H.R. 2482/S. 911 would provide law enforcement and other public safety agencies with an additional 10 megahertz (MHz) of spectrum that is necessary to support a nationwide, interoperable, wireless broadband network that will help them fulfill their mission of protecting lives in communities throughout the United States.

Law enforcement and public safety must have a minimum of 20 MHz of broadband spectrum to meet current and future needs and must have access to new technologies to perform increasingly complex duties. These technologies must have adequate and dedicated spectrum that is managed and controlled by public safety to ensure that they will be more secure and reliable than commercial broadband systems. The D-Block allocation to public safety and federal funding is essential if we are to meet the critical needs of our nation’s law enforcement and public safety community.

All of the major national public safety organizations support this legislation, including the International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Sheriffs' Association, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the Major County Sheriffs' Association, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the Police Executive Research Forum, the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International, the National Association of State EMS Officials, the National Criminal Justice Association, the National Emergency Managers Association, the National Association of Police Organizations, the National Troopers' Coalition, and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.

Additionally, many state, local and tribal government organizations support it, including the National Governors Association, the National Association of Counties, the National League of Cities, the United States Conference of Mayors, the Council of State Governments, the International City/County Managers Association, and the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The IACP will be working towards passage of this bill in the full Senate and hopefully then a companion bill in the House of Representatives. The IACP requests that every IACP member contact their Senators and ask them to support H.R. 2482/S. 911. Thanks to the hard work of our membership, several letters have been sent and several members have indicated they will send letters

For more information on the D Block legislation and to get assistance in sending a letter, please contact Meredith Ward, WardM@theiacp.org.


July 2011

The Police Chief
Legislative Column
July 2011

House Passes Homeland Security Appropriations Bill – Cuts $2 billion from State and Local Assistance Programs

The House of Representatives recently passed the Homeland Security appropriations bill for FY2012, which slashed funding for state, local and tribal homeland security assistance programs by more than $2 billion from its current levels. In FY 2011, these programs received $3.1 billion in funding; the House approved bill includes $1 billion for FY 2012. The IACP strongly opposed these proposals.

Specifically, $750 million is proposed to cover the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), the State Homeland Security Grants (SHSG) and the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program, along with several other state, local and tribal assistance grants, with actual funding amounts to be determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security.

The Senate has not yet released their version of homeland security funding legislation. The IACP will continue to work with Congress to ensure state, local and tribal law enforcement has adequate funding for FY12.

Senate Committee Approves D-Block Legislation

On June 8th, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation approved S. 911, the SPECTRUM Act, which IACP strongly supports.

Since 2009, the IACP has been working towards having the 700MHz D Block reallocated to public safety for an effective nationwide public safety wireless broadband network. S. 911, sponsored by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), and cosponsored by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison would achieve this goal.

S. 911 would provide law enforcement and other public safety agencies with an additional 10 megahertz (MHz) of spectrum that is necessary to support a nationwide, interoperable, wireless broadband network that will help them fulfill their mission of protecting lives in communities throughout the United States.

Law enforcement and public safety must have a minimum of 20 MHz of broadband spectrum to meet current and future needs and must have access to new technologies to perform increasingly complex duties. These technologies must have adequate and dedicated spectrum that is managed and controlled by public safety to ensure that they will be more secure and reliable than commercial broadband systems. The D-Block allocation to public safety and federal funding is essential if we are to meet the critical needs of our nation’s law enforcement and public safety community.

All of the major national public safety organizations support this legislation, including the International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Sheriffs' Association, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the Major County Sheriffs' Association, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the Police Executive Research Forum, the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International, the National Association of State EMS Officials, the National Criminal Justice Association, the National Emergency Managers Association, the National Association of Police Organizations, the National Troopers' Coalition, and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.

Additionally, many state, local and tribal government organizations support it, including the National Governors Association, the National Association of Counties, the National League of Cities, the United States Conference of Mayors, the Council of State Governments, the International City/County Managers Association, and the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The IACP will be working towards passage of this bill in the full Senate and hopefully then a companion bill in the House of Representatives. The IACP requests that every IACP member contact their Senators and ask them to support S. 911. Thanks to the hard work of our membership, several letters have been sent and several members have indicated they will send letters

For more information on the D Block legislation and to get assistance in sending a letter, please contact Meredith Ward, WardM@theiacp.org

IACP Supports Mueller Nomination

The IACP President Chief Mark A. Marshall recently sent a letter to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary expressing strong support for legislation to extend the term of FBI Director Robert Mueller for an additional two-year period. President Obama re-appointed Director Mueller earlier this year after his original, 10-year term had expired. A legislative fix is required for Director Mueller to be extended as director for 2 additional years.

In the letter, President Marshall wrote, “Immediately following the September 11th attacks, Director Mueller made the critical decision to improve the FBI’s cooperation, communication and coordination with state, tribal and local law agencies. Because of this commitment, the FBI – under Director Mueller’s leadership - has been able to successfully meet the challenge of protecting our Nation from the threat of terrorism while at the same time remaining a vital partner to state, tribal and local law enforcement agencies in their daily efforts to protect their communities from crime and violence.”

The IACP urges Congress to approve the extension legislation in a timely fashion and extend Director Mueller’s term for an additional two years.


June 2011

The Police Chief
Legislative Column
June 2011

Congress Reaches FY2011 Budget Agreement

As part of the recent budget agreement between Congress and the Obama Administration, the FY 2011 funding levels for several critical law enforcement assistance programs were reduced. In fact, the cuts totaled nearly $1 billion.

Below is a breakdown of these cuts:

Program

Funding Level

Reduction from FY 10

Byrne-JAG

$431 Million

-$88 Million

Byrne Discretionary

$0

-$185 Million

COPS

$495 Million

-$296 Million

State Homeland Security Grant Program

$725 Million

-$225 Million

Urban Area Security Initiative

$725 Million

-$162 Million

 

 

Total: -$956 Million

IACP will continue to work with both Members of Congress and the Obama Administration to restore these cuts in the FY 2012 budget cycle.

D-Block Legislation Gains Momentum

For many years the IACP has been working towards having 700MHz D Block to be reallocated for an effective nationwide public safety wireless broadband network. Two pieces of legislation would achieve this goal:

The Public Safety Spectrum and Wireless Innovation Act, S. 28, sponsored by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and the Broadband for First Responders Act, H.R. 607, sponsored by Reps. Peter King (R-NY) and Bennie Thompson (D-MS).

The IACP has been heavily involved in making sure the legislation gains momentum and S. 28 is expected to be marked up some time in early summer.

Additionally, in late April, IACP President Mark A. Marshall sent a request to IACP membership requesting that every IACP member contact their Senators and Representatives and ask them to support both pieces of legislation. Thanks to the hard work of our membership, several letters have been sent and several members have indicated they will send letters.

S. 28 and H.R. 607 would provide law enforcement and other public safety agencies with an additional 10 megahertz (MHz) of spectrum that is necessary to support a nationwide, interoperable, wireless broadband network that will help them fulfill their mission of protecting lives in communities throughout the United States.

Law enforcement and public safety must have a minimum of 20 MHz of broadband spectrum to meet current and future needs and must have access to new technologies to perform increasingly complex duties. These technologies must have adequate and dedicated spectrum that is managed and controlled by public safety to ensure that they will be more secure and reliable than commercial broadband systems. The D-Block allocation to public safety and federal funding is essential if we are to meet the critical needs of our nation’s law enforcement and public safety community.

All of the major national public safety organizations support this legislation, including the National Sheriffs' Association, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the Major County Sheriffs' Association, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the Police Executive Research Forum, the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International, the National Association of State EMS Officials, the National Criminal Justice Association, the National Emergency Managers Association, the National Association of Police Organizations, the National Troopers' Coalition, and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.

Additionally, many state, local and tribal government organizations support it, including the National Governors Association, the National Association of Counties, the National League of Cities, the United States Conference of Mayors, the Council of State Governments, the International City/County Managers Association, and the National Conference of State Legislatures.

For more information on the D Block legislation and to get assistance in sending a letter, please contact Meredith Ward, WardM@theiacp.org.  

IACP Continues to Push for Crime Commission Bill

The IACP continues to push for the passage of the National Criminal Justice Commission Act (S. 306). The legislation currently has 22 co-sponsors. S. 305 directs the commission to study all areas of the criminal justice system, including federal, state, local and tribal governments’ criminal justice costs, practices, and policies. After conducting the review, the commission will make recommendations for changes in, or continuation of oversight, policies, practices, and laws designed to prevent, deter, and reduce crime and violence, improve cost-effectiveness, and ensure the interests of justice.

For more than twenty years, the IACP has advocated for the creation of a commission that would follow in the footsteps of the 1965 Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice. The IACP believes that the work of that commission and the 200 recommendations it produced marked the beginning of a sea change in our methods for dealing with crime and the public and built the framework for many of the highly effective law enforcement and public safety initiatives that have been in place for the last forty years. The IACP will continue to work with Sen. Webb to ensure the successful passage of S. 306 in the 112th Congressional session. 


May 2011

IACP Works to Restore Assistance Funding for Meth Lab Clean-up

Recently, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) informed state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies that funding to assist in the cleanup of clandestine methamphetamine laboratories has been exhausted and, at this time, there is not an expectation of additional funding.

The IACP has learned that if additional funding becomes available, it will be a very small amount. However, the DEA has stated that any additional funding that may become available will be provided to those states that have hazardous waste container programs. Once that funding is expended, DEA will no longer be able to assist state, local and tribal law enforcement with contractor support for hazardous waste removal from approved container programs or clandestine lab sites.

Up until FY 2010, Congress appropriated funding for state, local and tribal clandestine lab cleanups under the Community Oriented Policing Services program (COPS). In FY 2010, the COPS office was authorized to transfer $10 million to DEA to continue to administer the program; however, this level of funding was not adequate to address the increasing demands on the program. The IACP has learned that the DEA has pursued alternative funding streams for lab cleanup and will continue to do so.

Tragically, the number of meth labs has increased dramatically over the past few years. According to the DEA, state, local and tribal agencies seized 3,636 meth labs in 2008; 5,513 in 2009; and 6,294 in 2010. Even though these numbers are alarming, it is important to note that they do not represent a complete picture of the meth lab problem. Sadly, many state and local law enforcement agencies simply do not have the staff resources to report meth lab seizures. Even more troubling, there are many other labs that are unknown to law enforcement.

But perhaps the most disturbing is the number of children, all innocent victims, who are injured by living in or around meth labs. In 2010, 1,647 children were injured due to their proximity to a meth lab.

