NAPO Washington Reports

NAPO in the News; ECPA; New Priorities; Slain Officer Family Support Act of 2015; Fallen Heroes Flag Act; President’s FY 2016 Budget Request & Sponsor/Cosponsor Spreadsheet

February 10, 2015

NAPO in the News 

Last week, NAPO’s Executive Director, Bill Johnson, was quoted in a Washington Post article regarding police accountability measures.  When asked about body cameras, Johnson explained that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle support body camera legislation, but that other proposals raise concerns of overreaction:

“Some politicians certainly reacted, in our view, more to the violent protests than they did to the grand jury findings [in Ferguson and Staten Island]. We found that lamentable….Most of what we’ve seen, from our view, is not a constructive reaction.”

NAPO will continue to advocate for the rights of law enforcement officers across the nation.  If you have any questions about our efforts, please contact Bill Johnson at:  bjohnson@napo.org 

Electronic Communications Privacy Act  

On February 4, 2015, the “Electronic Communications Privacy Amendments Act of 2015” (ECPA) was reintroduced in the Senate by Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT).  Congressmen Jared Polis (D-CO) and Kevin Yoder (R-KS) sponsored the House version of the bill. 

As noted in previous Washington Reports, this legislation is intended to bring outdated Federal electronic privacy laws into the digital age. The bill makes changes to ECPA to establish a search warrant requirement for the government to obtain Americans’ e-mails and other electronic communications from third-party service providers.

NAPO will continue to voice strong opposition to this legislation.  NAPO is very concerned that the legislation adds unnecessary warrant requirements.  Warrants take much longer to secure as compared with the current practice of officers obtaining a court order.  This is of particular concern in time critical cases, such as active kidnapping or child abduction cases.  Moreover, warrants require an affidavit, which generally becomes public.  These documents have the potential to expose law enforcement and informant identities and methods.

There are effective law enforcement policies and procedures already in place on these issues at the state and local level.  The warrant requirement included in this legislation would present a huge obstacle to legitimate law enforcement needs.  Furthermore, NAPO does not feel that a one-size fits all approach is appropriate for these matters.

NAPO will continue to express these concerns to members of Congress, and we will keep our members updated on the status of this legislation.  If you have any questions about this legislation, please contact Bill Johnson at:  bjohnson@napo.org.

New Priorities 

As we continue to pursue legislation to benefit our members, we have been engaging senior staffers and looking for legislative vehicles for our new priorities.  For example, we have discussed legislative vehicles to review federal jurisdiction for the prosecution of those who assault, injure, or kill police officers, with senior staffers in the Senate.  Right now, any officer is subject to federal prosecution under the Criminal Civil Rights Statute, 18 USC Section 242.  We strongly believe that same officer should enjoy the protection of federal prosecution if he/she is assaulted on the job.

We also anticipate legislation regarding sentencing reform to be reintroduced shortly in both chambers of Congress.  As this legislation is reintroduced, NAPO plans to lobby the U.S. Sentencing Commission and Congress on the application of “firearm enhancement” sentencing guidelines, to clarify that these enhancements should not automatically apply when a law enforcement officer is prosecuted and he/she is routinely carrying his/her duty weapon.

Additionally, NAPO continues to actively work on improvements to PSOB legislation.  During this Congress, NAPO will work to incentivize the PSOB death benefit program, so that if an officer loses his/her life in the line of duty, the benefit amount to the survivor would be increased by $25,000 if the officer was wearing his/her seatbelt/body armor, instead of the current system where there is a risk of complete denial of benefits to survivors if an officer was not wearing his/her seatbelt/body armor.

NAPO will continue to keep our members updated on our efforts on Capitol Hill.  If you have any questions, please contact Melissa Nee at:  mnee@napo.org.

NAPO Supports “Slain Officer Family Support Act of 2015” 

Last week, NAPO pledged our support for the “Slain Officer Family Support Act of 2015,” which was introduced by Congressmen Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Peter King (R-NY).  This legislation would extend the tax deadline so that individuals making charitable donations for the families of assassinated New York Police Department Detectives Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos can apply such tax deductions to their 2014 tax return. The legislation would be effective retroactively from January 1, 2015.

As we continue to mourn the loss of these officers, we want to ensure the families of these heroes receive as much support as possible.  This legislation will ensure continued assistance to these families. 

NAPO looks forward to working with Congressmen Jeffries and King to pass this important bill.  If you have any questions about this legislation, please contact Melissa Nee at:  mnee@napo.org. 

NAPO Supports “Fallen Heroes Flag Act”

Last week, NAPO pledged our support for the “Fallen Heroes Flag Act,” sponsored by Congressman Peter King (R-NY).   This bill would allow members of Congress to honor a deceased firefighter, law enforcement officer, member of rescue squad or ambulance crew, or public safety officer who died in the line of duty by providing to the family, at their request, a Capitol-flown flag.  This flag would be accompanied by a certificate expressing a message of sympathy, signed by the Speaker of the House and the Representative providing the flag.  (The Fallen Heroes Flag Act passed on a voice vote in the 111th Congress).

We look forward to working with Congressman King to pass this bill, which 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.

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

NAPO Attends OJP Briefing on

President’s FY 2016 Budget Request

On February 3, 2015, NAPO attended a budget briefing on the President’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget request, hosted by the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of Justice Programs (OJP).

Leader’s from the Department’s COPS Office, Office on Violence Against Women, and Justice Management Division briefed stakeholders on the budget request, which includes the following:

DOJ Budget:

  • DOJ’s 2016 Budget Request totals $28.7 billion. 

