NAPO Sits Down with New COPS Director; NAPO Participates in Roundtable on the Opioid Crisis; NAPO Supported Protect & Serve Act Introduced in the Senate; NAPO Endorses Two Bills to Help Law Enforcement’s Fight Against Drugs; NAPO Endorsed COPS Reauthorization Bill Introduced; NAPO Supports Bill to Allow Qualified Officers to Carry in School Zones; NAPO Endorses No Haven for Dangerous Fugitives Act; Legislation Introduced to Fight Criminal Organizations; SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR 2018 TOP COPS SponsorsMay 7, 2018
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NAPO Sits Down with New COPS Director
NAPO Executive Director Bill Johnson sat down with the new Director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), Phil Keith. Director Keith previously served as the Chief of Police of the Knoxville, Tennessee Police Department. NAPO President, Mick McHale, previously met with Director Keith at the Justice Department’s Officer Safety and Wellness Work Group meeting last month.
Director Keith wanted to introduce himself to Johnson and discuss his and NAPO’s priorities for the COPS Office. Johnson told Director Keith of NAPO’s disappointment with the direction the COPS Office has taken over the past several years, particularly under the previous administration, shifting away from its original intent to becoming a tool to move a distinct political agenda that was not exactly pro-officer. NAPO believes these policies were pushed at the expense of critical funding for the hiring and retention of officers – funding that should have been focused on officer and community safety measures such as lowering response time for emergency calls and two officer patrol units. Johnson stated that NAPO would like to see the COPS Program return to focusing on the hiring and retention of officers and relying on local police agencies to define what their communities need.
Johnson also stated that it is a priority for NAPO to see the peer mentoring pilot program that was established under the COPS Program by the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act as its own line item under COPS. Currently, the intent is to house it under the COPS and Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) joint VALOR Program, which only receives an average of $10-12 million every fiscal year and has several officer safety and wellness programs under it. The peer mentoring grant program is in high demand and needs to receive its own stream of significant funding to help departments across the nation establish peer mentoring programs for the mental wellbeing of their officers.
Director Keith was open to NAPO’s priorities for the COPS Office and told Johnson he wants an open line of communication to allow for such feedback and input. NAPO will continue to build our relationship with the new director and work with the COPS Office to ensure its focus is rightfully on officer and community safety. We are also continuing our efforts in Congress to promote the COPS Program and make certain that it receives significant funding in fiscal 2019.
NAPO Participates in Roundtable on the Opioid Crisis
On May 3, NAPO Executive Director Bill Johnson participated in a law enforcement stakeholders roundtable on the opioid epidemic held by the National Sheriffs’ Association and the Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security. Several high-level administration officials and Cabinet members spoke to the roundtable, including Kelly Anne Conway, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and Department of Education Assistant Secretary Jason Botel.
The roundtable focused on the discussion of what law enforcement agencies and our partners in the community, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, child welfare agencies, recovery programs, and judges, are currently doing to address the opioid crisis and where are their current needs. While the discussion did not result in any concrete next steps, it was a good check in to see where the Administration is on its strategy to fight the epidemic and learn how communities across the country are dealing with it and where we need to go in order to stem the tide.
NAPO Supported Protect & Serve Act Introduced in the Senate
Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Congressman John Rutherford (R-FL) have introduced the Protect and Serve Act of 2018, which provides for new criminal provisions for deliberate, targeted attacks on officers. Specifically, it creates federal mandatory minimum sentences for the assault or attempted assault and the killing of a state or local law enforcement officer when there is a federal nexus to the case, such as use of a firearm that has crossed state lines or the crime is connected somehow with interstate or foreign commerce.
This bill is critical, as there is a serious and growing trend of armed attacks on law enforcement officers. According to a December 2017 report from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 2016 saw a significant increase in ambush attacks on unsuspecting officers, with 21 shot and killed. 61% of those officers were not answering a call for service or engaged in enforcement action or performing official duties – they were targeted and killed just for the uniform they wore. 12 officers were murdered sitting in their patrol cars.
NAPO has long been fighting to establish stricter penalties for those who harm or target for harm law enforcement officers. Any persons contemplating harming an officer must know that they will face serious punishments. NAPO strongly believes that increased penalties make important differences in the attitudes of criminals toward public safety officers and ensure protection for the community.
