NAPO Participates in White House Meeting on Officer Safety and Wellness; NAPO on the Hill: Meeting with Senate Rules Committee; NAPO on the Hill: Meeting with Rep. Jolly’s Staff; NAPO in the News; NAPO Attends Blue Mass Steering Committee Meeting; 2016 Lobby Day Legislative Update & NAPO’s Annual Legislative Awards Luncheon;March 16, 2016
NAPO Participates in White House Meeting on
Officer Safety and Wellness
On March 10th, NAPO Executive Director Bill Johnson participated in a White House meeting on Officer Safety and Wellness with Administration officials including Roy Austin, Director of the White House Office of Urban Affairs, Justice, and Opportunity, and Ron Davis, Director of the COPS Office. The meeting was convened to discuss the key issues currently impacting officer safety and wellness and how to address officer morale amid increased scrutiny and high profile incidents.
Johnson addressed four main points during the meeting, reiterating several long-held NAPO positions on what the Administration can do to help promote officer safety and wellness. There have been 18 line-of-duty deaths this year, of which 13 have been by gunfire. Several of those gun-related deaths were by ambush – the officers were targeted and killed simply due to the fact that they were police officers. These statistics do not even take into account the number of officers injured by gunfire or ambush attacks.
Johnson pointedly asked why the Department of Justice (DOJ) was not going after cop-killers when it so vigorously goes after law enforcement officers who used force. In going after officers who used force, the DOJ’s reasoning is that it must protect individuals’ civil rights. NAPO views attacks on police officers as attacks on civil rights because it is the duty of police to protect civil rights. The DOJ is picking and choosing when to protect civil rights at the expense of law enforcement officers and it must change that by pushing for federal prosecution of those who violently assault, kill or attempt to kill officers.
Johnson also addressed the unacceptable delays in the Public Safety Officers’ Benefit (PSOB) program claims determination. According to a PSOB document sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee, as of November 18, 2015, there was a backlog of 612 death benefit claims, of which 138 are 9/11 related death claims, 146 disability claims, and 128 education benefit claims, making a total of 886 claims that have yet to be determined. At least one claim has been with the PSOB Office since 2007. Additionally, there are 163 cases at the appeals level, many which have been there for several years. The size of the backlog of cases within PSOB is unconscionable and DOJ must act to right this. Public safety officers must know that their loved ones will be taken care of if something were to happen and the current state of the PSOB Office does little to instill confidence in officers that the federal government will do its part to take care of the survivors.
The third point Johnson made was regarding extradition of cop-killers from Cuba. Given the Administration’s new policy regarding more open diplomacy between the United States and Cuba, the DOJ, together with the Department of State, must work on bringing back cop-killers who fled to Cuba, such as Joanne Chesimard, so that they can be brought to justice. Chesimard murdered New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster in cold blood and the fact that she – and violent criminals like her – are living free in Cuba is an affront to the men and women who have dedicated their lives to protecting our community as law enforcement officers—above all to the family and friends of police officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
The final point Johnson made was regarding the DOJ consent decree with the Ferguson Police Department. In the consent decree agreement, the DOJ wants to require the department to check all new hires against the National Decertification Index, a database of law enforcement officers who have been stripped of their credentials for supposed misconduct. NAPO strongly believes that there is no guarantee that the officers listed in the Index had any due process rights and that no one can ascertain the validity of the Index. It is objectionable that DOJ is mandating this for the Ferguson Police Department and shows distrust by the DOJ of the police community as a whole that it would require the use of such a list in the hiring of officers.
There was no comment from Administration officials to any of the points raised by Johnson. NAPO will continue the fight to protect the rights of rank-and-files officers and work to ensure our voices are heard.
If you have any questions about the meeting, please contact Bill Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NAPO on the Hill: Meeting with Senate Rules Committee
NAPO met with the chief counsel of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration to discuss the Fallen Heroes Flag Act, as the Committee has raised some concerns around the reasons for the bill. The Fallen Heroes Flag Act would allow members of Congress to honor a deceased public safety officer who died in the line of duty by providing to the family, at their request, a Capitol-flown flag. The flag would be accompanied by a certificate expressing a message of sympathy signed by either the Speaker of the House or Senate Majority Leader and the Senator or Representative providing the flag.
This bill will allow members of Congress to honor these brave individuals for their heroism and extend a gesture of sympathy and gratitude to the immediate family. After discussing the purpose of the bill, Committee staff seemed supportive of it and wanted to ensure that it was written in a way that allowed for smooth sailing through the Committee.
Representative Peter King (R-NY) introduced the bill and worked with NAPO to pass it in the House during Police Week last year. We will continue working with the Committee, which has jurisdiction over the bill, to ensure we can easily move it through the Committee and to the Senate floor for a vote within the next few months.
