Attorney General Sessions Invites NAPO to Participate in Work of Task Force on Crime Reduction & Public Safety; Senate Confirms Gorsuch to be Next Supreme Court Judge; NAPO on the Hill: Meetings with House Judiciary Committee Members; NAPO Supports the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act; President Trump Announces Deal with AT&T for FirstNet; NAPO’s Legislative Priorities Booklet for the 115th Congress Now Available Online; 2017 Lobby Day Legislative Update & NAPO’s Annual Legislative Awards Luncheon; NAPO’s 24th Annual TOP COP Award WinnersApril 11, 2017
Attorney General Sessions Invites NAPO to Participate
in Work of Task Force on Crime Reduction & Public Safety
Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent NAPO Executive Director Bill Johnson a letter on April 5th detailing the work of the Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, which the Attorney General established on February 27th, and inviting NAPO to participate in the Task Force’s National Summit on Crime Reduction and Public Safety. In the letter, the Attorney General recognizes NAPO’s commitment to supporting the criminal justice system and reducing crime in our nation and hopes for a true partnership over the coming years to meet our shared goals.
In a preamble to the invitation to participate in the Summit, the letter discusses the need to work collaboratively to address violent crime in our neighborhoods and protect the civil rights of all Americans. Through the work of the Task Force and feedback from the Summit, the Attorney General has asked for initial recommendations to address these issues no later than July 27th.
This letter follows up on a memorandum the Attorney General sent to Justice Department division and bureau leadership and United States Attorneys on March 31st that outlines the mission of the Department to support state, local and tribal law enforcement.
The memorandum lists out guiding principles the Attorney General believes the Department must adhere to and uphold, including principles supporting local control and accountability and recognizing that it is not the role of the federal government to manage non-federal law enforcement agencies. The memorandum further states that the misdeeds of a few bad officers should not undermine the admirable work that law enforcement officers perform to keep our nation’s communities safe. Under these principles, the Attorney General directs the Deputy Attorney General and Associate Attorney General to review contemplated and existing consent decrees and police reform initiatives.
Under the Obama Administration, consent decrees have exemplified a top-down, Washington knows best, one-size-fits all, coercive approach to how state and local policing should be done, what officers should look like, and even what they should think and believe. Such agreements do not instill a sense of partnership between the Justice Department and the law enforcement agencies they address, which affects the efficacy of the consent decrees. They also have deleterious effects on officer morale and public safety as rank-and-file officers feel attacked and unsupported by their governments and political officials.
NAPO applauds Attorney General Sessions for directing the Department to undertake a comprehensive review of all consent decrees to ensure they are meeting their goals, not being used to further any extraneous policies and are not lasting longer than the period of time required to rectify the original problem.
NAPO looks forward to participating in the National Summit on Crime Reduction and Public Safety and to working with the Justice Department in a true partnership that focuses on collaborative efforts to reduce crime in our communities.
Senate Confirms Gorsuch to be Next Supreme Court Judge
On April 7th, the Senate confirmed Neil Gorsuch to be the next associate justice of the Supreme Court, by a vote of 54-45. The vote came 24 hours after the Democrats filibustered Gorsuch and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) invoked the “nuclear option” to change long-standing Senate rules to allow Supreme Court nominees to be confirmed with a simple majority vote.
Judge Gorsuch was a judge the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver and in his rulings has shown a conservative approach to labor rights, often siding with business on labor issues. He mirrors former Justice Antonin Scalia’s views on labor and is expected to be the tie-breaking vote on any case brought before the Court similar to Friedrichs v California Teachers Association. This case threatened “fair share” fee payments to unions and collective bargaining agents by non-union member beneficiaries in the workplace. It came before the Supreme Court after Justice Scalia’s death at the beginning of 2016, and with the Court down one justice, resulted in a 4-4 tie that upheld the lower court’s ruling that “fair share” fees were legal. It is almost certain that the issues of “fair share” fees and public sector “agency shops” will come before the Court again once the vacancy has been filled.
Gorsuch was sworn in on April 10th by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. He will begin his tenure as a justice at the end of the Supreme Court’s term, which ends in June. The last round of oral arguments is scheduled to begin April 17th. The justices are expected to meet privately on April 13th to decide on what cases to accept or reject for the next term that begins in October.
NAPO will continue to monitor the Supreme Court and keep our members updated on any pertinent cases.
NAPO on the Hill:
Meetings with House Judiciary Committee Members
NAPO, together with other major national law enforcement organizations, continued to make the rounds last week, meeting with staff of members of the House Judiciary Committee to discuss our priority legislation for this Congress. We are focusing particularly on pro-law enforcement legislation we want to see moved leading up to or during National Police Week (the week of May 15th). Given the timeframe, the legislation we want to move during Police Week are those bills that are bipartisan and have the support of the majority of the Committee in order that they can move quickly to the House and Senate floors.
We met with the officers of Representatives John Ratcliffe (R-TX), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Martha Roby (R-AL), Doug Collins (R-GA), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL), Mike Johnson (R-LA), Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Lamar Smith (R-TX), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), and Blake Farenthold (R-TX). Specifically, we discussed the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) Improvement Act, the Back the Blue Act, the Thin Blue Line Act, the Children of Fallen Heroes Scholarship Act, the American Law Enforcement Heroes Act, the Protecting Lives Using Surplus (PLUS) Equipment Act, the National Criminal Justice Commission Act, and the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act. (These bills have been profiled in past Washington Reports.)