NAPO is proud to stand with Senators Hatch and Heitkamp and Congressman Rutherford and we are currently lobbying the Senate Judiciary Committee to get this legislation marked up during National Police Week. Specifically, we have reached out to the staff of Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA), Ranking Member Diane Feinstein (D-CA), and Republicans and Democrats on the Committee we believe will support it in Committee: Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), John Kennedy (R-LA), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Chris Coons (D-DE), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
NAPO Endorses Two Bills to Help
Law Enforcement’s Fight Against Drugs
Our nation is in the midst of a significant drug crisis, which threatens the future of our youth and our country as a whole. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016 and opioids were involved in over 42,000 of those deaths. NAPO firmly believes we can only truly mitigate the effects these toxic drugs and others such as methamphetamine, synthetics, hallucinogens, and cocaine have on our communities through a national strategy. This is why we have endorsed the Substance Abuse Prevention Act of 2018, a bipartisan bill introduced by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), that, amongst other things, reauthorizes the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) and Drug Free Communities (DFC) Programs under ONDCP.
ONDCP is a key component in bringing federal, state, local, and tribal governments together and fostering law enforcement, treatment and prevention partnerships. The HIDTA Program under ONDCP plays an essential role in the nation’s drug control strategy. The success of HIDTA is touted by key law enforcement, treatment and prevention stakeholders across the nation due to its ability to seamlessly operate on local, regional, and national levels coordinating resources to address our nation’s drug epidemic. Further, ONDCP’s Drug Free Communities (DFC) Program has supported communities in addressing the drug crisis through treatment and prevention.
Through its reauthorization of these important programs, the Substance Abuse Prevention Act recognizes the importance of ONDCP and how vital it is that the HIDTA and DFC Programs continue to be administered by ONDCP. The efficacy of our National Drug Control Strategy relies on these programs being part of ONDCP.
The Substance Abuse Prevention Act also that builds on current prevention laws to ensure our communities and law enforcement have the resources they need to fight this growing drug epidemic. This includes the reauthorization of Drug Courts, resources for chemical screening equipment and training for officers, and funding for agencies to purchase anti-overdose drugs such as Naloxone for their officers.
The Substance Abuse and Prevention Act would help law enforcement and communities fight the drug epidemic that has spread across the country.
NAPO has also pledged its support for the Providing Officers with Electronic Resources (POWER) Act, sponsored by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH). This legislation will help state and local law enforcement detect fentanyl and protect themselves from accidental overdoses by using the same screening equipment Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents use to stop fentanyl at the border.
Fentanyl, particularly illicitly manufactured fentanyl, and other synthetic drugs are having deadly consequences on communities across the country, both big and small. Because illicit fentanyl is so powerful — just a few salt-sized grains can kill an adult — small amounts go a long way for drug traffickers. These relatively small and potent amounts mean fentanyl is difficult and hazardous to detect, making them easy to traffic and a danger to those trying to stop its spread into our communities.
Synthetic drugs affect communities across the country, both big and small, and local law enforcement officers are on the front line in the fight against these drugs. CBP has had success interdicting these drugs with hi-tech chemical screening devices. The POWER Act would support state and local law enforcements’ efforts to conduct drug investigations and prosecute drug crimes by providing funding for agencies to purchase chemical screening devices and giving them resources to help safeguard officers in the field from possible deadly exposure.
Officers and the communities they serve need all the resources and help they can get to combat these incredibly dangerous drugs and ensure the safety of our communities. NAPO thanks Senators Cornyn and Feinstein and Brown and Portman for their leadership on this issue and we look forward to working with them to pass these important bills.
NAPO Endorsed COPS Reauthorization Bill Introduced
The Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Program has not been reauthorized since 2006, which means that Congress could easily wipe it out because there is no current authorization to appropriate funding for it. NAPO fights every year to ensure the program receives adequate funding and the importance of this program speaks for itself as it continues to get funded. Several reauthorization bills have been introduced over the years, but NAPO has not supported many of them as they included strings attached to the funding or refocused the Program towards policies with which we do not agree.
NAPO worked closely with Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) on a straight COPS Program reauthorization that does not include any strings or extraneous policies to impose on departments. This legislation, S. 2774, was introduced on April 26 with five bipartisan cosponsors and has the support of the entire law enforcement community.
NAPO strongly believes that initiatives, like the COPS Program, that put and maintain more officers in the field to promote community policing and fight crime must be continued. 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 law enforcement by leaving them short-handed. By reauthorizing this vital program, S. 2774 recognizes the benefits to law enforcement and the public of putting more police on the street.
NAPO thanks Senator Klobuchar for working with us on this reauthorization bill and for her continued support of our nation’s law enforcement community. We are working with her staff to lobby other members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to have this bill taken up during National Police Week along with the Protect and Serve Act. We have communicated our support for the bill Committee Leadership as well as Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Ted Cruz (R-TX), John Kennedy (R-LA), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Ben Sasse (R-NE) as well as Law Enforcement Caucus co-chair Roy Blunt (R-MO).
