THE WASHINGTON REPORT

THE WASHINGTON REPORT

05/25/2022
 

Register for NAPO’s Annual Lobby Day; NAPO on the Hill: Police Week Priorities; NAPO Meets with New BJA Director; De-Escalation Training Bill Introduced; Invest to Protect Act; Bill to Enhance Data Collection on Ambush Attacks on Officers; Early Migration Alert Program Act; BJA Funding Opportunities

April 22, 2022
 


NAPO’s Annual Lobby Day is Quickly Approaching!

REGISTER TODAY

Capitol Hill and MGM National Harbor Hotel
Wednesday, May 11


Use this opportunity to lobby Congressional Representatives & Senators on behalf of your members concerning the issues which affect law enforcement. Prior to lobbying Capitol Hill, attend NAPO’s Legislative Breakfast at our host hotel, the MGM National Harbor, for an update on NAPO’s legislative priorities, results to date from the 117th Congress, and to receive handouts to use during Hill visits.

To have NAPO arrange Congressional meetings for you, please contact Andy Edmiston, NAPO’s Director of Governmental Affairs, by May 2, 2022, at the latest, at aedmiston@napo.org or (703) 549-0775.

You will find information regarding registration and the agenda on NAPO’s website: www.napo.org/Lobby22 or download the attached brochure and fax to NAPO at (703) 684-0515.

Please note: This event is for NAPO members only. Due to the ongoing COVID and Security restrictions at the U.S. Capitol complex, we will not be able to host our Annual Legislative Awards Luncheon.

NAPO’s May Executive Board Meeting will be held Friday, May 13 from 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. at the MGM National Harbor Hotel.

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


NAPO on the Hill: National Police Week Priorities

Every year, NAPO works in conjunction with other national law enforcement organizations – both management and labor – to push a list of bills we all agree on and support to move during National Police Week. We have spent the past several weeks meeting with Democratic and Republican leadership of the House and Senate as well as the House and Senate Judiciary Committees to discuss the pro-law enforcement legislation we want to see moved during National Police Week.

We have meet with the staff of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), House Judiciary Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-OH), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Judiciary Chairman Richard Durbin (D-IL), and Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Charles Grassley (R-IA). The support of these leaders is vital to our success in moving our priorities.

We discussed the need for legislation to enhance officer safety by increasing penalties for the murder, attempted murder, or assault of federal, state, and local law enforcement officers, legislation to qualify post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and PTSD-related suicides under the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) Program for death and disability benefits, the LEOSA Reform Act, training on responding to individuals suffering from traumatic brain injury (TBI) and PTSD, and expanding healthcare coverage to early retirees.

Increased penalties for the murder, attempted murder, or assault of a federal, state or local law enforcement officer because of their status as a public safety officer will deter such crimes and bring greater protections to officers and the communities they serve. NAPO is backing two bills that would provide increased penalties for such violent crimes against officers – the Back the Blue Act and the Protect and Serve Act.

Public Safety Officer Support Act recognizes post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a line of duty injury for purposes of the PSOB Program and ensures that officers who suffer from PTSD and those who take or attempt to take their own life as a result of that diagnosis will be covered under the program.

The LEOSA Reform Act would ensure the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) is more fairly and broadly implemented. The bill would expand the areas qualified current or retired officers are allowed to carry a firearm, including on a Gun Free School Zone; on state, local and private property otherwise open to the public; and in certain federal facilities. It will allow qualified officers and retired officers to carry an ammunition magazine of any capacity that is not prohibited by federal law. Importantly, it will reform qualifications standards to alleviate undue burdens for those carrying under LEOSA.

Expanding Healthcare Coverage for Early Retirees Act would give public safety retirees ages 50 to 64 another option to purchase affordable health insurance coverage by allowing them to buy-in early to Medicare. It would ensure they continue to have access to reasonable, comprehensive health insurance in retirement until they reach age 65 regardless of whether their state pension plan provides insurance coverage.

TBI/PTSD Law Enforcement Training Act would make training and guidance available that departments can use as a basis to support improved responses and outcomes to interactions between officers and persons affected by TBI and PTSD. It also recognizes that law enforcement and first responders are among those in our communities who suffer from these afflictions and requires the CDC to do a study on the prevalence TBI and PTSD in the profession.

