Capitol Hill UpdateMarch 24, 2014
NAPO WASHINGTON REPORT
NAPO Cosponsors House and Senate Byrne-JAG Briefings
NAPO cosponsored two Congressional staff briefings on the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne-JAG) Program on March 19, 2014. The Byrne-JAG Program is the federal government’s cornerstone justice assistance grant program. Grant funds reduce crime and victimization by supporting innovation and data-driven approaches in policing, community corrections, offender reentry, social services, substance abuse treatment and behavioral health services, pretrial diversion, juvenile delinquency prevention, anti-gang and anti-drug strategies, crime victim services, and much more. The funding is informed by strategy planning conducted by the states’ criminal justice planning agency and success is measured through research and data analysis.
The following speakers provided information to House and Senate staffers on how Byrne-JAG supports state and local criminal justice systems and advances evidence-based practices in reducing crime and victimization: Denise O’Donnell, Director, Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance; Jeanne Smith, Executive Director, Colorado Division of Criminal Justice, Colorado Department of Public Safety; Michael McCabe, Undersheriff, Office of the Sheriff, Oakland County, Michigan; Karhlton Moore, Executive Director, Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services; and Mark Gwyn, Director, Tennessee Bureau of Investigations.
Both the House and Senate briefings were very successful. We look forward to working with members of both chambers to support this important program.
NAPO Meeting on Capitol Hill – Senator McCain
NAPO met with a senior staffer for Senator John McCain (R-AZ) on March 19, 2014 to discuss the following issues:
Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Act (JMHCA): NAPO explained that the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA) created the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP) to help states and counties design and implement collaborative efforts between criminal justice and mental health systems. The JMHCA reauthorizes the successful MIOTCRA and extends the JMHCP for five years. The JMHCP can help law enforcement agencies across the United States in their responsibilities in assisting those, and dealing with citizens with mental health issues.
Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) Grant Program Reauthorization Act: NAPO explained the importance of the BVP Grant Program, which provides federal funds to state and local law enforcement departments to assist state and local law enforcement efforts to purchase bullet resistant vests. NAPO continues to expend all available efforts to garner additional cosponsors for the House and Senate versions of this bill.
The staffer was receptive to the above proposals, and we look forward to working with Senator McCain on these legislative priorities.
NAPO Meeting on Capitol Hill – Congressman Lance
NAPO met with Congressman Leonard Lance’s (R-NJ) staff on March 20, 2013. In addition to discussing the JMHCA and the BVP Grant Program, NAPO provided information on the following priorities:
Officer Sean Collier Campus Police Recognition Act: NAPO provided background on the Officer Sean Collier Campus Police Recognition Act, which amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 by adding campus police officers to the Department of Justice’s Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program. This bill defines a “campus police officer” as a police officer who is authorized to enforce the criminal laws and is employed by an institution of higher education.
Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Improvement and Reauthorization Act: NAPO stressed the importance of passing this legislation, which would reauthorize the COPS Program for five years and raise the current hiring cap from $75,000 to $125,000. The President’s FY 2015 Budget includes $247 million for the COPS Hiring Program. NAPO has been advocating for the COPS Hiring Program to be funded at a minimum of the amount requested by President Obama.
NAPO looks forward to working with Congressman Lance and his staff on the above issues.
NAPO Accompanies Postal Police Officers Association to Meeting with Senator Landrieu’s Staff
On March 20, 2014, NAPO accompanied the Postal Police Officers Association (PPOA) to a meeting with Senator Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) staff. Senator Landrieu is a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Senator Landrieu’s staff has been working with NAPO to included language modifications to Title 18, U.S.C., Section 3061 in the Postal Reform Act. The proposed changes will positively impact the PPOA, provide cost savings to the United States Government, and enhance public safety.
In Title 18, U.S.C., Section 3061, Congress prescribed law enforcement functions for the Postal Service. These functions are to be carried out by Postal Inspectors and uniformed police. Congress granted the Postal Service the authority to have Postal Police Officers serve warrants and subpoenas and conduct certain postal investigations. The Postal Service has not yet availed itself of this authority. NAPO has been working closely with the PPOA to clarify the language of the aforementioned section of the United States Code to ensure Postal Police Officers are utilized to their full capacity.
