NAPO Responds to USA Today Article Regarding Police Accountability & NAPO Meetings on Capitol HillSeptember 2, 2014
NAPO WASHINGTON REPORT
NAPO Responds to USA Today Article Regarding Police Accountability
On August 27, 2014, NAPO’s Executive Director, Bill Johnson, responded to a USA Today column regarding police accountability. The inaccurate column, written by Professor Glenn Reynolds, is available at the following site: http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2014/08/25/police-militarization-accountability-review-military-equipment-swat-column/14576871/.
USA Today included Johnson’s comments in the August 28th edition of the publication. The full text of Johnson’s letter and the comments that were included in USA Today are attached to this report.
If you have any questions about NAPO’s response, please contact Bill Johnson at: email@example.com.
NAPO Meetings on Capitol Hill
Over the past week, NAPO has met with senior staffers for the following members of Congress: Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL), Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL), Congressman Randy Hultgren (R-IL), Congressman Brad Schneider (D-IL), and Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (D-IL). NAPO used the meetings to outline our top legislative priorities, which include the following initiatives:
Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) Grant Act: The BVP Grant Program 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.
Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Improvement and Reauthorization Act: This bill would reauthorize the COPS Program for five years and raise the current hiring cap from $75,000 to $125,000. The COPS Office has been extremely successful in implementing and carrying out its designated objectives. Since its creation, the COPS Office has assisted over 13,000 of the nation’s 18,000 jurisdictions with over $14 billion in funding to hire more than 125,000 additional officers. Reauthorizing this program will allow for the continuation of a highly successful program that keeps our communities safe.
Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Act (JMHCA): 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 citizens with mental health issues.
Social Security Fairness Act: This bill would strike the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO) formulas currently used to calculate Social Security benefits. Both formulas were enacted in the 1980s because Congress was concerned Social Security paid unintended benefits to workers who had spent most of their careers in “non-covered” jobs. However, the formulas go too far and penalize workers with split careers who contributed a great deal to Social Security, but retire under their “non-covered” pensions. By significantly scaling back and reducing Social Security benefits for law enforcement officers and their survivors, as GPO and WEP do, officers and their families are provided much less protection against financial difficulties.
NAPO appreciated the opportunity to meet with each of the staffers, and looks forward to continuing to work with them in the future.
If you have any questions about any of the issues summarized above, please contact Melissa Nee at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NAPO Briefing on Capitol Hill - Driver’s Privacy Protection Act
On August 28, 2014, NAPO met with a senior staffer for Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) to discuss our proposal to modify the most recent amendment to the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA).
The DPPA requires state motor vehicle departments to receive permission from individuals before their personal motor vehicle record may be sold or released. The DPPA amendment authorizes a private right of action for knowing violations, and a court may award damages in the amount of $2,500 for each time a record was accessed, as well as attorney fees and other litigation costs. Law enforcement officers are subject to these stringent punishments, even if they did not review files with criminal intent.
NAPO briefed Senator Cornyn’s staff on this topic in July 2014. NAPO used last week’s meeting to follow-up on our proposed language modifications to the DPPA amendment, which include adding a clause that explains that penalties will be applied only if persons access information with the specific intent to secure an economic benefit. Also, NAPO proposes removing the $2,500 penalty for a violation of this act, as well as adding a statement that explains there must be repeated disregard of this law for action to be taken. If the language is not modified, law enforcement officers will be subject to large fines, and even the loss of their licenses for de minimus actions.
Senator Cornyn’s staff was very receptive to our proposal. We plan to use the coming weeks to provide additional information to the Senator’s staff, and will keep our members updated on the status of this initiative.
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