If you have any questions about the Fallen Heroes Flag Act, please contact Andy Edmiston at email@example.com.
NAPO on the Hill: Meeting with Rep. Jolly’s Staff
NAPO met with Representative David Jolly’s (R-FL) staff to discuss the Thin Blue Line Act. Rep. Jolly introduced the legislation in February 2015 and we are working closely with him and his staff to move this bill through Congress before the end of session.
The Thin Blue Line Act is critical as persistent and nationwide calls for the killing of officers and anti-police rhetoric continue with little to no abatement. Establishing stricter penalties for those who harm or target for harm law enforcement officers will deter violent crimes. Any persons contemplating harming an office must know that they will face serious punishments. Increased penalties make important differences in the attitudes of criminals toward public safety officers, and ensure protection for the community.
NAPO views our ability to move this bill through Congress as a litmus test as to whether members of Congress truly support law enforcement. With 13 of the 18 law enforcement officer line-of-duty deaths to date this year resulting from gunfire, this bill raises a significant issue for law enforcement who are looking for the support of their elected officials. The most recent death was on March 13th, when three young men decided to ambush a police stationhouse in Prince William County, Maryland. An undercover narcotics officer who engaged the shooter died in the line-of-duty.
It is time to do more to protect the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe. Congress must past the Thin Blue Line Act to help deter future ambushes of law enforcement.
NAPO continues to work with Rep. Jolly and Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA), who is the sponsor in the Senate, to pass this important bill.
If you have any questions about the Thin Blue Line Act, please contact Andy Edmiston at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NAPO in the News
On March 10, 2015, NAPO Executive Director Bill Johnson was quoted in a Fox News article, “Ford makes police car doors that stop armor-piercing bullets”. The article reported on the new doors Ford is producing for its Police Interceptor sedans and SUVs that can protect against armor-piercing bullets. The doors will meet the DOJ’s highest standard of body armor – the first in the United States to do so.
Johnson stated that “police are frequently targeted when they’re in their cars, so they will likely welcome the more advanced protection”. He went on to say that “[a]ny kind of protection that can be added into the vehicles that officers are driving in is a great idea”.
The full article is available at the following site: http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2016/03/10/ford-makes-police-car-doors-that-stop-armor-piercing-bullets/?intcmp=hpffo&intcmp=obnetwork
NAPO will continue to ensure our members’ voices are heard loud and clear on the Hill, with the Administration, and in the media. If you have any questions about the publication cited above, please contact Bill Johnson at: email@example.com.
NAPO Attends Blue Mass Steering Committee Meeting
On March 7, 2016, NAPO participated in the first committee meeting on the 22nd Annual Blue Mass. The Blue Mass is held each year right before the start of National Police Week at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Washington, D.C. Representatives of federal and local law enforcement and public safety agencies from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area attend the Blue Mass to pray for those in law enforcement and fire safety, remember those who have fallen, and support those who serve.
This year’s Blue Mass is scheduled for Tuesday, May 3, 2016, at 12:10pm. Please see the Blue Mass flyer for more details.
May 12, 2016
2016 Lobby Day
Legislative Update &
NAPO’s Annual Legislative Awards Luncheon
Please join NAPO on May 12th for our Legislative Day on Capitol Hill. Use this opportunity to lobby Congressional Representatives and Senators on behalf of your members concerning the issues which affect law enforcement. Prior to lobbying Capitol Hill, plan to attend NAPO’s Legislative Breakfast for an update on NAPO’s legislative priorities, results to date from the 114th Congress, and to receive handouts to use during Hill visits. While on Capitol Hill, be sure to stop by NAPO’s Legisltive Luncheon in the Cannon Caucus Room, where several Congressmen and Senators will be recognized for their continued support of Law Enforcement.
Schedule of Events
NAPO Legislative Update Breakfast
JW Marriott Hotel
9:00am – 10:30am
Capitol Hill Visits
10:30am – 12:00pm
NAPO Legislative Awards Luncheon
Cannon House Office Building Room 334
12:00pm – 1:30pm
Capitol Hill Visits
1:30pm – 5:00pm
For assistance setting up your Capitol Hill appointments, contact Andy Edmiston, NAPO’s Director of Governmental Affairs, at (800) 322-6276 or firstname.lastname@example.org, by May 2nd.
The registration fee of $150.00 per person includes the Legislative Update Breakfast, Handouts, and the Congressional Awards Lunch. Please contact Elizabeth Loranger, NAPO’s Director of Events, at (800) 322-6278 or email@example.com if you have any questions regarding the seminar or hotel arrangements.
NAPO has reserved a block of rooms at JW Marriott Hotel. Room rates are $239 per night. To make your reservation, please call (800) 228-9290 and tell them you are with NAPO. In order to receive the reduced rate, reservations must be made by April 20. The hotel is expected to sell out, so please make your hotel reservations early.
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.