NAPO Washington Reports

NAPO Meets with Attorney General Regarding Relaunch of Project Safe Neighborhoods; NAPO Supports Reintroduction of National Collective Bargaining Bill; House Passes PROTECT Our Children Act; NAPO in the News

October 10, 2017

 

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TIME IS RUNNING OUT!
Join NAPO for Our Annual Fall Seminar:
"Navigating the New Union Environment"

 November 5 – 7, 2017
Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel 
Rosemont, Illinois 

Learn from experts in the field how to effectively advocate for officer safety, respond to Supreme Court legal threats to union dues, how to preserve & grow membership in the changing labor environment, and legislative updates and Trump Administration changes. 


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AND MAKE HOTEL RESERVATIONS BY OCTOBER 13!

 If you have any questions or need additional information please do not hesitate to contact NAPO’s Director of Events, Elizabeth Loranger, eloranger@napo.org or (703) 549-0775.

 

 

NAPO Meets with Attorney General Regarding
Relaunch of 
Project Safe Neighborhoods

NAPO’s Executive Director, Bill Johnson, participated in a roundtable discussion with Attorney General Jeff Sessions on October 5th, regarding the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) relaunching of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) as part of its strategy to help state and local law enforcement fight violent crime. PSN, a grant program launched in 2001 the through the Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), brings together federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to target violent gang and gun crimes in our communities. Also in attendance were Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as well as the directors and acting directors of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Marshals Service, several U.S. Attorneys and representatives from major national law enforcement organizations.

As part of the relaunch and the Department’s strategy to reduce local gun and gang crimes, the Attorney General announced that the Department would add 40 prosecutors to 20 of the country’s most troubled United States Attorney districts, with instructions for them to team with local law enforcement to target guns, illegal drugs and the most violent offenders. The Department also plans to fast-track the process for tracing guns that were used in shootings back to the original purchasers. 

One of the first recipients of the reinvigorated PSN effort is Suffolk County, New York, which was awarded $500 million to pay for targeted police patrols and school and community intervention programs to help its fight against the MS-13 gang.

During the meeting, the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General made clear that the core of the Department’s efforts to reduce violent crime is providing more resources and support to state and local law enforcement and ensuring those resources meet local needs.  NAPO has long called for the DOJ to refocus state and local law enforcement programs to better respond to state and local agencies’ needs. This includes programs like the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program and PSN. In recent years, we have seen the COPS Program take a top-down, Washington-knows-best approach and the PSN whither under an Administration that did not believe in this proven, crime-fighting program despite what local agencies were telling them. NAPO is glad that we now have a Justice Department which is taking significant steps to being a true partner to state and local law enforcement.

NAPO looks forward to continuing our work with the Department to ensure state and local law enforcement – particularly rank-and-file officers – have the support, resources and equipment needed to protect themselves and the communities they serve. If you have any questions about this meeting or the DOJ’s latest efforts to support law enforcement, please contact Bill Johnson at bjohnson@napo.org.

 

NAPO Supports Reintroduction of
National Collective Bargaining Bill

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court agreeing to take up the Janus v. AFSCME case, and as part of our effort to increase employee protections for law enforcement officers, NAPO is supporting the reintroduction of our Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act, which would extend basic collective bargaining rights to state and local public safety officers. [NAPO WILL HAVE THE ATTORNEY WORKING ON THIS CASE AT OUR NOVEMBER SEMINAR!!]

Janus v. AFSCME will potentially have a big impact on public sector unions and employee associations (including NAPO members) in those states which currently allow a “closed shop” collective bargaining unit.  In Janus, an employee in Illinois, who works in a position in a bargaining unit covered by a collective bargaining agreement recognizing AFSCME as the proper representative of all employees in that unit, has challenged the right of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) to collect “fair share” payments from non-union members who still work within the bargaining unit.  Such fees are common across the United States, and serve to help defray the costs which the union incurs in negotiating and administrating a contract that covers all unit workers, including those who have chosen not to join the union itself.  This practice has long been upheld by the courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court in a 1977 case known as Abood.  

In the current Janus case, Mr. Janus is asking the Supreme Court to overturn its previous opinion in Abood, and declare all “fair share” fee arrangements unconstitutional under the First Amendment.  If the Court agrees, and most observers think it will, “fair share” policies will be struck down all across the nation.  The Court has now said that it will hear this case, and although an exact date for arguments has not yet been set, it will most likely be this fall or winter.

The Supreme Court overturning its opinion in Abood would be a huge victory for right-to-work proponents.  While NAPO has several member organizations in right-to-work states such as Florida, Texas and Arizona that have been successful in maintaining and growing membership in such environments, NAPO has long believed all law enforcement officers should have the basic right to bargain collectively.  It is for this reason that we are supporting the reintroduction of the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act.

The Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act would:

  • Give public safety officers the right to form and join a union or association of their own choosing, if they wish to;
  • Give public safety officers the right to bargain over wages, hours, and working conditions;
  • Provide for binding interest arbitration;
  • Prohibit strikes and lockouts by public safety officers and agencies;
  • Protect current state laws, certifications, and collective bargaining agreements; and
  • Preserve legitimate management rights.

History shows that denying workers the right to bargain collectively causes poor morale, the waste of resources, unfair and inadequate working conditions, and low productivity. Ultimately, it is the public’s safety and security that is jeopardized by such poor working conditions. 

Further, as part of our efforts to increase employee protections for law enforcement, we continue to pursue the reintroduction of the Law Enforcement Officer’s Procedural Bills of Rights. This bill would establish standards to guide law enforcement agencies in developing and operating a fair and effective investigative process.  Individuals should have the right to file a complaint, to have the complaint investigated, and to be informed of its final disposition, including learning the outcome of the investigation and any resulting disciplinary action. 