The IACP is deeply troubled by these statistics and is working with our federal and Congressional partners to find an emergency fix and longe term solution to this problem. In addition to requesting that Congress reinstate funding in the current and FY 2012 budgets, the IACP is also working with federal agencies to fix this problem.

IACP President Mark Marshall recently sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency requesting that the EPA review this issue. In the letter President Marshall wrote that the growing number of meth labs in the United States is very troubling to state, local and tribal law enforcement. President Marshall also stated that states and localities simply cannot sustain clean-up efforts alone.

President Marshall wrote, “The IACP is committed to working with federal agencies, Congress, and our other law enforcement partners to find a successful long-term solution to this critical problem. In the meantime, I respectfully request that the EPA pursue additional sources of emergency funding to assist state, local and tribal law enforcement in the cleanup of these dangerous labs. I also ask the EPA to work with the law enforcement community to find a more permanent solution to this grave problem. Meth Labs represent a serious environmental and public health issue, and state, local and tribal law enforcement must have the assistance of the federal government.

IACP Releases Law Enforcement Action Agenda for the 112th Congress

The IACP recently released the Law Enforcement Action Agenda for the 112th Congress, which provides a concise overview of the critical issues facing the law enforcement community and contains recommendations for Congressional action.

Topics covered in the Action Agenda include:

  • Support for National Commission on Criminal Justice
  • Ensure Adequate Funding For State, Local And Tribal Law Enforcement
  • Focus on Terrorism Prevention
  • Promote Intelligence and Information Sharing
  • Secure the Borders/Enhance Federal Immigration Enforcement
  • Reduce Firearms Violence and Target Illegal Guns
  • Combat Illegal Narcotics • Establish A National, Interoperable Broadband Public Safety Network
  • Improve Highway Safety

IACP believes that now, perhaps as never before, Congress must act to ensure that the needs of the law enforcement community are addressed. In recent years, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies have played an ever increasing role in our nation’s homeland security efforts and have been asked to tackle new challenges and confront a multitude of new threats.

To download a copy of the agenda, please visit The IACP’s Website.


April 2011

IACP Testifies on Going Dark

In late February, IACP President Mark Marshall testified before the House Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security at a hearing titled, “Going Dark: Lawful Electronic Surveillance in the Face of New Technologies.”

In the United States, there are more than 18,000 law enforcement agencies; many of whom use electronic surveillance as they investigate crimes. Each day, state, local, tribal and federal law enforcement agencies use lawful electronic surveillance as a critical tool for enforcing the nation’s laws and protecting the citizens they serve. Moreover, electronic evidence is now a routine issue in all crimes and at most crime scenes.

The advanced features of today's phones can process more information about where people have been, who they know and are calling, what they are texting, pictures they have and are sending, as well as larger amounts of data than ever before. Information recovered can also produce connections to other media like Facebook and Twitter, contact lists, call history, calendars, GPS waypoints and email. If properly recovered, this sort of stored data on communication devices has great investigative and intelligence value to assist law enforcement with investigations.

In the hearing President Marshall stated, “the IACP believes that lawful interception of voice and data communications is one of the most valuable investigative tools available to law enforcement in identifying and crippling criminal and terrorist organizations.” President Marshall went on to discuss how communications methods have changed in recent years saying, “the evolution and development of communication devices has had a significant impact on law enforcement’s ability to conduct electronic surveillance, as well as to recover valuable evidence from communication devices.”

The focus of the hearing was these new technologies and the fact that many agencies that need to be able to conduct electronic surveillance of real time communications are on the verge of “Going Dark” because they are increasingly unable to access, intercept, collect and process wire or electronic communications information when they are lawfully authorized to do so.

As President Marshall stated, “this serious intercept capability gap often undercuts state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies’ efforts to investigate criminal activity such as organized crime, drug-related offenses, child abduction, child exploitation, prison escape, and other threats to public safety.”

President Marshall went on to call for updated laws and the creation of a uniform set of standards and guidelines to assist law enforcement agencies. He also called for a central entity that would aid state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies with lawful intercepts and share technology with those same agencies.

FY 2012 Proposed Budget Released

The Obama Administration recently released its FY 2012 budget proposal. The proposal includes $28.2 billion for the Department of Justice (DOJ), including $3 billion in funds for state, local and tribal assistance programs, such as Byrne-JAG and COPS. The proposed DOJ budget includes:

  • $600 million for Community Oriented Police Services Program (COPS).
  • $487 million for the Edward R. Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne-JAG)

The proposal also includes $43.2 billion for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which includes assistance grants for state, local and tribal law enforcement. The proposed DHS budget includes:

  • $1 billion for the State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSG);
  • $920 million for the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI); and

Please note that there is no separate line item for the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program (LETPP). In accordance with the 9/11 Act, 25 percent of funds from the SHSG and UASI must be used for LETPP activities. Based on the numbers proposed for LETTP and the UASI program, this 25 percent set aside equates to approximately $480 million.

The President’s submission of his budget proposal represents the first step in the federal budget process. Over the next several weeks, the House and Senate Budget Committees will begin work on drafting the Congressional Budget Resolution. This non-binding document serves as a statement of Congress’s priorities in the budget process. At the same time, the various subcommittees of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees will begin their efforts to craft the annual appropriation bills that fund the federal government.


March 2011

IACP Testifies at Data Retention Hearing

The IACP recently testified at a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security titled, Data Retention as a Tool for Investigating Internet Child Pornography and Other Internet Crimes. Testifying on behalf of the IACP was Chief John Douglass of Overland Park, Kansas and also chair of the IACP’s Mid-Sized Cities Section.

In his testimony Chief Douglass stressed the importance of data retention and preservation saying, “When criminals access the Internet through an ISP (or Internet Service Provider), send text messages, emails and other data, it creates important records and other information. In every case where criminal or civil action is envisioned, there is a clear need to preserve third party logs and business records related to connections which specifically demonstrate that a suspect’s service provider is connecting with a victim’s service provider or through another infrastructure en route.”

Chief Douglass went on to discuss challenges law enforcement faces regarding timing of preservation requests and, thus, the critical need for an across the board, standardized time requirement for data retention.

For more information on the hearing please visit www.judiciary.house.gov.

IACP Continues to Push for D-Block Legislation

The IACP recently announced support for the Public Safety Spectrum and Wireless Innovation Act (S. 28), sponsored by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV). This legislation would provide law enforcement and other public safety agencies with an additional 10 megahertz of spectrum that is necessary to support a national, interoperable, wireless broadband network that will help them fulfill their mission of protecting lives in communities throughout the United States.

“This legislation is absolutely essential to public safety,” stated Mark Marshall, IACP President and Chief of the Smithfield, VA, Police Department. “Sen. Rockefeller’s bill begins to deliver the baseline foundation of sufficient radio spectrum and federal funding so that our nation can finally realize a nationwide, interoperable and mission-critical grade public safety broadband network.”

The introduction of S. 28 follows steps taken last Congressional session by Representative Peter King (R-NY) and Representative Yvette Clarke (D-NY) who introduced the Broadband for First Responders Act of 2010; and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) who introduced the First Responders Protection Act of 2010. Sen. Rockefeller also introduced similar legislation last Congressional session.

In early February, the IACP also participated in three days of meetings on Capitol Hill to push for this legislation. The IACP will continue to work with Congress to pass this critical legislation.

IACP Supports Legislation Aimed at Reducing Firearms Violence

The IACP recently announced support for two pieces of legislation aimed at reducing the number firearm violence on our streets. The IACP has long advocated for laws that prevent individuals who pose a danger to society or themselves from purchasing firearms. S. 34 the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act and S. 35, the Gun Show Background Check Act were both introduced by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ).

Regarding S. 34, under current law, an individual wishing to purchase a firearm must undergo a background check, having their name run through the National Instant Background Check System. Certain individuals—such as those convicted of a felony or those listed on the FBI’s Violent Gang List—cannot legally purchase firearms. S. 34 would properly classify those who are on the terror watch list prohibited purchasers.

The legislation also gives the Attorney General the discretion to deny any firearm license of an individual who is suspected to be involved in terrorist activity, while at the same time gives guidelines for individuals wanting to challenge a decision by the Attorney General.

Regarding S. 35, the Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 stipulates that individuals “engaged in the business” of selling firearms must possess a Federal Firearms License (FFL). Holders of FFLs are required to conduct background checks and maintain a record of all their firearm sales. Certain gun sales and transfers between private individuals, however, are exempt from this requirement.

There are approximately 5,200 traditional gun shows held annually across the United States, with vendors who are Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) and non-licensed firearms sellers. Those who would fail a background check can access firearms through these non-licensed sources. Unlike an FFL, the seller is not required to conduct a background check to determine whether the purchaser is prohibited from purchasing and possessing a gun. If all gun sales proceed through an FFL, a single, consistent system for conducting gun sales, including background checks, will be established.

The laws that are currently in place to ensure gun purchasers go through FFLs are undermined by oversights in the law that allow individuals prohibited from owning firearms to obtain weapons at events such as gun shows without undergoing a background check.

The IACP calls on Congress to act swiftly to pass both pieces of legislation to preserve the effectiveness of existing laws.


February 2011

112th Congress Officially Starts

On January 5, the 112th Congress officially kicked off and the 112 new members were sworn in. In the House, Republicans hold the majority with 242 members and Democrats with 193 members. In the Senate, Democrats hold the majority with 53 members (including 2 independent members who caucus with Democrats) and Republicans have 47 members.

The two committees in each chamber that are most pertinent to the law enforcement community are Homeland Security and Judiciary. In the House, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) is the new Chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary while Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) is now the ranking member. In the Senate, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) remains Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) remains ranking member.

In the House, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) is the new Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security while Rep. Bennie Thompson (R-MS) is now the ranking member. For the Senate, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) remain chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

President Signs Continuing Resolution

In late December, President Obama has signed a continuing resolution (CR)—where programs are funded at the lowest current levels—into law. A continuing resolution is a stop gap funding measure that is passed for a short period of time to give lawmakers additional time to work on a final measure. The continuing resolution will keep the federal government operating through March 4, 2011.

The CR includes funding levels for the primary law enforcement assistance grants administered through the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security:

  • $511 million for Byrne JAG
  • $298 million for COPS hiring
  • $652.5 million for the State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSG)
  • $646.25 for the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI)
  • $459.25 million for the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program (LETPP)

IACP Applauds Senate Confirmation of Michele Leonhart to Lead DEA

On December 22, the United States Senate unanimously voted to confirm Michele M. Leonhart to lead the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Leonhart is the 10th Administrator of the DEA and the first female Special Agent to rise through the ranks of the DEA to become Administrator. Leonhart is also the first career female federal agent to ever lead a federal law enforcement agency.

