THE WASHINGTON REPORT

THE WASHINGTON REPORT

09/18/2017

To view The Washington Report on the NAPO Website click HERE

In this issue of The Newsletter of the National Association of Police Organizations:

  • PLEASE HELP OUR BROTHER AND SISTER OFFICERS AFFECTED BY HURRICANES HARVEY & IRMA
  • DOJ Realigns Priorities of COPS Office to Better Support Police
  • NAPO Victory! House Adopts COPS Hiring Amendment
  • Trump Nominates FLEOA Past President to Head DOJ Bureau of Justice Assistance
  • NAPO on the Hill: Fighting Effort to Curb Law Enforcement’s Access to Surplus Military Equipment
  • NAPO Victory! Senate Passes Bills to Fight Human Trafficking
  • Join NAPO for Our Annual Fall Seminar

PLEASE HELP OUR BROTHER AND SISTER OFFICERS
AFFECTED BY HURRICANES HARVEY & IRMA

Thank you to all our member groups and individual members and supporters who have already donated to NAPO’s Relief Fund!

The requests for relief checks are starting to come in.  Many, many officers in Texas, and now South Florida, have lost everything due to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.  As we now focus on South Florida, we anticipate a greater need for Relief Fund donations than ever before.  Attached please find a donation form that you can fill in and submit. Several of our groups have reposted it to their own members and we ask that other groups please do the same. The form is also up on our Facebook site and webpage and we have a direct donations link for our Relief Fund up and running on our website. 

PLEASE SHARE WITH YOUR MEMBERS

We will repeat our requests for contributions to our Relief Fund as long as needed. 

100 percent of donations will be used to provide direct financial relief to the officers affected.  We will rely on the local unions and associations to confirm the damage and losses and will immediately cut checks to the officers.  

Thank you for your support and generosity for all our brother and sister officers and their families affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

 

Michael “Mick” McHale, President                                       Bill Johnson, Executive Director

 

 

DOJ Realigns Priorities of COPS Office
to Better Support Police

On September 15, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced significant changes to the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office’s Collaborative Reform Initiative for Technical Assistance. Collaborative Reform was created in 2011 in response to requests from state and local law enforcement agencies and organizations for technical assistance to proactively help law enforcement make organizational and policy reform in a non-adversarial and cost-effective manner. It was meant to help improve trust between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve by assisting agencies on the most-pressing issues identified by agencies.

Since its inception, however, Collaborative Reform evolved to be a precursor to a formal investigation by the DOJ Civil Rights Division and a consent decree.  It started to go beyond the issues highlighted for assistance by the local agency to include much broader ranging assessments of the agencies. Through Collaborative Reform, the COPS Office began identifying criticisms of practices and policies as a basis for it to recommend significant changes and monitor the adoptions of those changes by the agency. NAPO fought against this shift in the purpose of the COPS Office, as we experienced it moving away from its original intent and become a tool to move a distinct political agenda that included policies such as “implicit bias” training, “procedural justice” and “police legitimacy”. 

By the end of the Obama administration, the COPS Office exemplified a top-down, Washington knows best, one-size-fits all, coercive approach to how state and local policing should be done, what officers should look like, and even what they should think and believe. This led to deleterious effects on officer morale and public safety as rank-and-file officers felt attacked and unsupported by their government and department leadership. This shift in priorities also affected the law enforcement community’s relationship with the DOJ as these policies were pushed at the expense of officer and community safety measures such as officer safety and wellness, crisis intervention training, active shooter training, mass casualty response and gang prevention.

NAPO voiced our concerns with the direction and management of the COPS Office to the Presidential Transition Team in December 2016 and again to the Attorney General in March of this year. We continued to express our frustration with the COPS Office at law enforcement forums and roundtables hosted by DOJ leadership.

With the announced changes, Collaborative Reform will now provide technical assistance to local law enforcement agencies who request subject matter expertise on a variety of issues focusing on best practices, crime reduction and the needs of the field. In announcing the changes, the Attorney General stated that this “is a course-correction to ensure that resources to go agencies that require assistance rather than expensive wide-ranging investigative assessments that go beyond technical assistance and support.”

These changes to Collaborative Reform better align the program with the principles outlined by Attorney General Sessions in his March 31 memorandum to DOJ leadership in support of state and local law enforcement. The Attorney General’s guiding principles include supporting local control and accountability and recognizing that it is not the role of the federal government to manage non-federal law enforcement agencies.

