NAPO Washington Reports

NAPO’s Executive Director Interviewed by Wall Street Journal, Legislative Positions and Co-Sponsor Updates

December 30, 2013

NAPO’s Executive Director Interviewed by Wall Street Journal

On December 19, 2013, NAPO’s Executive Director, Bill Johnson, gave an interview with a Wall Street Journal senior producer on Smartphone breathalyzers.  The WSJ piece, which includes Johnson’s comments, can be found at the following link: 

During the interview, Johnson cautioned:  “I think these devices would be dangerously misleading to a drinking driver because staying below a numeric limit doesn’t exempt you from being charged with a DUI.”  Johnson furthered that driving with a blood alcohol level above the limit is only one of the ways to get charged and convicted of a DUI, as an individual can be charged if an officer observes such behaviors as slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, or erratic driving. 

If you would like additional information on the interview, please contact Bill Johnson at:


 Attached please find NAPO’s updated “Legislative Positions” document for your review. The table denotes all status updates in yellow. Also attached is the updated sponsor/cosponsor list for the major pieces of legislation NAPO is currently tracking in the House and the Senate.  


 As you will see, since the “Legislative Positions” document was last updated in November 2013, NAPO has pledged its support for the Victims of Child Abuse Reauthorization Act of 2013. This bill reauthorizes the Victims of Child Abuse Act, which provides funding for Children’s Advocacy Centers that serve child victims of violent crimes and help law enforcement hold perpetrators accountable.      

Additionally, NAPO has been recognized for our support of the National Silver Alert Act of 2013, which creates a nationwide network for locating missing adults and seniors.  The legislation creates a federal program modeled after the AMBER Alert and provides federal coordination and assistance to local and state law enforcement agencies. 

If you have any questions about any of the legislation NAPO is currently tracking, please contact Melissa Nee at: 

Senator Leahy’s Floor Speech on the First Session of the 113th Congress

 On December 20, 2013, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, provided a statement on the first session of the 113th Congress.  Senator Leahy highlighted many of NAPO’s top priorities, including:  the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program Reauthorization Act, the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Act, the National Blue Alert Act, the Justice for All Reauthorization Act, and the Second Chance Reauthorization Act. 

NAPO looks forward to working with Senator Leahy and his staff to ensure the aforementioned legislation is passed during the second session of the 113th Congress.


The following includes excerpts of Senator Leahy’s speech:

 It is my hope that both parties can set aside petty politics and get down to business for the American people. We do not agree on everything, but just as the Senate found common ground earlier this year on historic legislation to reform our broken immigration system, we must find a way to work together. The status quo is unacceptable and serves a small and extreme minority, not the common interests of a majority of Americans. Let’s make the sacrifices and compromises necessary to push forward legislation that improves our economy and the lives of our constituents.


Similarly, I urge all Senators to allow passage of several common sense bills that were reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee and which enjoy strong bipartisan support but remain stalled due to the ideological objections of one or two Senators.

For example, this is now the second time in two Congresses that the Judiciary Committee has reported the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Act reauthorization with strong bipartisan support. In the 111th Congress, we held a hearing to examine a series of recommendations from the Government Accountability Office. I worked with Senator Grassley to incorporate many of those recommendations into the reauthorization. Yet our progress is needlessly stalled.

Statistics show that the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Program has been saving lives for years. The Judiciary Committee most recently reported this legislation on a bipartisan vote in August, and it has since been approved by all Democratic Senators but remains stalled on the Republican side. Over 15 years ago, I worked with Senator Ben Nighthorse-Campbell to create this partnership to support State and local law enforcement jurisdictions in the purchase of lifesaving bulletproof vests. Since that time, over 13,000 jurisdictions have participated in this program and more than 1,084,081 vests have been distributed to law enforcement because of this partnership.

Last year, Chief Michael Schirling of the Burlington Police Department in Vermont testified before the Judiciary Committee on the importance of the bulletproof vest partnership to law enforcement in Vermont and across the country. This year alone, 31 Vermont jurisdictions received a total over $73,000 to aid in the procurement of 271 bulletproof vests. That is 271 more Vermont law enforcement officers who will have a better chance of survival if they are shot in the line of duty.

A few of my friends on the other side of the aisle argue that it is not the place or function of the Federal Government to spend Federal dollars on first responders in communities across the country. I urge them to put the safety of our most dedicated law enforcement officers and first responders over politics and ideology. Law enforcement officers risk their lives every day to ensure our safety, and I believe it is our duty to support them. Based on data collected by the Department of Justice, in just 2012, bulletproof vests saved the lives of at least 33 law enforcement officers in 20 States, which is an increase of almost 14 percent over 2011 levels.

The obstruction of this program’s reauthorization should end. I hope those who are determined to continue their opposition will explain those objections to law enforcement officers across the country who put their lives at risk day in and day out. Congress has consistently pursued policies that support our State and local law enforcement officers and first responders. They are the frontlines of our national defense and indispensable to their communities. I urge all Senators to stand with America’s law enforcement officers and support this legislation.


The committee also passed several bills to prevent gun violence and protect law enforcement officers, including Senator Boxer’s bipartisan School and Campus Safety Enhancements Act of 2013, Senator Franken’s bipartisan Justice and Mental Health Collaboration, and Senator Cardin’s bipartisan National Blue Alert Act. Each of these bills was carefully crafted and enjoy bipartisan support. I urge the Senate to consider these important legislative proposals early in the next session.


In early November, the Judiciary Committee reported by an overwhelming bipartisan majority the Leahy-Cornyn Justice for All Reauthorization Act which would reauthorize legislation first passed in 2004, when the House and Senate had Republican majorities, and it was signed into law by President George W. Bush. The Justice for All Reauthorization Act strengthens and reauthorizes key programs to make the criminal justice system work better and more fairly. And it does so in a fiscally responsible way, reducing overall authorizations by nearly 25 percent. This is a strong example of what we can accomplish when we work together.


Senator Leahy’s full speech can be found at the following site:




 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,, and if need be, we would also be happy to email you the form.  Just send us an email to 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!   

Please monitor NAPO’s website, and Facebook page: National Association of Police Organizations, and follow us on Twitter at NAPOpolice for breaking news and updates.