We are working with both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees to finalize the list of bills will be marked up during National Police Week. We will then work to shore of the support of every member of the Judiciary Committees to ensure we have the support to get these important bills passed.


NAPO Meets with New BJA Director

NAPO’s Executive Director Bill Johnson and Government Affairs Director Andy Edmiston met with the new Director of the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), Karhlton Moore, to introduce ourselves and to discuss NAPO’s priorities for the year and how we can best support each other in moving those priorities forward. Director Moore was the Executive Director of the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services, where he oversaw state and federal grants for law enforcement, victim assistance, juvenile justice, crime prevention courts, anti-trafficking efforts, reentry, corrections programs and traffic safety. We were joined in the meeting by BJA Associate Deputy Directors Vince Davenport and Cynthia Sigworth as well as Public Safety Officer’s Benefits (PSOB) Program Director Hope Janke.

NAPO has long supported BJA as a vital resource for state and local law enforcement as it houses our priority programs, including the PSOB Program, the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program, the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program, the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program, the Body-Worn Camera grant program and tool-kit, and it supports and funds the Officer Safety and Wellness Working Group in collaboration with the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), amongst others.

In our conversation, as we were discussing the importance of supporting officer mental health and wellness, Director Moore mentioned that BJA is encouraging state, local and tribal governments to apply for American Rescue Plan funding for officer mental health and wellness programs. We have only been focused on using the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds passed as part of the American Rescue Plan Act to support funding for overtime, hazard pay, and the hiring and retention of officers. Director Moore strongly feels, and NAPO agrees, that providing sufficient mental health and wellness resources and supports for officers helps with officer retention efforts. We will work with BJA and the Administration to ensure that this funding is accessible to state and local law enforcement agencies for any of the above issues.

NAPO appreciates the support of BJA and the work that we do with them. Director Moore stated he appreciates NAPO’s close relationship with the Bureau and that they are here to help in any way possible. The collaborative relationship between NAPO and BJA has helped us move many of our priorities forward and we look forward to continuing that work.


NAPO Supported De-Escalation Training Bill Introduced

Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) have introduced the Law Enforcement De-Escalation Training Act (S. 4003), which would provide training curricula and funding to state and local law enforcement for training on alternatives to use of force, de-escalation, and responding to mental and behavioral health and suicidal crises. NAPO worked closely with Senators Cornyn and Whitehouse on this legislation to ensure that rank-and-file officers and their representatives are at the table in developing the curricula in training topics or identifying current curricula and best practices in training on these issues.

In addition to developing a curriculum and identifying best practices in training officers on these topics, the Law Enforcement De-Escalation Training Act would also authorize $70 million of Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program funding for law enforcement agencies to use for training, scenario-based exercises, and evaluative assessments.

NAPO has long supported funding for training programs for law enforcement and corrections personnel to identify and respond to incidents involving individuals with mental health, behavioral health and substance abuse issues. Law enforcement officials are all too familiar with calls for service that repeatedly bring them into contact with people whose mental illnesses and behavioral health issues are not being adequately addressed. Although these incidents are generally resolved safely, on rare occasions they can involve use of force, exposing both the law enforcement officer and the person with mental illness to serious risk. Without adequate training and tools to assist officers in responding to and de-escalating these situations, officers face tremendous obstacles in managing these incidents.

NAPO supports the Law Enforcement De-Escalation Training Act and thank Senators Cornyn and Whitehouse for their support to ensuring officers are properly trained and equipped to handle these often complicated and volatile situations. We look forward to working with them to see this important bill enacted into law.


Senators Introduce Invest to Protect Act

Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) introduced the Senate version of the NAPO supported Invest to Protect Act, S. 3860. This legislation would dedicate $50 million in funding from the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office specifically for small state, local, or tribal law enforcement agencies to help them train their officers, implement or expand body-worn camera programs, provide mental health resources for their officers, and retain and hire officers. A small agency is defined as one that employs fewer than 200 law enforcement officers.