NAPO Supports Bill to Allow Qualified Officers
to Carry in School Zones
Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) introduced the Police Officers Protecting Children Act, which would allow qualified retired and off-duty law enforcement officers who are authorized to carry concealed firearms to carry, and if necessary, discharge their firearm in a school zone. NAPO was actively involved in fighting for the passage of the Law Enforcement Officers’ Safety Act, which enabled off-duty and retired or separated officers to conceal carry across the country. We firmly believe that the changes this legislation makes will ensure that these officers will be able to carry firearms for the protection of themselves, their families and our nation’s schools and communities.
We are working with the House Judiciary Committee to have this bill marked up in the next couple of weeks and have gotten the support of House leadership to move on this bill quickly. We thank Congresswoman Hartzler for her support of the law enforcement community and look forward to seeing this bill passed into law.
NAPO Endorses No Haven for Dangerous Fugitives Act
On January 8, 2018, a suspect fleeing a traffic stop in Arizona hit a Chandler, Arizona police officer and dragged him behind his car before fleeing onto the nearby Gila River Reservation. Thankfully, the officer only suffered minor injuries and the suspect was taken into custody 48 hours later. However, not all cases of fugitives fleeing onto Indian country end this neatly and victims of crimes are often left without seeing justice served, which is why NAPO supports the No Haven for Dangerous Fugitives Act, sponsored by Congresswoman Kristi Noem (R-SD).
The fact that violent felons and potential cop-killers can live free in Indian county is an affront to the men and women who have dedicated their lives to protecting our communities as law enforcement officers. The increased penalties established by this legislation for those who unlawfully flee to avoid prosecution either into or from Indian country will help ensure that these felons face justice.
NAPO strongly believes that the U.S. Government should do everything in its power to ensure the extradition of violent criminals and cop-killers not only from Indian country, but also from foreign nations where many cop-killers have fled to avoid prosecution. The government must ensure that these felons face justice and to bring peace to the victims and their families.
Legislation Introduced to Fight Criminal Organizations
NAPO endorsed the Criminal Organizations’ Narcotics, Finances, Resources, Operations, and Networks Targeting (CONFRONT) Act, sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT). The CONFRONT Act requires the President to develop a national strategy to combat the financial networks of transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) and tackle the significant threats posed by the organizations.
Crime related to TCOs and their subsidiary organizations – mainly transnational drug cartels - is a significant concern for our nation’s law enforcement. Cybercrime, money laundering, human and drug trafficking committed by these organizations impacts communities across the country as with these crimes come an increase in gang and drug activity, assaults, larceny and burglary to our communities. Further, TCOs are increasingly using sophisticated methodologies to smuggle, transfer and counterfeit money to pay for their operations.
NAPO has previously indicated its support for similar legislation – the Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Counterfeiting Act – that would modernize and strengthen our nation’s criminal money laundering statutes to more effectively fight criminal organizations, drug traffickers and terrorists. The changes CONTRONT Act and the Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Counterfeiting Act would make are vital to law enforcement’s efforts to crack down on these crimes and defeat organized crime syndicates that threaten the safety of our nation and our communities.
SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR
2018 TOP COPS Sponsors
- Premier Level -
JP MORGAN ASSET MANAGEMENT
LINCOLN FINANCIAL GROUP
MASSMUTUAL FINANCIAL GROUP
NATIONWIDE RETIREMENT SOLUTIONS
- Silver Level -
HUNTSINGER AND JEFFER, INC.
- Bronze Level -
USAA INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT COMPANY
SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR
2018 TOP COPS Law Enforcement Sponsors
New Jersey State Troopers NCO Association
Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association of The City of New York
Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association
Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas
Dade County Police Benevolent Association
Detectives’ Endowment Association, Inc. of New York City
Detroit Police Officers Association
Fort Worth Police Officers Association
Illinois Police Benevolent & Protective Association
Las Vegas Police Managers & Supervisors Association
Las Vegas Police Protective Association
Los Angeles Police Protective League
Massachusetts Coalition of Police
New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association
Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association
Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association of The City of New York
Phoenix Law Enforcement Association
Port Authority Detectives Endowment Association
Port Authority Police Benevolent Association
Port Authority Police Lieutenants Benevolent Association
Port Authority Sergeants Benevolent Association
Sergeants Benevolent Association of New York City
Wisconsin Professional Police Association
Detroit Police Lieutenants and Sergeants Association
Florida Police Benevolent Association
Police Benevolent Association of the New York State Troopers
State Troopers Fraternal Association of New Jersey
Syracuse Police Benevolent Association
Rochester Police Locust Club