Legislative UpdatesMay 19, 2014
NAPO Honors Members of Congress at Legislative Luncheon
NAPO hosted a Congressional Luncheon on Capitol Hill on May 13, 2014 to honor members of Congress who have been supportive of the law enforcement community. NAPO was most appreciative that Senator Al Franken (D-MN) attended the luncheon to receive his award.
Since joining the Senate, Senator Franken has strongly supported legislation to help the law enforcement community. For example, he authored the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Act, which would address the mental health crisis in our justice system, and he’s backed several bills to help keep police officers safe.
“Law enforcement is the first line in keeping our communities safe,” said Senator Franken. “And we need to be doing everything we can to ensure that law enforcement officers get to go home to their families at night. I’m honored to accept this award from the National Association of Police Organizations, and I look forward to continuing our work to help law enforcement in Minnesota and across the country.”
Senator Franken has also supported legislation to provide state and local governments with additional funding to purchase body armor for law enforcement. He’s also worked to establish a national “Blue Alert” system—similar to Amber and Silver Alerts—to help catch suspects who have killed or injured police officers.
In addition to honoring Senator Franken, NAPO recognized the following members of Congress and Congressional staffers for their unyielding work to support America’s law enforcement community: Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) (see below), Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), Congressman Jon Runyan (R-NJ), Mr. Russell Coleman (Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-NY) Senior Advisor), Ms. Dimple Gupta (Senator Patrick Toomey’s (R-PA) Counsel), Mr. Ian McTiernan (Congressman Pascrell’s Legislative Correspondent), and Ms. Zephranie Buetow (Senator Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) Counsel).
NAPO looks forward to working with the aforementioned members of Congress and Congressional staffers to ensure our priorities remain at the top of the Congressional agenda.
The award ceremony was followed by remarks from COPS Office Director Ron Davis. NAPO has a strong relationship with the COPS Office, and we have already had several opportunities to discuss NAPO’s priorities with Director Davis. NAPO members appreciated the Director’s insight. We look forward to continuing to work with the Director and his talented staff.
"Al Franken | Senator for Minnesota." Sen. Franken Receives Award for Work on Behalf of Law Enforcement. N.p., 13 May 2014. Web. 16 May 2014.
NAPO Presents Award to Senator Cornyn for Support of Law Enforcement
On May 13, 2014, NAPO presented an award to Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) to honor him for his outstanding support of the law enforcement community. NAPO’s Executive Director, Bill Johnson, and our member groups, the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas and the Postal Police Officers’ Association presented Senator Cornyn with the award in the Senator’s Capitol office. During the meeting, NAPO recognized the Senator’s work on the Line of Duty Act, human-trafficking prevention legislation, and legislation like the Justice for All Reauthorization Act to support the use of forensic science testing in investigations.
NAPO looks forward to continuing to work with Senator Cornyn and his staff on these important initiatives.
"United States Senator John Cornyn, Texas." In The News. N.p., 16 May 2014. Web. 16 May 2014.
Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act
As reported in previous Washington Reports, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (H.R. 3530), as amended, recently passed unanimously out of the House Judiciary Committee. The bill will be considered on the House floor on May 20th, along with four other anti-trafficking bills. NAPO has worked closely with the bill’s sponsor, Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX), on this legislation, which:
- Repurposes and reauthorizes a grant program to create a victim-centered model block grant to help states and local governments develop and implement comprehensive victim-centered programs to train law enforcement to rescue victims, prosecute human traffickers, and restore the lives of victims.
- Allows state and local human trafficking task forces to obtain wiretap warrants within their own state courts without federal approval in order to investigate crimes of child pornography, child sexual exploitation, and human trafficking.
- Requires law enforcement to upload available photos of missing children into the National Criminal Information Center database and to notify the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children of any child reported missing from a foster care family home or childcare institution.
- Reduces demand for human trafficking by clarifying current law and encouraging police, prosecutors, judges, and juries to target and punish persons who purchase illicit sexual activities from trafficking victims as human traffickers, rather than petty criminals.
- Reduces affirmative defenses for persons who exploit children through interstate prostitution—requiring them to show by clear and convincing evidence, rather than a preponderance of the evidence (current law), that they believed the child to be an adult.
- Reauthorizes the Victims of Child Abuse Act to provide funding to support regional and local Child Advocacy Centers (CACs), which offer a multi-disciplinary response to child abuse.
- Increases the obligation cap for the Justice Department’s Crime Victims Fund, financed by criminal fines in order to provide services and support for victims of crime.
NAPO will keep our members updated on the status of this important piece of legislation. If you have any questions about this bill, please contact Melissa Nee at: email@example.com.
Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program Reauthorization Act & National Blue Alert Act
On May 14, 2014, NAPO attended a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing chaired by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), entitled, “The Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program: Supporting Law Enforcement Officers When it Matters Most.” NAPO has been a staunch advocate of the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program Reauthorization Act since it was introduced by Senator Leahy. This legislation reauthorizes the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program, a life-saving program whose charter expired in 2012.
During the hearing, both Chairman Leahy and Ranking Member Charles Grassley (R-IA) highlighted their support of the bill, which holds strong bipartisan support. The hearing also included testimony from Yousry Zakhary, Chief of the Woodway, Texas Police Department, who was saved by a bulletproof vest.