The IACP supported Leonhart’s 2008 nomination by President George W. Bush and again in January of 2010 when she was nominated by President Barack Obama. The IACP’s strong support of her nomination is based on her 30 years of service as a law enforcement official, where she has acquired a broad base of experience that gives her a unique perspective on narcotics issues. After serving with the Baltimore Police Department, she joined DEA in 1980 with her first DEA duty station being Minneapolis, Minnesota.

In numerous public statements the IACP has praised Leonhart and described confirmation has a step that will truly enhance the effectiveness of the nation's drug-fighting efforts.

President Signs Sept. 11 Health Benefits Bill for First Responders

In early January, President Obama signed legislation that will provide health care and compensation to first responders and others exposed to toxic material at Ground Zero after Sept. 11. The bill authorizes $1.5 billion over five years to treat those with health conditions that resulted from exposure to toxic dust and other materials at the sites of the attacks or during debris removal. Specifically, the bill:

  • Provides medical monitoring and treatment to WTC responders and survivors (area workers, residents, students) who were exposed to the toxins at Ground Zero.
  • Builds on the existing monitoring and treatment program by delivering expert medical treatment for these unique exposures at Centers of Excellence.
  • Reopens the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) to provide compensation for economic losses and harm as an alternative to the current litigation system.
  • Provides liability protections for the WTC Contractors and the City of New York.

January 2011

Mandatory Collective Bargaining Legislation Sidelined Again

In December, Congressional supporters of the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act (H.R. 413/S.1611) again attempted to pass the legislation in the United States Senate. The legislation was passed in the House this summer and is strongly opposed by the IACP.

Thankfully, because of the hard work by IACP members and other organizations, the Senate failed to pass the provision.

This legislation would mandate that all state and local governments:

  • Allow for the unionization of their police force;
  • Require collective bargaining with the union;
  • Require bargaining over hours, wages and terms and conditions of employment

In addition, the legislation would also empower the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) to review the existing collective bargaining laws in all 50 states to ensure that they meet the new Federal standard. If the FLRA determines that state fails to meet the standard, it will have the authority to mandate changes to existing policies and procedures.

The IACP believes that, if passed, H.R. 413 will reduce the effectiveness of our nation’s law enforcement agencies. Despite our success in preventing passage of this legislation in the 111th Congress, it is sure to be reintroduced in the 112th Therefore, the IACP urges you to contact your Senators and tell him or her to oppose H.R. 413. You may do this by visiting the IACP’s Legislative Action Center (LAC) where you can write or e-mail your Senator about this important issue. The LAC includes a sample letter about H.R. 413 that can be personalized and sent simply by entering your contact information.
http://capwiz.com/theiacp/home/

IACP Supports ATF Nominee

In early December, the IACP announced its strong support for the nomination of Andrew Traver to serve as the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Stated IACP President Mark Marshall, “A career law enforcement professional like Andrew Traver is an ideal selection to lead ATF. Throughout his career, Special Agent Traver has demonstrated an unyielding commitment to protecting public safety. His 23 years of experience at ATF have provided him the opportunity to work with law enforcement agencies throughout the United States. He has gained a unique understanding of the challenges and complexities they face in combating firearms violence, gang crime and other threats to our communities.”

Continued Marshall, “The IACP believes that Special Agent Traver’s years of experience, his expertise and his record of success are evidence of his outstanding qualifications to serve as the next Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The IACP urges the Judiciary Committee and the members of the United States Senate to confirm Special Agent Traver’s nomination in a timely fashion.”

Senators Introduce National Blue Alert Act of 2010

Senators Cardin (D-MD), Leahy (D-VT) and Graham (R-SC) recently introduced S. 3972, the National Blue Alert Act of 2010. S. 3972 is intended to encourage, enhance, and integrate Blue Alert plans throughout the United States in order to disseminate information when a law enforcement officer is seriously injured or killed in the line of duty. The bill directs the Attorney General to establish a national Blue Alert communications network within the Department of Justice to issue Blue Alerts in coordination with states, units of local government, law enforcement agencies, and other appropriate entities.

According to a statement from Sen. Cardin, “More than 900,000 federal, state and local law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day to protect us and to make our communities safer. Tragically, sometimes the unthinkable happens and a police officer is injured or killed in the line of duty by a violent criminal. In such instances, the quick dissemination of important, time-sensitive information about suspected criminals is essential to keeping our communities safe.

Currently, there is no national alert system that provides immediate information about such tragedies. As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I have proposed a national Blue Alert system, similar to the successful Amber Alert system that is used every day to quickly locate abducted children.

Technology provides an important tool in law enforcement. We need to take full advantage of it in apprehending dangerous criminals. A nationwide Blue Alert system will provide police officers and other emergency responders with important information they need to quickly apprehend violent offenders and keep our neighborhoods safe.”

The legislation is currently being considered in the United States Senate.


December 2010

Vice President Biden Speaks at IACP 2010

At the 117th annual conference in Orlando, Florida Vice President Joseph Biden addressed the First General Assembly of IACP 2010. While speaking to the crowd, Biden mentioned his long history with the IACP, citing his first meeting with IACP in 1982, and his continued commitment to supporting state, local and tribal law enforcement.

In his address Biden recognized that state and local law enforcement plays a strategic role in counterterrorism efforts.

“Today, it’s the local cop who is going to discover the terrorist working out of a local home,” Biden said. “It’s the local cop who is going to be the first responder to a suspicious vehicle in Times Square. It won't be a guy in fatigues and goggles; it’s going to be local cops, doing their rounds.”

Biden was one of several speakers at the annual conference who addressed issues important to law enforcement executives such as interoperability, terrorism prevention, information sharing and federal assistance programs.

Proposition 19 Fails in California

In November, Proposition 19, which would have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, was rejected by California voters. The IACP has a long history of opposing drug legalization legislation and spoke out against Proposition 19.

The ballot initiative centralized on the idea that cannabis legalization will generate revenue for the deficit burdened state as well as the idea that legalization would alleviate police drug responsibilities as marijuana enforcement would not be necessary. In late August, the IACP released a statement debunking those claims.

The proposed revenue created would be applied to neutralize healthcare costs and legalization would eliminate the apparent violence demonstrated daily by the drug trade with the added benefit of applying the remaining tax dollars to close budget gaps. For example, proponents in California claimed marijuana would raise $1.4 billion annually in tax revenue. But the truth is that the economic loss from marijuana-impaired fatal crashes is estimated to be as high as $4 billion.

While the defeat of Proposition 19 was a victory for law enforcement, the issue has not gone away. After the failed passage of Proposition 19, IACP President Mark Marshall released a letter to IACP membership. In his letter he cautioned, “However, despite the defeat of Proposition 19, the issue of marijuana legalization is not going away. Legalization proponents have vowed to bring the issue forward in California and other states in the weeks, months and years ahead. That is why we, as law enforcement leaders, cannot sit idly by – we must continue to speak out on the threat that drug legalization poses to our communities.”

For more information on this important issue, please visit the IACP’s website section on this important issue:
www.theiacp.org/About/PressCenter/MarijuanaLegalizationIssue/tabid/756/Default.aspx

Attorney General Expresses Support for Public Safety Broadband Network

In his remarks at the 117th annual IACP conference, Attorney General Eric Holder discussed the need for a nationwide public safety broadband network. Attorney General Holder said, “In addition to helping law enforcement collaborate and connect information more easily, we’re also working to help you respond to emergencies more effectively. All of us have seen—most clearly on September 11th and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina—that, in times of crisis, officers and first responders must be able to communicate quickly and across jurisdictions.”

The IACP continues to push for critical legislation to allocate D-Block spectrum to public safety for the development of a national interoperable public safety broadband network. For the past year the IACP has been urging Congress to pass legislation to remove the auction requirements for the D-Block and allocate that spectrum to public safety. For many years the IACP has been a leader in promoting the development of a nationwide wireless broadband data network for law enforcement and public safety.

The Attorney General continued to discuss the role the Department of Justice has taken in this effort: “Over the last year, the Department of Justice has taken an active role to help ensure that the communication needs of state, local, and tribal law enforcement are met. We’ve facilitated a series of discussions concerning the public safety broadband network, including the future of the D-Block. And, in partnership with the White House and the Departments of Homeland Security and Commerce, we’re continuing to bring together leaders from law enforcement, the broader public safety community, and industry, to determine a path forward.

This is a Cabinet-level priority. It is a Justice Department priority. And I will continue to advocate for meaningful, affordable access to radio spectrum when and where you need it. This continues to be a personal priority for me.”

The IACP looks forward to working with Congress and the Administration to gain common ground on a creation of a nationwide public safety broadband network.


 

November 2010

President Signs Continuing Resolution

President Obama has signed a continuing resolution (CR)—where programs are funded at the lowest current levels—into law. A continuing resolution is a stop gap funding measure that is passed for a short period of time to give lawmakers additional time to work on a final measure. The continuing resolution will keep the federal government operating through Friday, December 3, 2010.

The CR includes funding levels for the primary law enforcement assistance grants administered through the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security:

  • $511 million for Byrne JAG
  • $298 million for COPS hiring
  • $652.5 million for the State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSG)
  • $646.25 for the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI)
  • $459.25 million for the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program (LETPP)

President Signs Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act

In early October the president signed S. 3397, the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010. The legislation aims to reduce the risk of drug abuse by young adults by providing an easy, safe means to collect and destroy unused, unwanted or expired prescription medication.

Coincidentally, on September 25, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration held a one-day collaborative effort with state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to remove potentially dangerous controlled substances from homes throughout the United States. This “Take Back” initiative provided the public with an opportunity to surrender pharmaceutical controlled substances and other medications to law enforcement officers for destruction.

The IACP is proud to support this initiative because expired, unused or unwanted controlled substances in the home represent a potential source of supply for the increasing abuse of pharmaceutical drugs in the United States and pose an unacceptable risk to public health and safety.

For additional information on DEA’s “Take Back” initiative, please click on the following link -- www.justice.gov/dea/pubs/pressrel/pr091510.html.

Congress Passes LEOSA Expansion

Before the break for their fall recess, Congress passed S. 1132, the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act Improvements Act of 2010. The legislation, which is strongly opposed by the IACP, amends the original Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act to include certain retired federal officers. Specifically, now retired Amtrak Police Department officers, Federal Reserve officers and executive branch law enforcement officers are now eligible to carry concealed firearms across state lines.

The IACP opposed the original bill and the most current one because it is the IACP’s belief that states and localities should have the right to determine who is eligible to carry firearms in their communities. It is essential that state and local governments maintain the ability to legislate concealed carry laws that best fit the needs of their communities. This applies to laws covering private citizens as well as active and former law enforcement personnel.