NAPO and the PPOA have focused much effort on providing briefings on this issue to over a dozen members of Congress, and will continue to push for our changes to be enacted.
NAPO Participates in National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund Meeting
NAPO’s Executive Director, Bill Johnson, participated in a National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) Board Meeting on March 20, 2014. NAPO is a founding member of the NLEOMF. NAPO’s efforts led to the successful passage of legislation to establish the Memorial, which is the nation’s monument to law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty. Dedicated on October 15, 1991, the Memorial honors federal, state, and local law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the safety and protection of our nation and its people.
NAPO has made the NLEOMF a top priority and we will continue to keep our members informed of updates on the NLEOMF.
NAPO Meets with House and Senate Judiciary Committee Members to Discuss Smarter Sentencing Act
On March 19, 2014, NAPO joined fellow stakeholders in a meeting with staffers for House and Senate Judiciary Committee members to discuss the Smarter Sentencing Act of 2013. The legislation relaxes current mandatory minimum sentencing policies. NAPO is concerned that altering mandatory minimum sentencing policies will strip law enforcement officers of a vital tool that is used to keep citizens safe.
The changes prescribed in the Smarter Sentencing Act will negatively impact law enforcement and public safety. Mandatory minimums are correlated to the seriousness of the crime committed. Individuals are less likely to commit crimes when they know they are subject to increased sentences. The fact that the crime rate is at the lowest level seen in decades illustrates the fact that mandatory minimums are effective.
Furthermore, law enforcement officers routinely use mandatory minimums as leverage to encourage suspects to cooperate during investigations. This tool has led to taking armed and dangerous criminals off of the streets before they can do anymore harm.
Weakening mandatory minimum sentencing policies will put dangerous criminals back on the streets, inhibit the ability of law enforcement officers to complete their missions, and negatively impact public safety.
This week, NAPO is scheduled to join fellow law enforcement groups in meetings with key Senators to express the above concerns. NAPO will keep our members updated on the status of this issue.
NAPO Demands Opportunity to Comment on Officer-Worn Body Cameras
Last week, NAPO contacted Attorney General Holder to insist that rank-and-file members be given the same opportunity to provide input as management groups as the DOJ works to develop guidelines for officer-worn cameras.
Officers at thousands of law enforcement agencies are wearing body cameras to record their interactions with the public. NAPO strongly believes that rank-and-file officers should be involved as guidelines and policies are developed to govern the cameras’ use. Rank-and-file involvement will lead to more comprehensive guidelines on the cameras’ use, as the officers have a more complete understanding of how the cameras work in the field.
NAPO will continue to demand that our members be given an opportunity to comment on developing policies regarding officer-worn cameras. We will keep our members updated on the status of this initiative.
2014 Legislative Update and Capitol Hill Lobbying
May 13, 2014
Washington Marriott Marquis Hotel
Please join NAPO on May 13 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 113th Congress, and to receive handouts to use during Hill visits. While on Capitol Hill, be sure to stop by NAPO’s Congressional Luncheon in the Senate Caucus Room, where several Congressmen and Senators will be recognized for their continued support of Law Enforcement.
Schedule of Events
NAPO Legislative Update Breakfast - Marriott Marquis Hotel - 9:00a.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Capitol Hill Visits - Capitol Hill - 10:30 a.m. –12:00 p.m.
NAPO Congressional Awards Luncheon - Cannon Caucus Room/Cannon House Office Building
12:00p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Capitol Hill Visits - Capitol Hill -1:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
For assistance setting up your Capitol Hill appointments, please contact Melissa Nee, NAPO’s Legislative Assistant, at (703) 549-0774 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Registration Fee of $100.00 per person includes the Legislative Update Breakfast, Handouts, and Congressional Awards Luncheon. 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 Marriott Marquis Hotel. Room rates are $174 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.
fax to (703) 684-0515 by May 2.
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.