    • This includes $1.3+ billion in increases (+4.8%) above the comparable FY 2015 enacted level.

COPS Program:

  • The request for the COPS Program totals $303.5 million, which is $95.5 million above the FY 2015 enacted level.  Additional details are as follows:

    •  $69.5 million increase for the COPS Hiring Program, for a total of $249.5 million.
      • Funds approximately 1,300 officers

      • $15.0 million will be dedicated specifically towards the hiring of tribal law enforcement officers.

    • $20.0 million for Community Policing Development (CPD) activities.

      • This is an increase of $12.5 million from the FY 2015 enacted level.

    • $5.0 million for incentive grants to improve diversity in law enforcement.

    • $20.0 million to establish the Collaborative Reform Program as a standalone program and increase its funding by $15.0 million.

    • $3.0 million in new funding to further advance the use of community policing strategies to counter violent extremism.

    • $35.0 million in total funding for tribal law enforcement.

Office of Justice Programs:

  • The request for the Office of Justice Programs totals $2.7 billion, including $1.6 billion in discretionary grant programs and $1.1 billion in mandatory grant programs.  The request includes a $30.0 million increase in discretionary funding.  Details are below:

    • $77.0 million in support of the Administration’s Community Policing Initiative (CPI)

      • This will support innovative “smart” policing efforts, body worn cameras for law enforcement, and efforts to build trust and promote engagement between communities and the criminal justice system.  This includes $30.0 million for a new Body Worn Camera Partnership Program that would provide a 50% match to states/localities who purchase body worn cameras and requisite storage. 

    • $12.0 million above the FY 2015 enacted level for Byrne JAG Grants.  (The FY 2015 enacted level for this program is $376.0 million).  Details are below:
      • $2.0  million for Countering Violent Extremism Training

      • $2.0 million for State and Local Anti-Terrorism Training (SLATT)

      • $2.0 million for State and Local Assistance Help Desk and Diagnostic Center

      • $15.0 million to support the VALOR Initiative

      • $20.0 million for Smart Policing Initiatives, including for a body worn camera demonstration initiative

      • $5.0 million for Smart Prosecution Initiatives

      • $22.5 million for the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Program

    • $5.5 million increase for the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP), for a total of $14.0 million

    • $87.9 million for juvenile justice programs

    • The Budget request includes mandatory grants of $1 billion for the Crime Victims Fund and $100 million for Public Safety Officers’ Death Benefits (PSOB).

      • The Budget also requests $16.3 million for discretionary PSOB programs, Disability Benefits, and Educational Assistance Benefits. 

      • The increase requested for the Death Benefits Program (an increase of $29.0 million above the FY 2015 enacted level) is needed to address program costs that are growing rapidly due to inflation adjustments mandated by statute, the expansion of the PSOB program to cover new groups of public safety officers, and statutory requirements that provide benefits in cases where deaths did not occur directly in the line of duty, but were the result of duty-related “injuries,” such as heart attacks and strokes.  Additionally, this funding will help OJP address the growing number of PSOB death benefits claims filed on behalf of police officers, firefighters, and other first responders whose deaths resulted from participations in response, recovery, and clean-up efforts related to the September 11th terrorist attacks. 

NAPO will continue to engage the Administration and members of Congress to ensure our priorities remain at the top of the agenda.  If you have any questions about the President’s FY 2016 Budget Request, please contact Melissa Nee at: mnee@napo.org.

NAPO Participates in DHS Teleconference on

President’s FY 2016 Budget Request

Last week, NAPO participated in a conference call on the President’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Conference leaders noted that the President’s Budget proposes $41.2 billion in discretionary funding for DHS, which is aligned to the department’s five primary missions:

  • ·         Prevent terrorism and enhance security: Protecting the American people by safeguarding critical infrastructure, and implementing layered security on land, in the air, and at sea. 

 

  • ·         Secure and manage our borders: Including historic levels of front-line personnel, technology, and infrastructure to reduce the flow of illegal immigrants and illicit contraband, while fostering legitimate trade and travel.

 

  • ·         Enforce and administer our immigration laws: Providing safe, secure, and humane detention of removable aliens who are held in government custody because they present a risk of flight, a risk to public safety, or are subject to mandatory detention. 

 

  • ·         Safeguard and secure cyberspace: Protecting our national and economic security.  The Budget invests in both people and technology to disrupt cyber crimes while strengthening Federal network defenses.

 

  • ·         Strengthen national preparedness and resilience: Building a ready and resilient Nation, with the ability to plan, prepare for, and respond to disasters.

For additional information, see this fact sheetand the fullDHS FY 2016 Budget Request.

NAPO will continue to engage the Administration and members of Congress to ensure our priorities remain at the top of the agenda.  If you have any questions about the President’s FY 2016 Budget Request, please contact Melissa Nee at: mnee@napo.org.

NAPO’s Sponsor/Cosponsor Spreadsheet

NAPO’s “Sponsor/Cosponsor” spreadsheet is available at the following link:  http://www.napo.org/washington-report/sponsor-cosponsor-spreadsheet/.  The spreadsheet accompanies the latest “Legislative Positions” document, which is available at the following link:  http://www.napo.org/files/6114/2290/0684/Legislative_Positions_-_114th_Congress.pdf.  

The “Sponsor/Cosponsor” spreadsheet is a useful tool to check if your members of Congress have supported pieces of legislation that will impact our members.  NAPO will update this spreadsheet regularly, and continue to ensure our voice is heard on Capitol Hill.

If you have any questions about any of the legislation that NAPO is currently working, please contact Melissa Nee at:  mnee@napo.org.

 

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.