House Passes Organized Retail Theft Investigation and Prosecution Act

In late September the House of Representatives passed H.R. 5932, the Organized Retail Theft Investigation and Prosecution Act of 2010. The legislation directs the Attorney General to submit a report to Congress containing recommendations on how retailers, online businesses, and law enforcement agencies can help prevent and combat organized retail theft. The bill also establishes an organized retail theft directorate in the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate and prosecute organized retail theft. DOJ also would assist state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies in such investigations.

The legislation is similar to H.R. 1173, the Organized Retail Crime Act, which IACP supports. Organized retail crime has become a growing issue in the last decade where individuals and enterprises are engaged nationally and internationally in organized crime involving theft and interstate fencing of stolen retail merchandise.


 

October 2010

IACP Opposed California Marijuana Legalization Effort

In late August, IACP president Michael Carroll released a statement on the current movement to legalize marijuana in California. California was one of the first states to enact a medical marijuana law and now the state has presented Proposition 19, the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010, which seeks to legalize marijuana. As written, this legislation centralizes on the idea that cannabis legalization will generate revenue for the deficit burdened state as well as the idea that legalization would alleviate police drug responsibilities as marijuana enforcement would not be necessary. The proposed revenue created would be applied to neutralize healthcare costs and legalization would eliminate the apparent violence demonstrated daily by the drug trade with the added benefit of applying the remaining tax dollars to close budget gaps.

In President Carroll’s statement he writes, “the faults, flaws and fallacies of the proposed arguments are numerous. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alcohol related deaths claim 79,000 lives annually and tobacco related deaths claim 443,000 lives annually. Combine this information with the fact that the United States has one of the most robust and persistent illegal drug trades in the world, the question arises: why would we want to allow another drug to legally infect our lives and communities? Unfortunately, the voices publicized and marketed by the media, purported to represent law enforcement, encourages the public to support marijuana legalization measures. However, it has been my experience that the views presented by the IACP membership contradict the media, and most chiefs of police stand in opposition to this legislation.

The IACP has a long history of opposing drug legalization legislation. This legislative concern was discussed at length at our recent executive committee meeting in Philadelphia. The consensus was that the public is not being fully apprised of the negative effects that will occur if marijuana is legalized or if the patchwork medical marijuana legislation efforts continue. I encourage police chiefs, state police heads and sheriffs to speak out on the dangers of the movement toward legalization. Your voice can be critical in countering the “No Harm” message presented by the legalizers.”

In his statement, President Carroll mentioned several resources for police chiefs on the issue. Two articles have been recently published by IACP members on the topic.

Chief Susan Manheimer, President of the California Police Chiefs Association and Chief of San Mateo Police Department, was featured in the San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday, August 22, 2010, with an article entitled “Legalizing Marijuana is Bad for California.” In it, she outlines the economic and social disadvantages to marijuana legalization, providing her standpoint as a citizen of California and as a local police leader.

One perspective on the national level is the article published in the LA Times on Wednesday, August 25, 2010, entitled “Why California should just say no to Prop.19.” A collaborative effort by five former directors as well as the current director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, including IACP Past President Lee P. Brown and IACP members Director Gil Kerlikowske and former Governor Bob Martinez, this article describes the reasons why this legislation is to be opposed by the law enforcement community and the American society at large.

For more information on this important issue, please visit the IACP’s website section on this important issue:
www.theiacp.org/About/PressCenter/MarijuanaLegalizationIssue/tabid/756/Default.aspx

IACP Opposes ATF Modernization Legislation

The IACP recently announced its strong opposition to H.R. 2296, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Reform and Firearms Modernization Act. H.R. 2296 will severely limit the ability of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to revoke the licenses of gun dealers who violate federal law.

The IACP believes this bill is reckless and irresponsible, and will impede criminal investigations and diminish the ability of law enforcement to protect their communities from the crime and violence associated with the illegal use of firearms. H.R. 2296 would change federal regulations regarding the suspension and revocation of gun seller licenses by allowing ATF to employ escalating penalties against gun dealers, short of revoking their licenses.

H.R. 2296 is currently being considered in numerous House Committees including Judiciary and Ways and Means.


 

September 2010

National Criminal Justice Commission Act Passes

In late July, the House passed the National Criminal Justice Commission Act (H.R. 5143), sponsored by Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-MA). H.R. 5143, a companion to the Webb Senate bill, calls for a top-to-bottom review of the nation’s criminal justice system. This initiative is a top priority for the IACP and thus, the legislation is strongly supported by the IACP.

H.R. 5143 directs the commission to study all areas of the criminal justice system, including federal, state, local and tribal governments’ criminal justice costs, practices, and policies. After conducting the review, the commission will make recommendations for changes in, or continuation of oversight, policies, practices, and laws designed to prevent, deter, and reduce crime and violence, improve cost-effectiveness, and ensure the interests of justice.

In mid-January, S. 714, the Senate companion bill, was approved by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. The Senate is expected to debate the legislation in the fall.

D-Block Allocation Gains Momentum

The IACP continues to push for critical legislation to allocate D-Block spectrum to public safety for the development of a national interoperable public safety broadband network. The IACP has participated in several events to push the legislation including holding many briefings for Congressional staff.

In April, the IACP announced support for H.R. 5081, the Broadband for First Responders Act of 2010, introduced by Rep. Peter King (R-NY) and Yvette Clark (D-NY). H.R. 5081 will allocate D-Block spectrum to public safety for the development of a national interoperable public safety broadband network

In mid-July, the IACP participated in a day of meetings on Capitol Hill and press conference on this topic. At the press conference 1st Vice President Mark Marshall discussed the importance of allocating D-Block spectrum to public safety. That day, the IACP also announced its support for the Public Safety Spectrum and Wireless Innovation Act, introduced by Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), and the First Responders Protection Act, introduced by Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Senator John McCain (R-AZ). Both pieces of legislation seek to provide law enforcement and other public safety agencies with an additional 10 megahertz of spectrum that is necessary to support a national, interoperable, wireless broadband network that will help them fulfill their mission of protecting lives in communities throughout the United States.

For the past year the IACP has been urging Congress to pass legislation to remove the auction requirements for the D-Block and allocate that spectrum to public safety. For many years the IACP has been a leader in promoting the development of a nationwide wireless broadband data network for law enforcement and public safety.

The IACP will continue to work with the Congress to pass H.R. 5081 and will work with the Administration and the FCC to gain common ground on a successful conclusion to this conflict.

Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Releases FY2011 Appropriation Amounts

In July, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Commerce, Justice and Science passed their funding levels for FY2011—that is, amounts that will fund the Department of Justice in FY2011.

The Senate version included $510 million for Byrne JAG after carve outs, $468 million for the Office on Violence Against Women programs, $586 million for COPS office programs, of which $400 million is for hiring.

Earlier this summer the House passed its version—the House bill provides $442 million for programs administered by the Office on Violence Against Women; $690 million for programs administered by the COPS office; nearly $2.7 billion for programs administered by the Office of Justice Programs; and $413 million for Adam Walsh Act activities and other sex offender and child exploitation prevention and enforcement programs.

The subcommittee’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2011 represents the first step in the federal budget process. Appropriation bills now head to full House and Senate Appropriations Committees to craft the annual appropriation bills that fund the federal government.

Mandatory Collective Bargaining Legislation Sidelined Again

In July, Congressional supporters of the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act (H.R. 413/S.1611) again attempted to pass the legislation by adding it to the War Supplemental appropriations bill in the United States Senate. The legislation was passed in the House earlier this summer and is strongly opposed by the IACP. Because of the hard work by IACP members and other organizations, the Senate failed to pass the provision. The House passed the legislation

This legislation would mandate that all state and local governments:

  • Allow for the unionization of their police force;
  • Require collective bargaining with the union;
  • Require bargaining over hours, wages and terms and conditions of employment

In addition, the legislation would also empower the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) to review the existing collective bargaining laws in all 50 states to ensure that they meet the new Federal standard. If the FLRA determines that state fails to meet the standard, it will have the authority to mandate changes to existing policies and procedures.


 

August 2010

House Appropriations Subcommittee Releases FY2011 Appropriation Amounts

In early July, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science passed its funding levels for FY2011—that is, amounts that will fund the Department of Justice in FY2011. The bill provides a total of almost $4 billion for state, local and tribal law enforcement activities. Included in that total is $442 million for programs administered by the Office on Violence Against Women; $690 million for programs administered by the COPS office; nearly $2.7 billion for programs administered by the Office of Justice Programs; and $413 million for Adam Walsh Act activities and other sex offender and child exploitation prevention and enforcement programs.

The subcommittee’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2011 represents the first step in the federal budget process. Appropriation bills now head to full House and Senate Appropriations Committees to craft the annual appropriation bills that fund the federal government.

House Passes Mandatory Collective Bargaining Legislation

In early July, the House of Representatives passed the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act (H.R. 413) by adding it to the War Supplemental Appropriations bill. H.R. 413 now heads to the United States Senate for consideration. The legislation is strongly opposed by the IACP.

This legislation would mandate that all state and local governments:

  • Allow for the unionization of their police force;
  • Require collective bargaining with the union;
  • Require bargaining over hours, wages and terms and conditions of employment

In addition, the legislation would also empower the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) to review the existing collective bargaining laws in all 50 states to ensure that they meet the new Federal standard. If the FLRA determines that state fails to meet the standard, it will have the authority to mandate changes to existing policies and procedures.

The IACP believes that, if passed, H.R. 413 will reduce the effectiveness of our nation’s law enforcement agencies. Therefore, the IACP urges you to contact your Senators and tell him or her to oppose H.R. 413. You may do this by visiting the IACP’s Legislative Action Center (LAC) where you can write or e-mail your Senator about this important issue. The LAC includes a sample letter about H.R. 413 that can be personalized and sent simply by entering your contact information.

http://capwiz.com/theiacp/home/

Supreme Court Overturns Chicago Handgun Ban

In early July, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in the McDonald v. City of Chicago. The core issue in McDonald is whether the City of Chicago’s handgun ban was constitutional and whether the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms recognized by the Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller (which overturned DC’s Handgun Ban) is incorporated—that is, whether it applies to restrict the actions of state and local governments. The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 majority ruled that the 2nd Amendment does apply to state and local ordinances and, therefore—based upon the decision in Heller—the City of Chicago’s handgun ban is unconstitutional and therefore struck down.