Some of these bills will be heavier lifts to move than others given the current atmosphere in Congress as they pertain to more contentious issues such as surplus military equipment for state and local law enforcement and increased penalties for the assault, attempted killing and killing of a state or local law enforcement officer. The PSOB Improvements Act, the American Law Enforcement Heroes Act, the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act and the Children of Fallen Heroes Act are bills that have a greater chance of moving quickly through the House and Senate in a bipartisan fashion.
NAPO, together with the other organizations, is working to build as much support these priority bills in order to put pressure on the House Judiciary Committee to take up and move the bills. We previously met with House leadership, who indicated their support for our efforts and a willingness to take up the bills we are able to move through committee for a vote on the House floor during National Police Week. We will continue meeting with members of the Judiciary Committee over the next week to garner additional support for these important bills.
If you have any questions about NAPO’s meetings on the Hill or the bills addressed, please contact Andy Edmiston at email@example.com.
NAPO Supports the Law Enforcement
Mental Health and Wellness Act
NAPO has pledged our support for the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act, sponsored by Senators Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Todd Young (R-IN). NAPO worked closely with Senator Donnelly on this important legislation, which would help law enforcement agencies establish or enhance mental health care services for their officers. The legislation would make grants available to initiate peer mentoring pilot programs, develop resources for mental health providers based on the specific mental health challenges faced by law enforcement, and support law enforcement officers by studying the effectiveness of crisis hotlines and annual mental health checks.
According to the National Study of Police Suicides, officers are 2.5 times more likely to die from suicides than from homicides. State and local law enforcement officers are our nation’s first responders. They respond to our country’s greatest tragedies as well as violent crimes that unfortunately occur more frequently in our communities. They have seen and experienced horrors that they cannot forget, yet they still put their lives on the line every day to protect and serve our communities. It is time that we as a nation recognize the stress and strain of the job and give officers the resources they need to address their emotional and mental wellbeing. NAPO believes this legislation is an important first step in ensuring officers across the country have access to the best mental health services available and feel supported in using those services.
NAPO thanks Senator Donnelly and Senator Young for their support of the law enforcement community and their leadership on this important issue. We are working to get a sponsor in the House and hope to introduce the companion bill soon. This bill is a priority for NAPO and we are pushing it as part of our larger National Police Week bill package. If you have any questions about this bill, please contact Andy Edmiston at firstname.lastname@example.org.
President Trump Announces Deal with AT&T for FirstNet
On March 30th, President Trump announced a $6.5 million deal with AT&T and the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) to build a nationwide wireless broadband network for first responders. The establishment of an interoperable broadband network dedicated to first responders was one of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. In 2012, Congress authorized FirstNet, an independent authority within the Commerce Department, to develop build and operate a national public safety broadband network that will allow first responders to communicate between agencies and within their own departments in all 50 states.
It is expected that AT&T will spend close to $40 billion over the life of the 25 year contract to build, deploy, operate and maintain the network. The build out is expected to begin later this year. FirstNet has faced many challenges over the past five years and has struggled to get off the ground. This contract is a victory for first responders, who have been waiting for over 15 years to get a dedicated broadband network.
NAPO continues to support the FirstNet mission and will keep our members updated on its progress.
NAPO’s Legislative Priorities Booklet
for the 115th Congress Now Available Online
NAPO’s Legislative Priorities Booklet for the 115th Congress (2017-2018) is now available on our website. Get an in-depth look at the work NAPO has accomplished for our members and the priority issues we continue to fight for in Congress today. Hard copies will be available at our Legislative Update Breakfast on May 11th.
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 updates this spreadsheet regularly, and continues 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 Andy Edmiston at: email@example.com.
2017 Lobby Day
Legislative Update &
NAPO’s Annual Legislative Awards Luncheon
Please join NAPO on May 11th for our Legislative Day on Capitol Hill. Use this opportunity to lobby Congressional Representatives and Senators on behalf of your members concerning the issues which affect law enforcement. Prior to lobbying Capitol Hill, plan to attend NAPO’s Legislative Breakfast for an update on NAPO’s legislative priorities, results to date from the 115th Congress, and to receive handouts to use during your Hill visits.
While on Capitol Hill, be sure to stop by NAPO’s Congressional Luncheon, where several Congressmen and Senators will be recognized for their continued support of Law Enforcement and is a great opportunity to mingle with members of Congress and their staff.
For assistance setting up your Capitol Hill appointments, contact Andy Edmiston, NAPO’s Director of Governmental Affairs, at (800) 322-6276 or firstname.lastname@example.org, by May 1st.
The registration fee of $150.00 per person includes the Legislative Update Breakfast, handouts, and the Legislative Recognition Lunch. Please contact Elizabeth Loranger, NAPO’s Director of Events, at (800) 322-6278 or email@example.com if you have any questions regarding the seminar or hotel arrangements.
NAPO’s 24th Annual TOP COP Award Winners
NAPO is pleased to announce the 2017 TOP COP Award Winners. Special thanks to the Selection Committee for taking the time and effort to evaluate the many impressive cases which were nominated for this year’s awards. A list of the 2017 TOP COPS and Honorable Mention Winners is attached.
Please also note the NAPO schedule of events being held in conjunction with National Police Week:
Thursday, May 11, 2017
9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Legislative Update Breakfast - Omni Shoreham Hotel
10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Congressional Member Office Visits - Capitol Hill
12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
NAPO Legislative Awards Luncheon - U.S. Capitol Visitors Center, Room HVC-201
Friday, May 12, 2017
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
*** NAPO Executive Board Meeting, Omni Shoreham Hotel – Diplomat Ballroom
6:30 p.m. – Midnight
24th Annual TOP COP Awards Reception & Dinner, Omni Shoreham Hotel – Regency Ballroom
*** The NAPO Executive Board Meeting is tentative.
The date and time of the meeting will be announced by May 5.
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.