NAPO Washington Reports

Meeting with COPS Office Director, Support for the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, DOJ Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, Regulation Regarding Federal Firearms, and Law Enforcement Fatalities at Lowest Level

January 13, 2014


NAPO Participates in Meeting with COPS Office Director 

NAPO participated in a meeting with Community Oriented Police Services (COPS) Office Director Ron Davis and his staff on January 6, 2014.  Director Davis opened the session with brief remarks on the COPS Office’s top priorities for Fiscal Year 2014, which include: utilizing community policing to keep our country safe; using community policing to build trust within communities; reviewing how to build community policing for the future; and discussing ways to invest in future field leaders.  Director Davis stressed the importance of making the field aware of the resources that are available.   

Additionally, the COPS Office staff reviewed FY 2013’s programs, including the success of the COPS Hiring Program.  (263 law enforcement agencies received awards).  The staff also discussed the outlook for Fiscal Year 2014 COPS grants.  The Senate spending bill closely mirrors the President’s Budget Request ($439.5 million), but the starting number in the House is $0.  NAPO will continue to engage members of Congress to ensure COPS funding is a top priority.  NAPO will provide our members with updates on the status of the spending bill in the coming weeks. 

The COPS Office also noted the importance of reauthorizing the program.  NAPO continues to make passing the COPS Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2013 a top legislative priority.  We have discussed the importance of this legislation with the bill’s sponsor, Congressman Dave Reichert (R-WA), and his staff on numerous occasions, and we are committed to ensuring the passage of the bill. 

NAPO’s Executive Director, Bill Johnson, will discuss these issues further when Director Davis visits NAPO on January 28, 2014. 

NAPO Supports the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act 

NAPO has pledged our support for the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (S.1738/H.R.3530), which was introduced in the Senate by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and in the House by Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY).  This legislation will:    

  • Create a “Domestic Trafficking Victims’ Fund” within the Treasury, which the Attorney General can use to fund victims’ support programs for victims of human trafficking and child pornography.  This fund is deficit neutral and financed through fines on persons convicted of child pornography, human trafficking, child prostitution, sexual exploitation, and human smuggling offenses.  This fund will increase the federal resources available for domestic human trafficking victim support by up to $30 million per year.
  • Allow American citizens and lawful permanent residents who are victims of human trafficking to obtain official recognition of their status from the Department of Health and Human Services.  Currently, only non-citizens are eligible for obtaining an official certification-creating confusion and limiting the amount and quality of services available for domestic human trafficking victims.
  • 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 traffickers, and restore the lives of victims.  This grant program will be funded entirely through the “Domestic Trafficking Victims’ Fund” created by the bill.
  • Increase the availability of restitution and witness assistance for trafficking victims by allowing all property involved in a human trafficking offense to be forfeited to the government, while allowing the Attorney General to use the Asset Forfeiture Fund to compensate victims who provide information or act as witnesses.
  • Allow 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.
  • Improve the federal racketeering statute by allowing law enforcement to prosecute any person or entity that knowingly assists an organized crime enterprise in committing two or more acts of human trafficking.  Current racketeering law only allows for prosecution of a person who participates in the “operation” or “management” of a criminal enterprise, not persons who provide material support from outside the enterprises’ management hierarchy.
  • Require regular reporting on the number of human trafficking crimes by making human trafficking a Part I offense for purposes of the Uniform Crime Reporting Program.  This requires law enforcement to upload available photos of missing individuals 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.
  • Reduce 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.
  • Increase the maximum penalties for human trafficking-related offenses, including:  (1) enticement into slavery; (2) possession of slaves aboard vessels; (3) obstruction of a human trafficking investigation; and (4) repeat child exploitation and trafficking offenders.  This will clarify the sex tourism statute so that law enforcement no longer has to prove that the sexual exploitation of a minor was the sole or dominant reason for travel involving sex tourism.
  • Reduce 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. 

If you have any questions about this legislation, please contact Melissa Nee at:  mnee@napo.org. 

Source: 

United States. Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act: Summary of S.1738/H.R. 3530. 113th Cong., 1st sess. Cong. Bill. Print.

 

NAPO Opposes Nomination for DOJ Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division

On January 8, 2014, NAPO sent a letter to President Obama regarding our strong opposition to the nomination of Debo Adegbile to be the next Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice.  NAPO is deeply concerned that under Mr. Adegbile’s leadership, the Legal Defense Fund of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People volunteered their services to defend Mumia Abu-Jamal, a convicted cop-killer.  Abu-Jamal was convicted of murdering Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner in 1982. Mr. Adegbile worked tirelessly to free this unrepentant cop-killer. The nominee’s efforts led to the overturning of the just sentence Abu-Jamal received for murdering a valuable member of the law enforcement community.  NAPO’s letter can be found at the following site: http://www.napo.org/washington-report/latest-news-updates/napo-opposes-debo-adegbile-nomination/

 

We urge our member groups to write the two senior senators in charge of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-IA).  Also please consider writing your two United States senators on this as well, because the Senate must vote on this nomination before it can take effect. 