However, the Court did rule—as IACP argued in our Amicus Brief—that incorporation does not strike down other gun laws that fall short of complete/ broad ban. The court restated the findings in Heller that that even though the District of Columbia’s ban on guns in the home was unconstitutional; a wide gamut of gun laws remained “presumptively lawful.”

To read the decision in its entirety, please visit the Supreme Court’s website, www.SupremeCourt.gov.


July 2010

Congress Considering Critically Important D-Block Legislation

The IACP continues to push for critical legislation to allocate D-Block spectrum to public safety for the development of a national interoperable public safety broadband network. The legislation, H.R. 5081, the Broadband for First Responders Act of 2010, currently has 21 bi-partisan cosponsors. The IACP has participated in several events to push the legislation including holding many briefings for Congressional staff.

For the past year the IACP has been urging Congress to pass legislation to remove the auction requirements for the D-Block and allocate that spectrum to public safety and thus fully supports H.R. 5081. For many years the IACP has been a leader in promoting the development of a nationwide wireless broadband data network for law enforcement and public safety.

The IACP is convinced that law enforcement and public safety needs a minimum of 20 MHz of broadband spectrum to meet our current and future needs. This includes the D-Block spectrum (10 MHz) in addition to the already allocated public safety spectrum (10 MHz) that is licensed nationwide to the Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST). The IACP position is based on the advice of trusted engineers that 4th Generation (4G) broadband technologies will not give us the needed robust broadband network on less than 20 MHz of spectrum and on our observations of the rapid expansion and use of broadband applications by the public using commercial networks. Law enforcement and public safety must have access to these new technologies to perform our increasingly complex duties. These technologies must have adequate and dedicated spectrum that is managed and controlled by public safety so they will be more secure and reliable than commercial systems.

The IACP will continue to work with the Congress to pass H.R. 5081 and will work with the Administration and the FCC to gain common ground on a successful conclusion to this conflict. We urge your continuing support in our efforts by writing your Congressional Members today to urge them to support H.R. 5081. In order to help you in this effort, the IACP has set up a Legislation Action Center where you can view talking points, sample letters, House/Senate contact information and additional background information on H.R. 5081:

www.capwiz.com/theiacp/issues/alert/?alertid=15003471&type=CO

Mandatory Collective Bargaining Legislation Sidelined Again

In early summer, Congressional supporters of the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act (H.R. 413/S.1611) again attempted to pass the legislation by adding it to the Department of Defense Appropriations bill under consideration by the United States Senate. The legislation is strongly opposed by the IACP. Because of the hard work by IACP members and other organizations, the Senate failed to pass the provision.

This legislation would mandate that all state and local governments:

  • Allow for the unionization of their police force;
  • Require collective bargaining with the union;
  • Require bargaining over hours, wages and terms and conditions of employment

In addition, the legislation would also empower the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) to review the existing collective bargaining laws in all 50 states to ensure that they meet the new Federal standard. If the FLRA determines that state fails to meet the standard, it will have the authority to mandate changes to existing policies and procedures.

The IACP believes that, if passed, H.R. 413/S. 1611 will reduce the effectiveness of our nation’s law enforcement agencies. Therefore, the IACP urges you to contact your Senators and Representative and tell him or her to oppose H.R. 413/S. 1611. You may do this by visiting the IACP’s Legislative Action Center (LAC) where you can write or e-mail your Senator about this important issue. The LAC includes a sample letter about H.R. 413/S. 1611 that can be personalized and sent simply by entering your contact information.

http://capwiz.com/theiacp/home/

Stay Connected with the IACP

The IACP has launched several new social media outlets to help members stay connected. The association has historically engaged in a variety of media in order to communicate relevant news to our membership and these new elements represent the next step in that process.

Last fall the IACP’s legislative newsletter changed its format to become The Capitol Report Update, available on the IACP’s website. The Capitol Report Update features up-to-date, frequent news items from around Washington: www.theiacp.org/legislativeaction.

Also a new and exciting endeavor is the launch of the IACP Podcast Series. Podcasts are posted on the IACP’s web site (www.theiacp.org) and cover topics such as internal affairs, SafeShield and annual conference details.

The Police Chief, the professional voice of law enforcement which is published monthly by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, is now also available online in digital format. The magazine can be accessed on any computer with an online connection at www.theiacp.org. The magazine keeps law enforcement executives up-to-date on issues important to the law enforcement community. Having an additional online resource allows readers to stay abreast of trends in law enforcement to better serve their communities.

To receive an alert when these or other elements of the IACP web site is updated, subscribe to our RSS feed: www.theiacp.org/rssfeed.aspx?p=2.

The IACP also launched an official IACP Facebook page which will help members stay connected with each other. To find us on Facebook search: “The International Association of Chiefs of Police.”

Finally, you can now follow the IACP on Twitter! IACP Twitter followers can get real time, up-to-date information on IACP legislative alerts, news, publications and events. Search: IACPOfficial.


June 2010

IACP Supports Legislation to Curb Terrorist Access to Firearms

The IACP recently declared its support for H.R. 2159, the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act.

Under current law an individual wishing to purchase a firearm must undergo a background check, having his or her name run through the National Instant Background Check System. Certain individuals—such as those convicted of a felony or those listed on the FBI’s Violent Gang List—cannot legally purchase firearms. H.R. 2159 would properly prohibit those who are on the terror watch list from purchasing firearms.

The legislation also gives the Attorney General the discretion to deny any firearm license of an individual who is suspected to be involved in terrorist activity, while at the same time gives guidelines for individuals wanting to challenge a decision by the Attorney General.

The IACP has long advocated for laws that prevent individuals who pose a danger to society or themselves from purchasing firearms and proudly supports H.R. 2159.

For more information on this legislation, please contact the IACP’s legislative staff.

IACP Supports Gun Show Background Check Act

The IACP recently announced support for S. 843, the Gun Show Background Check Act.

The Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 stipulates that individuals “engaged in the business” of selling firearms must possess a Federal Firearms License (FFL). Holders of FFLs are required to conduct background checks and maintain a record of all their firearm sales. Certain gun sales and transfers between private individuals, however, are exempt from this requirement.

There are approximately 5,200 traditional gun shows held annually across the United States, with vendors who are Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) and non-licensed firearms sellers. Those who would fail a background check can access firearms through these non-licensed sources. Unlike an FFL, the seller is not required to conduct a background check to determine whether the purchaser is prohibited from purchasing and possessing a gun. If all gun sales proceed through an FFL, a single, consistent system for conducting gun sales, including background checks, will be established.

In a letter to Congress IACP President Michael Carroll wrote, “the laws we have in place to ensure gun purchasers go through FFLs are undermined by oversights in the law that allow individuals prohibited from owning firearms to obtain weapons at events such as gun shows without undergoing a background check. The IACP calls on Congress act swiftly to pass S. 843 to close these loopholes and preserve the effectiveness of the laws in place.”

S. 843 is currently being considered in the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

IACP Calls for RISS Funding

The IACP recently called for sustained funding for the Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS) at a funding level of a minimum of $45 million in FY 2011, even though funding is authorized at $50 million (PATRIOT Act), and program demands indicate a need for $60 million.

The IACP wholeheartedly endorses the RISS program and is committed to its continuing success. RISS centers are a unique combination of federal, state, local and tribal cooperation, providing services to law enforcement agencies across the country.

Many IACP members have joined RISS and avail themselves of RISS’s service on a regular basis. Any reduction of services will greatly impair our members’ ability to secure information that is vital to the apprehension of known drug traffickers and other criminals. That is why the IACP wholeheartedly calls for a sufficient level of funding for RISS.

For more information on the RISS program, please visit www.riss.net.

House Committee Passes International Megan’s Law

The House Foreign Affairs Committee recently approved H.R. 5138, the International Megan’s Law of 2010. The legislation would require convicted sex offenders to report upcoming international travel at least 30 days before leaving the country, would establish an international network for sex offender travel notification and would request foreign governments to notify the United States when a known child sex offender is seeking to enter the United States, and for other purposes.

According to the legislation, the law is aimed at curbing the growing “sex tourism” industry and prevents sexual predators from harming children in other countries. The bill requires sex offenders to register with governments and carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison. The State Department would also be given the authority to limit passport privileges of those who are deemed “high risk” to commit a sex crime.

The IACP has created numerous information and training tools on human trafficking and sex offender management and they can be found on the IACP website, www.theiacp.org.


May 2010

IACP Supports Legislation Allocating D-Block to Public Safety

In mid-April, Rep. Peter King (NY-3) and Representative Yvette Clarke (NY-11) introduced the Broadband for First Responders Act of 2010 (H.R. 5081), which will allocate D-Block spectrum to public safety for the development of a national interoperable public safety broadband network. The IACP strongly supports this legislation.

For many years the IACP has been a leader in promoting the development of a nationwide wireless broadband data network for law enforcement and public safety. On March 17, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sent their National Broadband Plan (Plan) to Congress, and as a result we face a difficult challenge.

The FCC Plan has many good aspects and does support the overall goal of implementing a nationwide public safety broadband network. However, it also supports the auctioning of the 700 MHz D-Block spectrum solely for commercial purposes.

For the past year the IACP has been urging Congress to pass legislation to remove the auction requirements for the D-Block and allocate that spectrum to public safety. The IACP has joined with the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA), Major Cities Police Chiefs Association (MCC), Major County Sheriffs Association (MCSA), International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), National Emergency Management Association (NEMA), Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International (APCO), and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) in this effort.

The current challenge is that the FCC is actively promoting support for the D-Block to be auctioned for commercial purposes and is reaching out to governors, mayors, and county officials to reject our efforts to have the D-Block allocated for public safety.

The FCC is promising that billions of dollars will be forthcoming to build out the nationwide network if public safety gives up its push to have the D-Block allocated for public safety. In these tough economic times, any promise of money to state, local and tribal leaders usually gets their attention and support. Our state, local and tribal government leaders must be informed that this promise of funds by the FCC has not resulted in any support from Congress. Although we do need funding, we have seen no Congressional leaders expressing their support for this funding. We have to make sure our state, local and tribal elected officials understand that we need the D-Block spectrum for the nationwide network so we will have sufficient bandwidth to serve our needs. A promise of money in exchange for the spectrum is a bad idea. Once the D-Block spectrum has been auctioned for commercial purposes it is gone forever.

Many of the national organizations who represent our state, local and tribal officials like the National Governors Association (NGA), National Association of Counties (NACo), National Council of State Legislators (NCSL), U.S. Conference of Mayors (US Mayors), and National League of Cities (NLC) recently issued position statements in support of the reallocation of the D-Block to public safety. Others organizations like the National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA) also have issued supporting statements. Major companies and carriers like Motorola, Harris, Alcatel-Lucent, Northrop Grumman, Verizon Wireless and AT&T also have issued statements in support of our efforts.