NAPO is working to protect the rights of our members with Congress, the Administration and the Supreme Court. If you have any questions about the bills mentioned above, please contact Andy Edmiston at aedmiston@napo.org. If you have any questions about Janus v. AFSCME, contact Bill Johnson at bjohnson@napo.org.

 

House Passes PROTECT Our Children Act

In a victory for NAPO, the House passed the Providing Resources, Officers, and Technology to Eradicate Cyber Threats to (PROTECT) Our Children Act of 2017 (S. 782) on October 3rd. NAPO worked to get the House Judiciary Committee, which had been holding the PROTECT Our Children Act, to discharge the bill so that the House could vote on it. It passed the House by a vote of 417-3.  The House made a minor amendment to the bill, so it must go back to the Senate for final passage before it can become law.

This legislation, sponsored by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), reauthorizes the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program, which is a national network ​of 61 coordinated task forces representing over 3,500 federal, state, and local law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies. These agencies are continually engaged in proactive and reactive investigations and prosecutions of persons involved in child abuse and exploitation involving the internet.

Additionally, these task forces provide forensic and investigative technical assistance to law enforcement and prosecutors as well as provide community education information to parents, educators, prosecutors, law enforcement, and others concerned with child exploitation.

NAPO thanks Senators Cornyn and Blumenthal and Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz for their leadership on this important legislation and we look forward to working with them to see quick passage of the bill by the Senate and the bill becoming law.

 

NAPO in the News

On October 8, NAPO Executive Director Bill Johnson was quoted in a Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette article entitled, “Area police ramp up recruitment efforts”. The article discussed the decline in applications and a shortage of officers police departments in Northwest Arkansas are experiencing. It goes on to explore the possible reasoning behind the fall in qualified applicants and interviewed Johnson for a national perspective on the recruitment and retention issues departments are facing:

“Negative association with the job attributed to a decline in applicants and even of those who stayed on the force, said Bill Johnson, spokesman for the National Association of Police Organizations. The cultural shift affected departments large and small across the country. No region was unaffected or notably less impacted, he said.

“‘It’s never been a high-paying job, but it had respect and prestige,’ Johnson said. ‘Now, police officers are telling their own children to look for something else.’

“Elected officials — from a city mayor to the highest positions of federal government — are not as supportive as they once were, Johnson said, because criticizing police gets votes now.

“‘There are certainly officers that shouldn’t be officers, just like there are teachers who shouldn’t be teachers and clergy who shouldn’t be clergy,’ he said. ‘But most officers are average men and women trying to do a difficult job. It’s also pretty dangerous. God forbid if you have to use force on the job. You are going to be judged more harshly or suspiciously than you may once have.’

“The number of applicants dropped as much as 90 percent in some cities across the United States in 2015, and many still struggle to fill positions, according to several national reports. However, Johnson said he thinks the country is a little past the low point of public opinion, at least for now.

“‘It really does run the gamut,’ he said. ‘After Sept. 11, the country was extraordinarily supportive. By the same token, the amount of public criticism was unusually high and brutal after these shootings. It seems we are getting back to average among the public, but still critical with politicians.’

The full article is available at: http://www.nwaonline.com/news/2017/oct/08/area-police-ramp-recruitment-efforts/?news

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: bjohnson@napo.org.

 

NAPO Attends Retirement (In)Security Summit

On October 2nd, NAPO attended the Center for State and Local Government Excellence’s (SLGE) Retirement (In)Security Summit, which brought together leaders in public pension and retirement to discuss how state and local governments are tackling retirement preparedness and workforce challenges. At the Summit we heard from researchers, retirees, retirement and benefit organizations and plan directors on retiree health benefit strategies, economic challenges facing retirees, the role of retirement benefits in recruiting and retaining public employees, and changes to state and local government retirement plans being made across the country.

Many of the attendees of the summit were NAPO’s partners in the Public Pension Network, a coalition that works closely together to protect public pension plans, reform the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), oppose mandatory Social Security, and fight against the unfair consequences of the imposition of the excise (“Cadillac”) tax on employees’ healthcare benefits.

Protecting and preserving public pension plans is a top priority for NAPO. During this Congress, particularly during the tax reform debate, there will be a tremendous amount of political pressure to reform public pensions and NAPO will continue to be a staunch defender of the value of pension plans to the retirement security of hundreds of thousands of public safety officers across the country.  Attending summits such as SLGE’s Retirement (In)Security Summit is just one way NAPO works to stay on top of national pension issues.

 

PLEASE HELP OUR BROTHER AND SISTER OFFICERS
AFFECTED BY HURRICANES HARVEY & IRMA

Thank you to all our member groups, individual members, supporters and sponsors
 
who have already donated to NAPO’s Relief Fund!

The requests for relief checks are flowing in. Many, many officers in Texas, and now South Florida, have lost everything due to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Attached please find a donation form that you can fill in and submit. Several of our groups have reposted it to their own members and we ask that other groups please do the same. The form is also up on our Facebook site and webpage (www.napo.org) and we have a direct donations link for our Relief Fund up and running on our website. 

Here is the link to make donations:  http://www.napo.org/about/how-support-law-enforcement/napo-relief-fund-hurricane-harvey-assistance/ 

We will repeat our requests for contributions to our Relief Fund as long as needed. 

100 percent of donations will be used to provide direct financial relief to the officers affected.  We will rely on the local unions and associations to confirm the damage and losses and will immediately cut checks to the officers.  

Thank you for your support and generosity for all our brother and sister officers and their families affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.