These changes are a major victory for NAPO. We applaud Attorney General Sessions for these program modifications and thank him for considering and prioritizing the needs of state and local law enforcement. The COPS Office will once again be a true partner of state and local law enforcement and we look forward to working with the Office to ensure that law enforcement officers get the support and resources they need to efficiently and effectively serve and protect our communities.

 

 

NAPO Victory! House Adopts COPS Hiring Amendment

In a victory for NAPO, the House adopted by voice vote the amendment offered by Congressmen Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) and Dave Reichert (R-WA), the co-chairs of the House Law Enforcement Caucus, to provide $100 million in funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program in the Fiscal 2018 omnibus appropriations bill (H.R. 3354). NAPO worked closely with Congressman Pascrell and Reichert on this amendment and expended every effort to ensure its adoption.

In introducing the amendment on the House floor, Congressman Pascrell stated, “The amendment before us enjoys the support of law enforcement organizations, such as National Association of Police Organizations… In their letter of support NAPO wrote, they are ‘very concerned that H.R. 3354 does not provide funding for the COPS Hiring Program.’”  He went on to ask member how they can claim to support law enforcement officers while at the same time cutting essential funding and resources to help hire and retain much needed officers.

In his press release about the adoption of the amendment, Congressman Pascrell quoted NAPO Executive Director Bill Johnson:

“NAPO is very concerned that H.R. 3354 does not provide funding for the COPS Hiring Program … The Pascrell/Reichert Amendment #109 rights this wrong by providing necessary funding to the COPS Hiring Program. As major cities across the country are facing an increase in violent crime for the first time in years and community-police relations are strained, now is not the time to put additional stresses on state and local police forces by leaving them short-handed.”

The broad, bipartisan support for this amendment flies in the face of House Appropriations leadership, which once again tried to zero out the program in Fiscal 2018.  Congressman Culberson, Chair of the Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittee, who has led the efforts to defund the COPS Program, made an amazing statement after Congressmen Pascrell and Reichert introduced the amendment.

Chairman Culberson stated, “I absolutely recognize the importance of the COPS Hiring Program and what an important impact it has had on the safety of local communities. We are especially grateful to our first responders in southeast Texas, southwest Louisiana, and the people of Florida. I don't know what we would do without our first responders… Given the staffing shortages and the current issues facing our law enforcement, the COPS program is especially important.”

He went on to state that the Senate has funded the COPS program in its Fiscal 2018 appropriations bill – at $207 million – and that he looks forward to ensuring the COPS Program is funded in the final bill. We will be holding the Chairman to that remark not only for Fiscal 2018 but for all future fiscal years to make certain he does not attempt to eliminate funding for the program again.

With this statement, the $207 million the Senate appropriated for the COPS Hiring Program and the Administration’s stated support for it, we are confident the COPS Hiring Program will receive adequate funding for Fiscal 2018.  We will continue to work to ensure this vital program is funded. Congress has until December 8 to finalize appropriations for Fiscal 2018.

NAPO sincerely thanks Congressmen Pascrell and Reichert for their continued leadership and dedication to ensuring our nation’s law enforcement has the resources and support it needs. The have been true champions for the law enforcement community.

If you have any questions, please contact Andy Edmiston at aedmiston@napo.org.

 

Trump Nominates FLEOA Past President to Head
 
DOJ Bureau of Justice Assistance

President Trump nominated Jon Adler, past-president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) and a federal law enforcement officer, to be the Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) within the Department of Justice (DOJ).  The BJA Director oversees the Public Safety Officer’s Benefits (PSOB) Program as well as several vital law enforcement grant programs including the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG), the Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) Grant, the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA), and the body-worn camera grants.

As FLEOA president and past-president, Mr. Adler has been an ally of NAPO in fighting for the passage and reauthorization of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensations Act, in protecting the ability of officers and their families to receive PSOB benefits, in fighting to increase protections for federal, state and local law enforcement, and in our work as a member of the board of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Mr. Adler’s nomination to be BJA Director once again shows the Trump Administration’s dedication to supporting our nation’s law enforcement community.

Mr. Adler has spent much of his career fighting for the rights of federal rank-and-file officers, and while we will miss Mr. Adler fighting with us, we look forward to working with him in his new position.

 

NAPO on the Hill:
Fighting Effort to Curb Law Enforcement’s
Access to Surplus Military Equipment

NAPO spent last week fighting off an amendment to the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), offered by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), that would restrict state and local law enforcement’s access to surplus military equipment through the Department of Defense and other federal grant programs. The amendment was the text of Senator Paul’s Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act, a bill that NAPO has been opposing over the past several Congresses. 