The IACP is convinced that law enforcement and public safety needs a minimum of 20 MHz of broadband spectrum to meet our current and future needs. This includes the D-Block spectrum (10 MHz) in addition to the already allocated public safety spectrum (10 MHz) that is licensed nationwide to the Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST). The IACP position is based on the advice of trusted engineers that 4th Generation (4G) broadband technologies will not give us the needed robust broadband network on less than 20 MHz of spectrum and on our observations of the rapid expansion and use of broadband applications by the public using commercial networks. Law enforcement and public safety must have access to these new technologies to perform our increasingly complex duties. These technologies must have adequate and dedicated spectrum that is managed and controlled by public safety so they will be more secure and reliable than commercial systems.

For more information on why the D-Block spectrum is so critical, please visit the IACP Web site.

The IACP will continue to work with the Congress to pass H.R. 5081 and will work with the Administration and the FCC to gain common ground on a successful conclusion to this conflict and we urge your continuing support in our efforts.


April 2010

2010 Day on the Hill: A Great Success

In mid-March, the IACP held its biennial Day on the Hill in Washington, DC. Held in conjunction with the mid-year meetings of both the Division of State and Provincial Police and the Division of State Associations of Chiefs of Police, IACP members had the opportunity to meet with their elected officials on issues of importance to the law enforcement community.

In the meetings with Congress, IACP members called for an end to budget cuts for state, tribal, and local law enforcement and to restore full funding to various programs. IACP members also discussed immigration, curbing illegal firearms sales and sentencing guidelines on individuals convicted of crack cocaine offenses.

Attendees also participated in a successful press conference in support of the National Criminal Justice Commission Act with Senators Jim Webb (D-VA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Arlen Specter (D-PA).

IACP President Michael Carroll spoke at the press conference saying, “each and every day law enforcement agencies and officers throughout the nation face a remarkable array of challenges as they strive to fulfill their mission of protecting the public. The landscape in which they operate is ever changing, the crimes they investigate are growing increasingly complex, and the threats they face are constantly evolving.

The IACP believes is imperative that the National Criminal Justice Commission Act be approved in a timely fashion. For far too long our nation’s law enforcement and criminal justice system has lacked a strategic plan that will guide an integrated public safety and homeland security effort in the years ahead.”

In addition to the Day on the Hill, already this year, IACP leadership has met several times with Vice President Biden and other members of Congress. The IACP continues to build upon its strong relationship with congress and the administration to further promote the goals of the law enforcement community. The IACP works closely with Members of Congress and the administration to make sure that policy makers in Washington are aware of the important issues that the law enforcement community is facing.

FCC Denies Public Safety Critical D Block

On February 25, 2010 FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced that the National Broadband Plan, to be released March 17, 2010, will include a plan by the FCC to auction the 700 MHz D Block for commercial purposes without the previously identified public safety requirements. The new plan would include access by public safety to the entire 700 MHz band for the purposes of roaming and priority access but no requirements for the D Block winner(s) to partner with the nationwide Public Safety Broadband Licensee.

Public safety needs a nationwide wireless broadband network that gives public access to modern technologies. The network needs to be robust, interoperable, allow nationwide roaming, and be more reliable and secure than current commercial networks.

With the recent announcement by the FCC Chairman of a major change in direction, representatives of the IACP and other major national public safety organizations are engaged in intense discussions with the Federal Communications Commission, the White House and Congress to make sure that the outcome is positive for public safety.

The IACP calls on Congress to pass legislation directing the FCC to remove any auction requirements for the D Block and to allocate it directly to public safety as part of the nationwide Public Safety Broadband License (PSBL). The IACP also calls on Congress to identify and provide an annually recurring and dedicated funding source to build and maintain the nationwide public safety wireless broadband network.

House of Representatives Holds Hearing on Collective Bargaining Bill

In mid-March the House Committee on Education and Labor held a hearing on H.R. 413, the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act.

H.R. 413 (and its Senate counterpart S. 1611 would mandate that all state and local governments:

  • Allow for the unionization of their police force;
  • Require collective bargaining with the union;
  • Require bargaining over hours, wages and terms and conditions of employment

In addition, the legislation would also empower the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) to review the existing collective bargaining laws in all 50 states to ensure that they meet the new Federal standard. If the FLRA determines that state fails to meet the standard, it will have the authority to mandate changes to existing policies and procedures.

The IACP is strongly opposed to, H.R. 413/S. 1611 and believes that, if passed, they will reduce the effectiveness of our nation’s law enforcement agencies. Therefore, the IACP urges you to contact your Senators and Representative and tell him or her to oppose H.R. 413/S. 1611. You may do this by visiting the IACP’s Legislative Action Center (LAC) where you can write or e-mail your Senator about this important issue. The LAC includes a sample letter about H.R. 413/S. 1611 that can be personalized and sent simply by entering your contact information.

http://capwiz.com/theiacp/home/.


March 2010

Administration Releases Proposed Budget for FY 2011

On February 1st, the Obama Administration released its proposed budget for FY 2011. The budget serves as statement of the Administration’s funding and policy priorities and represents the starting point for the Congressional budget process.

Significantly, at a time when many federal programs were targeted for reduction or elimination, the proposed FY 2011 budget maintains funding for most state, local and tribal law enforcement assistance programs at levels that are equal to, or slightly higher, than current (FY 2010) funding levels.

For example, the proposed budget calls for $519 million for Byrne Justice Assistance Grants in FY 2011. The Byrne-JAG program, which received $518 million in FY 2010, awards grants to state, tribal and local governments to support a broad range of activities that are designed to prevent and control crime. This includes: law enforcement; prosecution, corrections, drug treatment and technology improvements.

However, three assistance programs were slated to receive significant funding increases.

The Administration has proposed funding the COPS program at $690 million. This is an increase of nearly $300 million from the FY 2010 level of $392 million. Of that total, $600 million is set aside for law enforcement officer hiring. This would equate to roughly 2,900 officers. In addition to these proposed funds, in December, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the “Jobs for Main Street Act” (H.R. 2847) that included $1.18 billion for COPS hiring programs. The Senate is expected to consider and act on this legislation in the near future.

The Administration also proposed increases to two critical assistance programs administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSG), which provides grants to all 50 states to improve prevention and protection capabilities, was funded at $1.05 billion, an increase of $192 million from FY 2010. As in past years, at least 25% of SHSG funds must be used for prevention activities.

The Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), which provides grants to “high-risk” metropolitan areas, was funded at $1.1 billion, and increase of $242 million from FY 2010.

IACP President Michael Carroll, who was briefed on the FY 2011 budget by Senior Administration Officials shortly after the proposal was released, stated that, “The proposed budget represents a good start and clearly indicates that the Administration recognizes the importance of supporting state, tribal and local law enforcement. The IACP will continue to work with Congress and the Administration throughout the budget process to ensure that state, tribal local law enforcement agencies have the tools and resources they need to protect their communities from harm.”

Senate Passes Jobs Bill, Does Not Include Funding for COPS Hiring

The Senate recently passed a $15 billion jobs bill that includes payroll tax reductions for businesses that hire new workers, extensions of the Highway Trust Fund, a new bond program and expense deductions for small businesses. This legislation is in addition to the regular, FY 2010 funding.

The Senate version of the bill reauthorizes the Highway Trust Fund through the end of 2010, adding $20 billion to the fund. Gasoline taxes will be used to help state and local governments pay for highway and transit projects.

However, the Senate passed version does not include funding for the Community Oriented Policing (COPS) Hiring program, a provision that was included in the House of Representatives passed version.

In late December, the House passed the Jobs for Main Street Act (H.R. 2847). The bill redirects $48.3 billion from repaid Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds to save and create jobs in the United States. The bill includes $1.18 billion for Community Oriented Policing (COPS) Hiring grants and the funds may be used for hiring or re-hiring.

Congress has indicated that the Senate passed version will be the first step in a “multi-part” jobs agenda. However, the IACP has expressed concern that the COPS provision was left out of the Senate version of this legislation.

The House may now choose to pass the entire Senate version or go to conference to reconcile the differing versions of the bills. The IACP encourages a conference session where funding for COPS Hiring may be included in the final piece of legislation.

LEOSA Expansion Considered in Senate Judiciary

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary is currently considering expanding the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act. This bill would weaken the eligibility and training requirements for retired officers to carry concealed weapons. The provision would lower the existing years of service provision from 15 years to 10 years.

The IACP is strongly opposed this legislation. The IACP strongly believes that each state should retain the power to determine whether they want police officers that are trained and supervised by agencies outside of their state carrying firearms in their jurisdictions.


February 2010

IACP Supported Webb Commission Bill Clears Judiciary Committee

In mid-January, S. 714, the National Criminal Justice Commission Act, which is strongly supported by the IACP, was approved by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Once enacted, the legislation, sponsored by Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) will allow for a long overdue comprehensive examination and report on the state of law enforcement and criminal justice in the United States.

For more than twenty years, the IACP has advocated for the creation of a commission that would follow in the footsteps of the 1965 Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice. The IACP believes that the work of that commission and the 200 recommendations it produced marked the beginning of a sea change in our methods for dealing with crime and the public and built the framework for many of the highly effective law enforcement and public safety initiatives that have been in place for the last forty years.

IACP President Michael Carroll sent a letter to Sen. Webb announcing IACP’s support. In the letter President Carroll wrote, “the commission that will be established by S. 714 embraces the same mission as the 1965 Commission. As clearly set forth in the legislation the commission is tasked with conducting a comprehensive examination of all aspects of the criminal justice system including the prevention of crime, law enforcement, corrections and offender re-entry.”

In conducting this critical review the commission will have the opportunity to examine and develop recommendations addressing the broad range of new and emerging challenges that confront law enforcement today, from cyber-crime to non-traditional organized crime, from violent street gangs to homeland security. In addition, the commission will also be reviewing the impact, difficulties and opportunities that are presented to the criminal justice community by technological innovations.

It is for these reasons that the IACP believes is imperative that S.714 be approved in a timely fashion. For far too long our nation’s law enforcement and criminal justice system has lacked a strategic plan that will guide an integrated public safety and homeland security effort in the years ahead.

S. 714 is expected to be considered by the full Senate in the coming weeks.

Stay Connected with the IACP

The IACP has recently launched several new social media outlets to help members stay connected. The association has historically engaged in a variety of media in order to communicate relevant news to our membership and these new elements represent the next step in that process.

