Last Chance! Register Now for NAPO’s 45th Annual Convention; NAPO Submits Comments on Implementation of National Accountability Database; Next Steps for National Accreditation Standards; Senate Banking Committee Approves FEND Off Fentanyl Act; NAPO on the Hill;June 29, 2023
Last Chance! Register Now for NAPO’s 45th Annual Convention
July 16 – 19, 2023 ~ Los Angeles, California
Join us for NAPO’s 45th Annual Convention at Hilton’s Universal City Hotel in Los Angeles, California. Learn from presentations by prominent law enforcement figures about the latest developments in police policies and services and help determine NAPO’s path forward by participating in the election of NAPO’s Leadership.
The Hilton sits high atop the Hollywood Hills, providing stunning views of Los Angeles from all guestrooms. Located in the heart of Los Angeles' entertainment district, it is just a short walk to Universal Studios and theme park and conveniently located near other famous Hollywood Landmarks. When not exploring Universal City and Hollywood, the hotel offers several bars & restaurants, workout center, and outdoor pool with bar.
A Very Special Thanks to Craig Lally and the Los Angeles Police Protective League for sponsoring many of the convention’s events. Without their financial support and tireless efforts, many of the events simply would not have been possible!
For registration and information including hotel reservations, transportation discounts, and updates to the meeting agenda and planned activities check out NAPO’s Convention webpage: www.napo.org/convention23
NAPO Submits Comments on Implementation of National Accountability Database
NAPO participated in a meeting with White House staff on June 23 to check in on the status of the implementation of the President’s police reform Executive Order and to discuss any comments or concerns we have on the stakeholder process and the ongoing enactment of the various provisions. We expressed our concern that the Department of Justice has been relatively silent on its implementation of Section 5 of the Executive Order, establishing a National Law Enforcement Accountability Database, since stakeholder listening sessions were held at the end of last year.
Since our meetings on the Accountability Database in December, the Administration decided that rather than build a brand-new database, it will build and expand upon the National Decertification Index database run by International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training (IADLEST), which currently only reports those officers who have been decertified. The Department of Justice (DOJ), which oversees the implementation of the database, is currently working with IADLEST and the various federal law enforcement agencies on the logistics of how to integrate disparate and separate federal agency information into the database. NAPO has worked closely with IADLEST on its National Decertification Index (NDI), particularly after President Trump’s Executive Order on Safe Policing for Safe Communities ordered it to be expanded. During the listening sessions, we recommended that the DOJ use IADLEST’s NDI as the basis for the National Accountability Database as we believe the organization will safeguard officers’ rights and interests to the best of its ability.
When asked about policies related to what information is to be included in the database and what due process procedures there will be, little information was shared other than what is laid out in the Executive Order. NAPO continues to have apprehensions with the language of the Order and after expressing them again to White House staff during our meeting, we followed up with a formal letter in which we stated our recommendations for the policies and procedures governing the database.
NAPO’s focus remains protecting the privacy and rights of officers, particularly their due process rights, which we are strongly advocating must occur prior to officer records being uploaded into the Database. We also further reiterated our recommendation that only those allegations or findings of serious misconduct that are substantiated and adjudicated should be included.
We continue to press the Administration to be open and work collaboratively with NAPO and the law enforcement community as it works to implement the Executive Order to ensure it is fair and balanced and protects the rights of both law enforcement officers and the communities they serve.
Next Steps for National Accreditation Standards
NAPO met with the Director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), Colonel Hugh Clements, Jr., and COPS Office staff on June 20 to follow up on the May 25 release of the National Accreditation Standards, created pursuant to Section 19 of the President’s Executive Order on police and criminal justice reform. These Standards will be used to determine if a law enforcement agency accreditation entity qualifies as an “authorized, independent credentialing body” and will be the standards law enforcement agencies must comply with in order to be considered accredited by the Department of Justice. The COPS Office was responsible for developing the standards and we discussed our questions regarding the next steps of their implementation.
The DOJ has not yet developed the processes for implementing the standards and accrediting law enforcement agencies so there were no specific answers to our questions. The next steps will be working with stakeholders to identify accreditation standards implementation needs, options, and methods to mitigate any challenges that agencies may face. There is recognition within the DOJ that many of these standards will be expensive to implement and may take time for departments to comply with, particularly small departments with less resources. Director Clements stated he would take our questions to leadership and ensure they are considered as the implementation plan is developed.
NAPO continues to engage with the Administration on the implementation of the Executive Order and we will work with the DOJ on how to best enact these Standards. We will keep you apprised of these discussions and the continued execution of the various aspects of the Executive Order.