 DOJ Proposes Regulation Regarding Federal Firearms Prohibitors

On January 3, 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it is proposing a regulation that will clarify who, due to mental health reasons, is prohibited under federal law from receiving, possessing, shipping, or transporting firearms. In addition to providing general guidance on the federal law, this clarification will help states determine what information may be appropriately shared with the federal background check system for firearms transfers – the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) – in order to keep guns out of the hands of individuals who may be a danger to themselves or others. 

In May 2013, NAPO participated in a DOJ meeting on federal firearms prohibitors.  At that time, DOJ was reviewing the firearms prohibitors enumerated in Sections 922(g) and 922(n) of Title 18, United States Code.  These prohibitors make it unlawful for ten categories of persons (“prohibited persons”) to ship, transport, receive, or possess firearms or ammunition.   

During the session, NAPO expressed our support of better and more accurate background checks to keep weapons out of the wrong hands, as well as efforts to improve access to mental healthcare.  NAPO also stated our support of the King-Thompson Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act (H.R. 1565), which includes the following:

  • Proposals to enhance the current background check system to ensure that criminals and the mentally ill are not able to purchase firearms
  • Proposals to ensure that anyone buying a gun at a gun show or online undergoes a background check by a licensed dealer
  • Efforts to ensure that individuals who should be prohibited from buying a gun are listed in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System

NAPO will provide our members with updates on the status of DOJ’s proposed regulation as it moves forward.  If you have any questions, please contact Melissa Nee at:  mnee@napo.org.

  Source:

 "USDOJ: Department of Justice Takes Steps to Strengthen Federal Background Check System for Firearms Transfers."

USDOJ: Department of Justice Takes Steps to Strengthen Federal Background Check System for Firearms

Transfers. N.p., 3 Jan. 2014. Web. 10 Jan. 2014. 

 Law Enforcement Fatalities Dip to Lowest Level in Six Decades

Law enforcement officer fatalities dropped for the second year in a row to the lowest level in six decades and the number of officers killed in firearms-related incidents this year was the fewest since the 1800s, according to preliminary data compiled and released on December 30, 2013 in an annual research bulletin published by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF).

According to the report, 111 federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial officers were killed in the line of duty nationwide in 2013.  This was the fewest number of fatalities for the law enforcement profession since 1959 when 110 officers died.  This year’s total was eight percent fewer than 2012 when 121 officers made the ultimate sacrifice.

Just two years ago, officer fatalities spiked to 169, which led to a number of new initiatives aimed at promoting law enforcement safety.  Among them were:  an increasing number of agencies requiring officers to wear bullet-resistant vests; the formation of the National Officer Safety and Wellness Group by the U.S. Department of Justice; and the VALOR program launched by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to provide training to help prevent violence against officers and to help officers survive violent encounters when they do occur.  Since 2011, all categories of officer fatalities have dropped by 34 percent and firearms-related deaths have declined by 54 percent.

The statistics released by the NLEOMF are based on preliminary data compiled and do not represent a final or complete list of individual officers who will be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in 2014.

NAPO continues to work on key legislation to keep our officers safe, including expending maximum effort to pass the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Act of 2013 and the National Blue Alert Act of 2013.  We will continue to provide our members with regular updates on the progress of these initiatives.

Source:

"Law Enforcement Fatalities Dip to Lowest Level in Six Decades." National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund:. N.p., 30 Dec. 2014. Web. 10 Jan. 2014.

  

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE 

YOUR NOMINATIONS MAKE THE DIFFERENCE FOR TOP COPS®  

This year will mark the 21st year NAPO has produced the TOP COPS Awards®.  The ceremony will take place on Monday, May 12, 2014, again coinciding with Police Week.  Over the next few months I will be asking for your assistance in three major areas in which you, our members, can help to ensure the success of TOP COPS®:  nominations, sponsorships, and show attendance.  Today, I want to ask for your assistance with the first and most fundamental component, nominations. 

TOP COPS® is unique in that it is a peer nominated award.  However, one of the greatest struggles we have faced in the past is getting the nomination form out to officers nationwide.  I am asking you to assist us in making this happen.  It is our goal this year to see all 50 states represented with a nomineeWhile we appreciate and welcome nominations from the executive level, we would really like to see the nomination form circulated among your members. 

The nomination form can be downloaded from the NAPO website, www.napo.org, and if need be, we would also be happy to email you the form.  Just send us an email to info@napo.org with your request.  Please feel free to duplicate and post it anywhere you feel it is appropriate.  We would especially like to see forms posted in association offices and departments with the hope that your members will feel inclined to nominate the great cases/officers they have come into contact with over the past year.  I would also like to ask you to consider including the nomination form, on your website, or as a hand out at your next meeting.   

If you have other thoughts or ideas as to how to get the word out about this most worthwhile event, please let us know.  With your help and partnership, I know that TOP COPS® will be a tremendous success