This fall the IACP’s legislative newsletter changed its format to become The Capitol Report Update, available IACP’s website. The Capitol Report Update features up-to-date, frequent news items from around Washington: www.theiacp.org/legislativeaction.

Also a new and exciting endeavor is the launch of the IACP Podcast Series. Podcasts are posted on the IACP’s web site (www.theiacp.org) and cover topics such as internal affairs, SafeShield and annual conference details.

To receive an alert when these or other elements of the IACP web site is updated, subscribe to our RSS feed: www.theiacp.org/rssfeed.aspx?p=2.

The IACP also launched an official IACP Facebook page which will help members stay connected with each other. To find us on Facebook search: “The International Association of Chiefs of Police.”

Finally, you can now follow the IACP on Twitter! IACP Twitter followers can get real time, up-to-date information on IACP legislative alerts, news, publications and events. Search: IACPOfficial.


January 2010

Congress Passes Omnibus Spending Bill

In early December Congress passed a package of spending bills—or omnibus—that will fund government agencies through the end of this fiscal year, September 30, 2010.

The omnibus includes funding levels for the primary law enforcement assistance grants administered through the Department of Justice:

• $511 million for Byrne JAG
• $298 million for COPS hiring

Congress previously passed appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for all of FY 2010:

• $652.5 million for the State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSG)
• $646.25 for the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI)
• $459.25 million for the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program (LETPP)

The chart below illustrates these programs:

  FY 2009 FY 2010 % Change from FY 09
SHSG $712.5 Million $625.5 million -9%
UASI $628.12 Million $646.25 million +3%
LETPP $446.9 million $459.25 million +3%
Byrne-JAG $512 million $511 million -1%
COPS Hiring $0 $298 million +100%

It is important to note that the Byrne-JAG Program received $2 billion and the COPS Hiring Program $1 billion in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed into law in February 2009.

Also, please note that there is no separate line item for the LETPP. In accordance with the 9/11 Act, 25 percent of funds from the SHSG and UASI must be used for LETPP activities.


January 2010

Congress Introduces Jobs Bill That Includes Funding for COPS Hiring

In addition to the regular funding for FY 2010, the House has introduced the Jobs for Main Street Act (H.R. 2847). The bill redirects $48.3 billion from repaid Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds to save and create jobs in the United States. The bill includes $1.18 billion for Community Oriented Policing (COPS) Hiring grants and the funds may be used for hiring or re-hiring.

The House of Representatives passed this legislation in late December and the Senate will take it up in January 2010.


January 2010

Collective Bargaining Bill Continues to Gain Ground

In mid-December Congressional supporters of the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act (H.R. 413/S.1611) again attempted to pass the legislation by adding it to the Department of Defense Appropriations bill. The legislation is strongly opposed by the IACP. Because of the hundreds of call and letters by IACP members and other organizations, the provision was not included.

This legislation would mandate that all state and local governments:

  • Allow for the unionization of their police force;
  • Require collective bargaining with the union;
  • Require bargaining over hours, wages and terms and conditions of employment

In addition, the legislation would also empower the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) to review the existing collective bargaining laws in all 50 states to ensure that they meet the new Federal standard. If the FLRA determines that state fails to meet the standard, it will have the authority to mandate changes to existing policies and procedures.

The IACP believes that, if passed, H.R. 413/S. 1611 will reduce the effectiveness of our nation’s law enforcement agencies. Therefore, the IACP urges you to contact your Senators and Representative and tell him or her to oppose H.R. 413/S. 1611. You may do this by visiting the IACP’s Legislative Action Center (LAC) where you can write or e-mail your Senator about this important issue. The LAC includes a sample letter about H.R. 413/S. 1611 that can be personalized and sent simply by entering your contact information.


January 2010

Day on the Hill

The IACP’s bi-annual Day on the Hill has been scheduled for Tuesday, March 9 in conjunction with the mid-year meetings of both the Division of State and Provincial Police and the Division of State Associations of Chiefs of Police Divisions. On this day, IACP members will have an opportunity to meet with their elected officials on issues important to the law enforcement community. If you are interested in joining us for the Day on the Hill, please contact Meredith Mays for more information: mays@theiacp.org.


December 2009

Robinson Sworn in as Assistant Attorney General

On November 9, Laurie Robinson was sworn in as the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs (OJP). The IACP strongly supported Ms. Robinson’s nomination.

During her confirmation process, in a letter to Senate leadership, IACP (then) President Russell Laine wrote, “Ms. Robinson’s broad base of experience provides her with a unique perspective on criminal justice issues.”

The IACP believes that Ms. Robinson’s years of service have clearly demonstrated she has the qualifications and experience necessary to be an effective leader of the OJP. The OJP office is of critical importance to state, local and tribal law enforcement.

During her service in this same position from 1993 to 2000, OJP programs grew substantially—from $800 million in 1993 to over $4 billion in 2000. This increase led to strong initiatives on community-based crime control, violence against women, and law enforcement technology.

As a result, the IACP believes that, as Assistant Attorney General, Ms. Robinson’s background will allow her to foster and enhance the crucial partnership among federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies.


December 2009

IACP Supported Legislation Signed Into Law

On October 28, President Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The legislation—formerly the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (LLEHCPA)—is strongly supported by the IACP.

The expanded law will allow the federal government to provide technical support to state, tribal, and local law enforcement agencies that are investigating hate crimes.

Most hate crimes are, and should continue to be, investigated and prosecuted by state, tribal, and local authorities. Unfortunately, there are instances, where as a result of either insufficient resources or a lack of jurisdiction, state, tribal, and local authorities are unable to investigate these crimes properly. In response, the law provides the DOJ with jurisdiction in crimes of violence that were motivated because of an individual’s race, color, religion, national origin, disability, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

However, the law properly bars the exercise of federal jurisdiction until the DOJ certifies that state authorities have requested that the federal government assume jurisdiction or that they have consulted with state, tribal, and local law enforcement and have determined that local authorities are either unwilling or unable to act.


December 2009

IACP Supported Legislation Gains Support in House and Senate

The Organized Retail Crime Act of 2009 (ORC) is gaining support in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The legislation, which is strongly supported by the IACP, has many cosponsors and was the main topic of focus in a House Judiciary hearing in November.

The bill intends to combat, deter, and punish individuals and enterprises engaged nationally and internationally in organized crime involving theft and interstate fencing of stolen retail merchandise. The ORC legislation will provide law enforcement with more tools to fight organized retail crime and increase law enforcement’s authority to pursue criminals engaging in organized retail crime. The legislation will make it easier for law enforcement to identify stolen property and internet auction sites that profit from the sale of stolen property.

It is estimated that unregulated black market sales of such fraudulently obtained and stolen merchandise results in an estimated $1.6 billion loss in tax revenues to state and local governments. Oftentimes the illegal proceeds from these sales are used to fund drug trafficking, gang activity, and terrorism. While these sales continue to grow exponentially, state, local and tribal law enforcement need the tools to combat these crimes.

The Organized Retail Crime Act of 2009 is currently being considered in the Judiciary Committees of both the House and Senate.


December 2009

Day on the Hill

The IACP’s bi-annual Day on the Hill has been scheduled for Tuesday, March 9 in conjunction with the mid-year meetings of both the Division of State and Provincial Police and the Division of State Associations of Chiefs of Police Divisions. On this day, IACP members will have an opportunity to meet with their elected officials on issues important to the law enforcement community.

If you are interested in joining us for the Day on the Hill, please contact Meredith Mays for more information: mays@theiacp.org.


November 2009

Forensic Science Reform Continues

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary recently held a hearing entitled “Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States.” The purpose of the hearing was to examine reform proposals for forensic science and to ensure that, according to the committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), “forensic science and evidence is a solid foundation for the credibility and integrity we must demand from our criminal justice system.”

Earlier this year, the National Academy of Science (NAS) released a report on forensics titled, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward. Consisting of more than – recommendations, the report details a comprehensive plan to overhaul the delivery and use of forensic science in the United States. Significantly, a key recommendation of the NAS report is the removal of crime laboratories and other forensics serves from LE agencies—a recommendation the IACP strongly opposes.

One of the concerns listed in the NAS report and one shared by the IACP is the need for additional funding for crime labs. IACP Member Chief Harold Hurtt, of the Houston, Texas Police Department, who testified at the hearing said, “Crime labs have been understaffed, underfunded and work performed in facilities that have been retrofitted into crime labs with insufficient evidence processing layouts.”

When the NAS report was released, the IACP Executive Committee, working in collaboration with the IACP Forensics Committee, outlined the association’s concerns with the report recommendations and highlighted the impact they could have on state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies.

First and foremost, the IACP strongly opposes the report’s recommendation that crime laboratories and other forensic services should be removed from law enforcement agencies.

Other concerns are listed below:

  • The IACP is concerned that the report was developed without input from law enforcement practitioners and recommends
  • The IACP strongly believes that all research and other initiatives that are designed to study/enhance the delivery of forensic sciences must include the participation of law enforcement practitioners.
  • While the IACP agrees with, and supports, the need for accreditation and certification of forensic science providers, but realizes the costs associated with accreditation and certification efforts. Therefore, the IACP is strongly opposed to proposals that would institute “mandatory” accreditation/certification requirements in the absence of secure, sustainable and stable federal assistance funding
  • The IACP supports the development, inclusive of federal, state, county, local and tribal representation, of an entity to establish standards, practices and serve as a funding source for forensic science services.

In recent months, the IACP has worked with stakeholder organizations to develop practical approaches to enhancing the delivery of forensic sciences in the United States and around the world. Staff will keep members updated on developments on this issue.


November 2009

The IACP Legislative Committee is Changing

For the last year, the IACP leadership has been conducting a review of IACP’s Committees and Committee Structure. The recommendations were presented to the Executive Committee at its last meeting and they were approved. One of these recommendations addressed the IACP Legislative Committee.

Briefly, the changes were designed to refocus the Legislative Committee from the rather cumbersome (80+) member committee that was originally intended to serve as a communication vehicle from IACP to it members in each state (a function which advances in communication technology have rendered somewhat obsolete) to a more compact committee that would devote it efforts to reviewing current developments and more directly advising the Executive Committee on matters of concern.

In that light, the Legislative Committee was re-designated the “Legislative Policy Committee” and its membership was reduced to 9 members. These members include the Chairman, the First and Fourth Vice President’s, the General Chairs of SACOP & S&P, two other members of the Executive Committee and two other slots that can be filled either from the Executive Committee or the General Membership.


July 23, 2009

IACP Opposed Concealed Carry Legislation Fails in Senate

On July 22 the Senate rejected an amendment that would allow an individual to carry concealed firearms when visiting another state as long as the individual was entitled to carry concealed firearms pursuant to the laws of his or her home state. The measure (Respecting States’ Rights and Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2009) failed to receive the 60 votes needed for passage.