The law enforcement assistance grant programs through the DOJ provide invaluable resources, training, and technical assistance to state and local law enforcement agencies, keeping our communities safe. However, small agencies across the country find themselves getting left behind due to their size and lack of resources for participating in the onerous Federal grant solicitation process. While we believe this legislation would better achieve its goals by the creation of a new, standalone grant program, rather than diverting current COPS funding, we know that access to this funding is of great urgency for small law enforcement agencies. NAPO is calling on Congress to ensure that the COPS Program is sufficiently funded as to ensure that no agency – large or small – is limited in the amount of funding they will be able to access.

We thank Senators Cortez Masto and Grassley for their leadership, and we look forward to working with them to ensure all law enforcement agencies have the support and resources necessary to serve and protect our communities.


Bill Introduced to Enhance Data Collection on Ambush Attacks on Law Enforcement

NAPO pledged its support for the Improving Law Enforcement Officer Safety and Wellness Through Data Act, S. 3981, introduced by Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Bill Cassidy (R-LA). This bill would build on existing reporting requirements and fill data gaps to increase our understanding of the circumstances precipitating and involving ambush-style attacks against law enforcement.

NAPO has long advocated that the data collected on the use of deadly force must include the actual and threatened use of force against officers, and not only situations involving firearms. The Improving Law Enforcement Officer Safety and Wellness Through Data Act will be an important first step to ensuring we are collecting the data necessary to fully understand assaults against officers and getting agencies the support and resources necessary to protect the health and safety of the men and women who so valiantly serve and protect our communities.

NAPO thanks Senators Grassley, Luján, Tillis, Hassan, and Cassidy for their support for the law enforcement community and we look forward to working with them to see this bill signed into law.


Early Migration Alert Program Act

NAPO supports the Early Migration Alert Program (E-MAP) Act, H.R. 7462, introduced by Congressman Michael Guest (R-MS), which would require Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) to develop an alert system where state, local, and tribal government authorities can receive information regarding the impending release of migrants into local communities.

The alerts would protect the identities of the migrants and only include the number of migrants to be released, the number of migrants with known criminal histories, their initial destinations, their final destinations, and where they intend to settle. Only verified government officials of the receiving jurisdictions would receive this information.

The E-MAP Act would ensure that communities and the agencies that serve them can prepare for the arrival of migrants and are not overwhelmed or caught off guard from the sudden release of migrants into their communities. NAPO thanks Congressman Guest for working with us on this common sense legislation and for his ongoing support for the law enforcement community.


Funding Opportunities from the Bureau of Justice Assistance

The Office of Justice Programs' Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) has released the solicitations listed below for funding to support and promote public safety by facilitating collaboration among the criminal justice, juvenile justice, mental health treatment, and substance use treatment systems to ensure those with mental illnesses receive the services and help they need. These grants include funding for crisis intervention teams, strengthening co-responder teams, and training officers on responding to individuals with mental health, behavioral health, or substance abuse issues. These grant programs, particularly the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program, have long been priorities for NAPO.

Please click on the hyperlinked program name for more information. Note that there are two deadlines for each solicitation; one for submission to Grants.Gov and the other for submission to JustGrants. Submission to BOTH is mandatory.

FY22 Connect and Protect: Law Enforcement Behavioral Health Response Program
Through this opportunity, the Bureau of Justice Assistance seeks applications for funding to support law enforcement-behavioral health cross-system collaboration to improve public health and safety responses and outcomes for individuals with mental health disorders and co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.

FY22 Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program
Through this program, the Bureau of Justice Assistance seeks applications for funding to support cross-system collaboration to improve public safety responses and outcomes for individuals with mental health disorders or co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders who come into contact with the justice system.

FY22 Collaborative Crisis Response and Intervention Training Program
Through this program, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) seeks applications for funding support to law enforcement on how to effectively partner with mental health, substance use disorder, and community service agencies to promote public safety and ensure appropriate responses to individuals who have behavioral health conditions, intellectual disabilities, developmental disabilities, or physical disabilities (disabilities). Note: BJA uses the term “behavioral health” to include mental health, substance use disorder, and co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.

 

Please monitor NAPO’s website, www.napo.org, and Facebook page: National Association of Police Organizations, and follow us on Twitter at NAPOpolice for breaking news and updates.

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