Senate Banking Committee Approves FEND Off Fentanyl Act
On June 21, the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee unanimously approved the Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence (FEND) Off Fentanyl Act, sponsored by Committee Ranking Member Tim Scott (R-SC) and Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-OH). This bill will help combat the country’s fentanyl crisis by enhancing current law so U.S. government agencies can more effectively disrupt illicit opioid supply chains and penalize those facilitating the trafficking of fentanyl. It also ensures that sanctions are imposed not only on the illicit drug trade, but also on the money laundering that makes it profitable.
By approving the FEND Off Fentanyl Act, the Committee is moving forward what will be a critical component in the fight against the spread of this deadly poison in our communities. It will sanction transnational organizations and cartels that traffic fentanyl and its precursors, helping to stop the flow of this deadly poison into our country. NAPO firmly believes we cannot act only after this drug enters our country; we must fight it before it crosses our borders.
NAPO thanks Senators Scott and Brown for their leadership and we are calling on the Senate to take immediate action and pass this important bill.
NAPO on the Hill
Over the past two weeks, NAPO has been working with members of Congress on a variety of our priority issues, including Fiscal 2024 appropriations, mental health crisis response teams, and garnering cosponsors for the Social Security Fairness Act.
House Republican Conference
NAPO met with the staff of House Republican Conference Chair, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY), to check in on NAPO’s priorities this Congress and those of the Republican Conference. As a Member of Congress, Rep. Stefanik has worked closely with NAPO on the issue of bail reform and lax prosecution of criminals. She has maintained her strong support of the law enforcement community as Conference Chair. We look forward to continue working with her to protect NAPO’s priority grants from significant funding cuts for Fiscal 2024 and moving NAPO’s priorities, particularly around mental health and wellness, forward this Congress.
Mental Health Response Teams
Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-CA) is looking to reintroduce the Mental Health Justice Act this Congress, which would create a grant to fund pilot programs to train and send mental health specialists in lieu of law enforcement in response to calls of a mental health crisis. These calls could be from 911, 988, or another crisis line. NAPO strongly supports interdisciplinary and co-responder team models but believes that law enforcement must play a role in responses to mental health crises, particularly for those calls that come through 911.
NAPO stands behind partnerships with mental health, substance use disorder, and community service agencies to improve appropriate and effective responses to individuals in crisis and to achieve safe outcomes for all individuals in the community. However, we cannot support a bill that would remove law enforcement from those partnerships as we believe it will unnecessarily risk the safety of the other responders. We are committed to working with Congresswoman Porter’s staff to promote programs and grants that aid state and local governments to develop and implement multidisciplinary crisis response programs for individuals suffering from a mental health crisis.
NAPO met with staff of Congressman John Rutherford (R-FL), who is the co-chair of the House Law Enforcement Caucus and sits on the House Appropriations Committee, to discuss protecting NAPO’s priority grant programs – specifically, the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Program and the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program – from significant cuts as House appropriators move forward with allocating funding for Fiscal 2024. Congressman Rutherford leads an appropriations letter with his Law Enforcement Caucus co-chair, Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr., every year urging adequate funding for these important programs and has been one of our strongest supporters on the Appropriations Committee.
The COPS Program funds several vital programs: the COPS Hiring Program, the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act and the Supporting and Treating Officers in Crisis Act programs, the National Blue Alert Network, active shooter training through the POLICE Act, anti-meth and anti-heroin task forces, and the STOP School Violence Act, amongst others.
The Byrne JAG program has proven essential as it is the only comprehensive federal crime-fighting program that allows for a system-wide approach that enables communities to target resources to their most pressing local needs. It is also a vital source of funding for state and local law enforcement participation in federal task forces and supports training law enforcement officers to better respond to individuals in crisis as well as co-responder models and crisis intervention teams.
The House Appropriations Committee approved six of the twelve FY24 appropriations bills before adjourning for a two-week recess on June 23, with plans to take up the Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations measure after they return on July 10. NAPO continues to meet with members of the Committee and communicate with Committee staff the importance of these two programs, together with all of our priority state and local law enforcement grant programs, and the need to protect them from any serious funding cuts.
Social Security Fairness Act
NAPO continues to reach out to members of Congress who have not yet signed on as cosponsors of the Social Security Fairness Act, H.R. 82, asking them to support this important bill. H.R. 82, which would totally repeal the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), currently has 286 bipartisan cosponsors, an astounding number of cosponsors so early in the Congress, setting us up for a strong chance of actually addressing the issues of the GPO and WEP this Congress.
Please see our “Sponsor/Cosponsor” spreadsheet to see if your Representative is a cosponsor. Contact NAPO’s Director of Governmental Affairs, Andy Edmiston, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-549-0775 for more information on the Social Security Fairness Act and materials you can share with your member of Congress if they are not yet a cosponsor.