The IACP is strongly opposed to this legislation. It is the IACP’s belief that states and localities should have the right to determine who is eligible to carry firearms in their communities. It is essential that state and local governments maintain the ability to legislate concealed carry laws that best fit the needs of their communities.

The IACP applauds the Senate for defeating this dangerous and unacceptable legislation.


July 14, 2009

Congress Eliminates CEDAP Funding

The Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Program has been completely cut from the FY 2010 House of Representatives and Senate budgets and also from the President’s budget request. Since the program’s inception in FY 2005, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has award thousands of grants to smaller jurisdictions who are not eligible for funding through the Urban Areas Security Initiative grant program. The program received $8 million in FY 2009, $17.6 million in FY 2008 and $33.7 million in FY2007.

According to FEMA, “CEDAP seeks to enhance regional response capabilities, mutual aid, and interoperable communications by providing technology and equipment, along with the training required to operate that equipment, to law enforcement and emergency responder agencies in smaller jurisdictions and certain metropolitan areas.”

In the past, CEDAP grants have been used to purchase communications equipment, chemical detection sensors, thermal imaging tools and personal protective equipment.

The IACP is strongly opposed to eliminating the CEDAP program and will work with Congress and the Administration to fully restore it.


June 24, 2009

New Legislation Seeks to Eliminate Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity

Several bills were recent introduced in the House of Representatives that would amend the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act (CSIEA). H.R. 18, introduced by Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), seeks to remove the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine, with regard to trafficking, possession, importation, and exportation of such substances, by lowering the minimum sentence for crack cocaine to the applicable sentence for powder cocaine.

H.R. 1459, introduced by Rep. Robert Scott (D-VA), eliminates increased and mandatory minimum penalties for drug offenses involving mixtures or substances which contain cocaine base (i.e., crack cocaine.) H.R. 1459 also eliminates restrictions on judicial authority to grant probation or suspended sentences for certain cocaine offenses.

H.R. 1466, introduced by Rep Maxine Waters, requires approval by the Attorney General for prosecutions under CSA or CSIEA where the substance contained cocaine or cocaine base, in an amount less than 500 grams. H.R. 1466 also amends the CSA and the CSIEA by deleting the specified mandatory terms of imprisonment for the use and distribution of certain controlled substances.

IACP does not support any legislation that lowers the minimum sentence for the possession, importation, trafficking, and/or exportation of crack or powder cocaine. Rather, the IACP believe that a better solution to addresses the disparity between crack and powder cocaine would be to raise the minimum sentence for cocaine.

Each piece of legislation listed above is currently being considered in the House of Representatives.


February 13, 2009

Special Report: H.R. 1: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Yesterday, the House and Senate reached an agreement regarding the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a piece of legislation aimed at stimulating the United States’ economy. Included in this bill is $4 billion to support state, local, and tribal law enforcement: $2 billion for the Edward R. Byrne Justice Assistance (Byrne-JAG) grant program, $1 billion for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) hiring grants, and other grants for state, local, and tribal law enforcement

Below is the summary of the final compromise bill released last night:

  • $2 billion for the Byrne JAG formula grant program;
  • $225 million for Byrne competitive grants;
  • $225 million for Violence Against Women programs, of which $175 million is for the STOP grants and $50 million is for the transitional housing assistance grants program;
  • $1 billion for the COPS Office for the hiring and rehiring of additional career law enforcement officers and civilian public safety personnel. The bill waives the 25 percent local match and the $75,000 per officer cap;
  • $40 million for competitive grants to provide assistance and equipment to local law enforcement along the Southern border and in High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas to combat criminal narcotics activity stemming from the Southern border, of which $10 million shall be for ATF’s Project Gunrunner;
  • $225 million for Indian Country grants
  • $100 million to be distributed by the Office for Victims of Crime;
  • $125 million for assistance to law enforcement in rural areas; and
  • $50 million for Internet Crimes Against Children initiatives.

The Department of Justice will be required to submit a spending plan to Congress within 60 days of enactment of the legislation.

The IACP has been actively working with Congressional supporters over the last several weeks to ensure that the needs of the state, local, and tribal law enforcement community were addressed in this legislation. Thank you to all members who have contacted their representatives to let them know how critical this funding will be to state, local, and tribal law enforcement.

However, it is important to note that this bill is not final. Both the House and Senate are expected to take up and pass the bill by tonight, Friday, February 13, 2009. The IACP encourages you to contact your Representative to urge him or her to vote for this compromise bill.

To aid in this task, please visit the IACP’s Legislative Action Center (LAC): http://stage.capwiz.com/theiacp/home/.


January 27, 2009

Stimulus Includes COPS, Byrne-JAG Funds

This week Congress introduced the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a piece of legislation aimed at stimulating the United States’ economy. Included in the House version of this legislation is $4 billion to support state, local, and tribal law enforcement: $3 billion for the Edward R. Byrne Justice Assistance (Byrne-JAG) grant program and $1 billion for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) hiring grants. The Senate version contains $3.95 billion: including $1.5 billion for Byrne JAG, $1 billion for COPS hiring program, $150 million for rural law enforcement and other grants for state, local and tribal law enforcement. The IACP sent a letter to Congress expressing support for these funding provisions.

The letter stated, “the IACP strongly believes that, by restoring funding for these critical programs, Congress will significantly strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to combat crime and violence in our communities.”

The introduction of this legislation follows a Senate hearing on the need for law enforcement assistance funds in the stimulus package.

“We must act quickly and decisively to shore up state and local law enforcement, or face a reversal of the great strides we made to reduce crime in the 1990s,” said Chairman Patrick Leahy of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary during its first hearing of the 111th Congress.

The Judiciary Committee held the hearing, “Helping State and Local Law Enforcement in an Economic Downturn,” to provide evidence as to why additional funding for state, local, and tribal law enforcement should be included in the stimulus package currently being considered by Congress. There were several witnesses at the hearing including Commissioner Charles Ramsey of the Philadelphia, PA Police Department (and former Chief of Police of the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department) and Chief Michael Schirling of the Burlington, VT Police Department. Each presented arguments as to why state, local, and tribal funding is in dire straights and should be increased immediately.

Commissioner Ramsey said, “With cities and states universally scaling back their police operations, infrastructure, reducing or cancelling academy classes, cutting back investigative and patrol overtime, slowing their financial investment in technology and implementing hiring freezes for sworn and civilian positions, all of us, police, local, state, and federal government have a stake in ensuring that public safety for the citizens in this country is not compromised.”

Chief Schirling provided a perspective from small to large cities, which make up most of the U.S. population. He said, “This economic turmoil has caused concern for public safety resources because maintaining safe communities is arguably one of the key elements of economic vitality and growth for any community.”

Congressional leaders have stated that they hope a stimulus bill can be worked out and presented to the new President in early spring, at the latest. The IACP encourages you to contact your Representative to urge him or her to increase state, local, and tribal funding in any economic stimulus plan.

IACP Endorses Holder, Napolitano

The IACP recently announced support for Attorney General nominee Eric Holder and Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Governor Janet Napolitano, who was sworn in on January 21, 2009.

In a letter sent to President Obama, IACP President Russell B. Laine wrote of Mr. Holder’s background and how it will allow him to foster and enhance the crucial partnership among federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies. President Laine wrote, “The IACP believes that Mr. Holder’s years of service have clearly demonstrated he has the qualifications and experience necessary to be an effective leader of the U.S. Department of Justice.”

President Laine continued, “Mr. Holder’s broad base of experience provides him with a unique perspective on criminal justice issues. His service as both Deputy Attorney General and Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia gives him a thorough understanding of the crucial role played by state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies.”

President Laine also sent a letter to President Obama endorsing Governor Janet Napolitano’s nomination as the DHS Secretary. In the letter, Chief Laine expressed that Governor Napolitano’s years of service in state government clearly demonstrate her qualifications; she has the experience necessary to be an effective leader of DHS.

President Laine wrote, “The IACP believes that Governor Napolitano understands the crucial role played by state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies and will be a leader in coordinating federal, state, local, and tribal homeland security efforts.”

IACP Encourages President Obama to Retain FEMA within DHS

IACP President Russell B. Laine recently encouraged President Obama to retain the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Some have expressed a desire to make FEMA a stand-alone agency, which the IACP strongly opposes.

In the letter to President Obama, President Laine said, “It is the IACP’s belief that removal of FEMA from DHS will erode the ability of our nation’s public safety agencies to develop and implement a coordinated and integrated emergency response effort.”

President Laine concluded his letter by stating the IACP’s continued commitment to work with both Congress and the Administration to increase and improve our nation’s emergency response capabilities. “FEMA must play a central role in these efforts, and it is our belief that separating FEMA from the Department of Homeland Security will fragment and weaken our efforts in this critical area,” said President Laine.

The letter stated, “the IACP strongly believes that, by restoring funding for these critical programs, Congress will significantly strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to combat crime and violence in our communities.”

The introduction of this legislation follows a Senate hearing on the need for law enforcement assistance funds in the stimulus package.

“We must act quickly and decisively to shore up state and local law enforcement, or face a reversal of the great strides we made to reduce crime in the 1990s,” said Chairman Patrick Leahy of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary during its first hearing of the 111th Congress.

The Judiciary Committee held the hearing, “Helping State and Local Law Enforcement in an Economic Downturn,” to provide evidence as to why additional funding for state, local, and tribal law enforcement should be included in the stimulus package currently being considered by Congress. There were several witnesses at the hearing including Commissioner Charles Ramsey of the Philadelphia, PA Police Department (and former Chief of Police of the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department) and Chief Michael Schirling of the Burlington, VT Police Department. Each presented arguments as to why state, local, and tribal funding is in dire straights and should be increased immediately.

Commissioner Ramsey said, “With cities and states universally scaling back their police operations, infrastructure, reducing or cancelling academy classes, cutting back investigative and patrol overtime, slowing their financial investment in technology and implementing hiring freezes for sworn and civilian positions, all of us, police, local, state, and federal government have a stake in ensuring that public safety for the citizens in this country is not compromised.”

Chief Schirling provided a perspective from small to large cities, which make up most of the U.S. population. He said, “This economic turmoil has caused concern for public safety resources because maintaining safe communities is arguably one of the key elements of economic vitality and growth for any community.”

Congressional leaders have stated that they hope a stimulus bill can be worked out and presented to the new President in early spring, at the latest. The IACP encourages you to contact your Representative to urge him or her to increase state, local, and tribal funding in any economic stimulus plan.


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