Washington Report on NAPO's Capitol Hill ActivitiesNovember 6, 2013
Wednesday October 30th, NAPO's Executive Director, Bill Johnson, gave a TV interview with CBS Television Channel 4 Miami on NAPO's efforts to modify the 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 has contacted every member of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, as well as every member of the Florida Congressional delegation, to request they consider our proposed language modifications to the DPPA amendment. Our proposal includes 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.
NAPO has also advocated for our proposed modifications to staffers who work for the following members of Congress:
- Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)
- Congresswoman Lois Frankel (D-FL)
- Congressman Tom Rooney (R-FL)
- Congressman Dennis Ross (R-FL)
- Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
- Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-FL)
- Congressman Daniel Webster (R-FL)
- Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL)
- Congressman Richard Nugent (R-FL)
- Congressman Bill Posey (R-FL)
- Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL)
- Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN)
NAPO will continue to aggressively lobby members of Congress to gain support for our proposed language changes to the DPPA amendment, and provide regular status updates to our members.
NAPO Endorses H.Res.190
NAPO has pledged its support for H.Res.190, condemning the April 15, 2013, Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attacks in Boston, Massachusetts and calling upon the United States Government, the governments of all nations, and other, international organizations to renounce the use of IEDs and take actions to stop their proliferation. The resolution is sponsored by Congressman Richard Hanna (R-NY) and supported by 47 cosponsors.
The Boston Marathon bombings were a tragic reminder of the horrors that IEDs can bring to civilian populations. NAPO supports this bipartisan effort, which firmly condemns IEDs, supports and remembers all of the victims of the Boston Marathon terrorist attacks, and expresses unwavering support for America's service members and first responders who put their lives on the line to face and defeat IEDs.
NAPO Meetings on Capitol Hill – Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act
On October 31, 2013, NAPO met with staffers who work for the following members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee: Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA), Senator Robert Casey (D-PA), Senator Christopher Murphy (D-CT), and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). The meetings focused on reintroducing the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act, which would extend collective bargaining rights to public safety officers. NAPO was joined by representatives from the International Brotherhood of Police Organizations and the National Troopers Coalition.
During each of the meetings, NAPO provided background on our organization and mission, and stressed that passing legislation to extend collective bargaining rights to public safety officers is one of our top legislative priorities. Law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day to preserve the security and peace that our nation enjoys. However, these same officers are denied the basic American right to collective bargaining for wages, hours, and working conditions. NAPO will continue to work with fellow stakeholders to engage members of Congress to urge that this legislation be reintroduced during the 113th Congress. We will continue to provide regular updates to our members on this issue.
James Comey – Officially Installed as the Seventh Director of the FBI
On October 28, 2013, James B. Comey was officially installed as the seventh Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
President Obama marked the occasion by highlighting Comey's credentials and long history with the Justice Department, while also pledging to work to lift sequestration-induced budget cuts from hitting the Bureau further in the coming year.
"He's the perfect leader for an organization whose walls are graced by the words of a legendary former director: 'The most effective weapon against crime is cooperation.' Jim has worked with many of the more than 35,000 men and women of the FBI over the course of his long and distinguished career. And it's his admiration and respect for all of you, individually, his recognition of the hard work that you do every day -- sometimes under extraordinarily difficult circumstances -- not just the folks out in the field, but also folks working the back rooms, doing the hard work, out of sight -- his recognition that your mission is important is what compelled him to answer the call to serve his country again," the President stated.
NAPO has publically supported Mr. Comey since he was nominated. We look forward to the opportunity to work with Mr. Comey in the future.
"James Comey Officially Installed as FBI Director." - FEDagent. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Nov. 2013..
New COPS Office Director
The Department of Justice's Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office has informed NAPO that a new director has been hired to head the COPS Office. Police Chief Ron Davis, from East Palo Alto, California, is planning on leaving his department this month to lead the COPS Office and assist with their efforts in advancing community policing within state, local and tribal agencies.
The article at the following link provides additional background information on the new director: http://www.mercurynews.com/san-mateo-county-times/ci_24389258/east-palo-alto-police-chief-leaving-head-national.
NAPO maintains close communications with the COPS Office.
Synthetic Abuse and Labeling of Toxic Substances Act
On August 30, 2013, NAPO pledged its support for the Synthetic Abuse and Labeling Toxic Substances (SALTS) Act.
The SALTS Act (S. 1322) was introduced by Senators Klobuchar (D-MN), Graham (R-SC), and Feinstein (D-CA) to address the growing problems associated with synthetic drugs. There have been reports from states around the country of people acting violently while under the influence of these drugs, leading to deaths or injuries to themselves and others.
If you have any questions about the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act, H.Res.190, NAPO's support of James Comey, the new COPS Director, or the SALTS Act, please contact Melissa Nee at: firstname.lastname@example.org.