NAPO sent a letter to and spoke with staff of Senate leadership and Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and in charge of shepherding the NDAA on the Senate floor, advising them of our strong opposition to Senator Paul’s amendment and urging them to not to consider it for a vote. We also worked with Senator Patrick Toomey’s (R-PA) staff to oppose the amendment. Senator Toomey is the sponsor of the Lifesaving Gear for Police Act that would rescind the Obama-created restrictions to this equipment.

After years of fighting restrictions to state and local law enforcement’s ability to obtain surplus military equipment, we won back access to this lifesaving gear with President Trump’s Executive Order on August 28.  That executive order repealed the Obama executive order that severely limited law enforcement’s access to surplus military equipment. NAPO was not about to see limitations placed once again on this defensive, protective equipment.

Programs like the Department of Defense’s (DOD) 1033 program and grant programs at the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security have been vital resources in allowing state and local law enforcement to acquire items used in search and rescue operations, disaster response, and active shooter situations that they otherwise would not be able to afford. This equipment has not led to the “militarization” of police, but rather has proven to be essential in protecting communities against violent criminals with increasing access to sophisticated weaponry, IEDs, body armor and sometimes even armored vehicles.

Furthermore, Senator Paul’s amendment included limitations on purely defensive equipment, such as head, face and body protection equipment. NAPO strongly believes that creating limitations on such gear will further endanger the lives of law enforcement officers, who have increasingly become targets of revenge and ambush attacks.

The Senate continues to debate the NDAA and we are working to ensure that the Senate does not consider Senator Paul’s amendment as part of the NDAA.  We will keep our members updated on the status of this amendment. If you have any questions, please contact Andy Edmiston at aedmiston@napo.org.

 

NAPO Victory! Senate Passes
Bills to Fight Human Trafficking

In a victory for NAPO, the Senate passed the Abolish Human Trafficking Act (S. 1311), sponsored by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (S. 1312), sponsored by Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), by unanimous consent on September 11. These bills complement each other in their efforts to ensure that the fight against human trafficking is prioritized in the United States. NAPO expended every effort to pass the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act last Congress and we continue to fight the scourge of human trafficking through our support for the Abolish Human Trafficking Act and the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.

The Abolish Human Trafficking Act would boost support for and protection of victims of human trafficking by increasing law enforcement resources, enhancing victims’ services, and increasing penalties in an effort to combat child sex trafficking, child pornography, sexual exploitation, and human trafficking. Additionally, it would give law enforcement more tools to target criminal street gangs involved in organized human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Importantly, this Act would provide for more training for federal, state and local law enforcement anti-trafficking task forces to better equip them to identify victims of human trafficking and refer them to much-needed victims’ services. It also extends the Domestic Trafficking Victims’ Fund and reauthorizes key Trafficking Victims Protection Act programs to offer more resources to human trafficking victims and law enforcement anti-trafficking operations.

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) would promote and provide resources for training for school resource officers to better equip them to identify victims of human trafficking in our schools and refer them to victims’ services. It would also help improve coordination between federal agencies to enhance the government’s response to and prosecution of human trafficking.

Further, the TVPA would update the authorization for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a vital resource for families and law enforcement, and would expand services authorized under the TVPA to include improved grant programs and education on best practices for screening and identifying trafficking victims

Human trafficking is a growing problem that has a pervasive and negative state and local impact across the country. These two bills would help to ensure law enforcement has the necessary federal support, tools, and resources to rescue trafficking victims, track down their exploiters, and prosecute every criminal responsible for modern-day slavery.

We look forward to working with the bills’ sponsors and the House Judiciary Committee to ensure their swift movement and passage through the House. If you have any questions about what this bill, please contact Andy Edmiston at aedmiston@napo.org.

 

Join NAPO for Our Annual Fall Seminar:

Navigating the New Union Environment 

November 5 – 7, 2017  ~  Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel

Rosemont, Illinois 

Learn from experts in the field how to effectively advocate for officer safety, respond to legal threats to union dues, how to preserve & grow membership in the changing labor environment, and legislative updates and Trump Administration changes. 

REGISTER & MAKE HOTEL RESERVATIONS BY OCTOBER 13!

Click here to Register Online

Seminar Registration is also attached.  If you have any questions or need additional information please do not hesitate to contact NAPO’s Director of Events, Elizabeth Loranger, eloranger@napo.org or (703) 549-0775.

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