On May 6, 2014, Senator Leahy made a floor speech seeking unanimous consent to reauthorize the Bulletproof Vest Grant Program, in which he mentioned NAPO as a supporter of the bill. He continued this sentiment during the hearing, stressing that “For over 15 years, the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Program has been saving lives by helping to provide over one million vests to over 13,000 local law enforcement agencies. It is a critical program that I know every single law enforcement officer in the room today supports.”
Following the hearing, Senator Leahy again went to the Senate floor seeking unanimous consent to reauthorize the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program Reauthorization Act. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) also sought unanimous consent for the Senate to take up and pass the National Blue Alert Act, which is currently backed by a bipartisan group of more than two dozen Senators. The National Blue Alert Act would help to establish a nationwide network to alert law enforcement, the public, and the media about a suspect connected with the death or injury of a law enforcement officer. (Senator Cardin highlighted NAPO as a supporter of the bill during his floor speech). Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) objected to both requests.
NAPO plans to continue to aggressively pursue the passage of both of these bills, which are vital to the law enforcement community. Please contact your members of Congress today to ask them to support these vital pieces of legislation. If you have any questions, please contact Melissa Nee at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Peace Officers Memorial Day Resolution Passes Senate
On May 15, 2014, the Senate passed a resolution (S.Res.449) commemorating and honoring the dedication and sacrifice of the Federal, State, and local law enforcement officers who have been killed or injured in the line of duty. During his floor statement, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) noted:
“This week is National Police Week, a time when thousands of law enforcement officers come to our Nation’s
Capital, and we pause to honor the sacrifices of our men and women in law enforcement. On Tuesday night the
names of 286 officers killed in the line of duty were added to the walls of the National Law Enforcement
Officers Memorial, 101 of whom were lost in 2013. The memorial now contains the names of over 20,000
“This resolution pays tribute to those who have fallen, recognizing May 15, 2014, as “National Peace Officers
Memorial Day” and calling on the people of the United States to observe that day with solemnity, appreciation,
“I also urge the Senate to come together to honor law enforcement officers by supporting the passage of both S.933, the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program, and S. 357, the National Blue Alert Act. These bills are unanimously and strongly supported by law enforcement and passing these bills would provide tangible, life-saving assistance to those who serve on the front lines, protecting our communities.”
NAPO pledged our support for this resolution. Also, as noted above, NAPO plans to continue to aggressively pursue the passage of the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program Reauthorization Act and the National Blue Alert Act.
Congressman Keating Recognized Massachusetts TOP COPS
On May 13, 2014, Congressman William Keating (D-MA) recognized the twenty-one law enforcement officers from Massachusetts honored by NAPO during our 21st Annual TOP COPS Awards. During his floor statement, the Congressman noted:
“These brave officers have gone well beyond the call of duty in order to protect our citizens and keep us safe. I am proud to know that these officers are working to protect us and would like to express my gratitude for their service by presenting their names: Boston Police Department: Police Officer Omar Borges, Detective Kenneth M. Conley, Police Officer Gregory R. Eunis, Police Officer Jarrod Gero, Police Officer Jean Gerard JeanLouis, Detective John B. Joyce, Police Officer Terence Long, Police Officer Gregory McCormick, Police Officer Richard G. Moriarty, Police Officer John Moynihan, Police Officer John M. Noberini, Police Officer Jason A. Nuñez, Police Officer Scott Pulchansingh, Detective Joseph G. Scaringello, Police Officer Dennis O. Simmonds, Police Officer Walter J. Suprey, and Sergeant Detective Kevin E. Waggett. Massachusetts State Police: Trooper Christopher J. Dumont. Watertown Police Department: Police Officer Miguel A. Colon, Jr., Police Officer Michael W. Comick, Sergeant John C.P. MacLellan, Police Officer Timothy B. Menton, Sergeant Jeffrey J. Pugliese, Police Officer Joseph Reynolds, and Police Officer Jean S. Sarkissian.”
“Many of these officers were on duty during the Boston Marathon bombings last year, and the search for the perpetrators that followed the bombings. These courageous men embody the best ideals of our country, and have dedicated their lives to our security.”
“Mr. Speaker, it brings me great pride to recognize these officers and the incredible work they have done in the past year, and, indeed, every day. I urge my colleagues to join me in recognizing these officers and their role in protecting our citizens.”
Senator Klobuchar Recognizes NAPO as Supporter of Metal Theft Prevention Act
On May 12, 2014, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) spoke on the Senator floor in support of the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2014, and highlighted her support of the Metal Theft Prevention Act. During her speech, Senator Klobuchar outlined the tenets of the Metal Theft Prevention Act, which has been filed as an amendment to the energy efficiency bill. Senator Klobuchar recognized NAPO as a supporter of this bill.
The Metal Theft Prevention Act includes an amendment proposed by NAPO to ensure law enforcement officers are able to access information needed to solve metal theft cases. As it was originally written, the bill’s confidentiality provision would have hindered electronic reporting and criminal investigations. It also would have required law enforcement officers to acquire a court order to gain any information from metal recycling agents outside of their immediate jurisdictions or whenever a recycling agent questioned the officer’s authority. NAPO’s amendment remedies the concerns voiced by numerous law enforcement agencies across the country, and will allow law enforcement officers to access the information needed to solve their cases.
NAPO looks forward to continuing to work with Senator Klobuchar and her staff to ensure the legislation is passed. If you have any questions about the Metal Theft Prevention Act, please contact Melissa Nee at: email@example.com.
Please monitor NAPO’s website www.napo.org, and Facebook page: National Association of Police Organizations, and follow us on Twitter @NAPOpolice for breaking news and updates.