NAPO Statement on the Murders of Dallas Police OfficersJuly 8, 2016
Last night, four Dallas police officers and one Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer were murdered in cold blood in a coordinated ambush sniper attack by several perpetrators, at least one of whom stated that he wanted to kill police officers, particularly white police officers. The men and women of the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) condemn in the strongest possible terms the brutal and deliberate ambush murders of these officers. Yet again, persistent and nationwide calls for the killing of officers, coupled with the deafening silence of America’s elected and appointed officials, has led to another cowardly assassination of five of our finest. While we mourn and grieve and commit ourselves to supporting the survivors, we must also stand up and speak out against the senseless agitators and gutless politicians who helped bring about these murders.
This is a nationwide problem, with nationally organized calls for violence against police, and national media coverage. It absolutely requires a response from the highest national levels. We are currently in the midst of war on cops. This Administration helped foster the climate that made this war possible. The constant message that America’s police need to be reformed, monitored, investigated, prosecuted without any distinction as to the merits and valor of the individual men and women who do this job is beyond tiresome, it is deadly. Tepid responses to these murders do nothing to discourage future attacks, let alone change the culture that becomes increasingly strident in its calls for killings with each officer’s death. The President and the Attorney General have the ability and the platform with which to stem this violence. We should not have to remind the Administration that stopping the spilling of officers’ blood is the first step without which no other person, business or community in this nation can be safe.
State and local law enforcement’s access to lifesaving surplus military equipment must be restored. NAPO has been urging the President and Congress to restore local police officers' ability to have defensive gear such as helmets, shields and bullet resistant vehicles for over a year[i], but they have refused. In the Executive Order (Executive Order 13688) that prohibits our access to vital surplus military equipment, the Administration acknowledges that this gear fulfills legitimate police needs, and the lack of such gear “can have life-threatening consequences.”[ii] However, the Administration, worried that some of these items “could significantly undermine community trust,” concluded this concern outweighed the concern for police and public safety.
Officers been stripped of defensive gear for the sake of appearances, in a misguided effort to appease those who hate the police. Appeasement does not work. We need the Administration’s support, not studies and policy recommendations. Our officers need helmets, shields, bullet proof vehicles. The men and women in Dallas who have been stripped of this equipment still ran into murderous gunfire knowing that what they were wearing could not stop the assassins' rounds. They deserve and have earned the right to live.
NAPO has urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and its Director, Ron Davis, to fund two-man patrols for safety, but they have refused. We have called upon the DOJ Civil Rights Division to prosecute cop killers, but they have refused. We met face to face with the Attorney General months ago to show how the law can be used to federally prosecute those who shoot police, but she has refused. We called upon this Administration to condemn violence BEFORE it happens, and they refuse. Further, we have publicly warned that this Administration forcing police departments to adopt policies on "implicit bias" and "procedural justice" instead of focusing on law enforcement was putting officers' safety at risk.
Now that we have multiple officers killed, the Administration is scrambling to condemn it, but they will still refuse to restore the defensive equipment that the President and his Administration unilaterally took away. The DOJ will still refuse to go after cop killers like it goes after officers after a use of force incident. Police departments will continue to struggle to get the resources necessary to keep their officers safe. Indefensible hatred for police and calls for the killings of officers will continue with no abatement.
This Administration’s refusal to act has helped bring this about. The disarming of police has helped bring this about. The continued demonization of police as the problem has helped bring this about. The continued mischaracterization of the Black Lives Movement as “peaceful” when they shout “What do we want? Dead cops!” has helped bring this about.
It is time for the Administration and elected officials to stand with the men and women who are out there doing an extraordinarily difficult job and show political leadership by supporting them and giving them the resources they need to protect themselves and their communities.
[i] 9/9/2014: NAPO statement for the record in support of 1033 program for Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on "Oversight of Federal Programs for Equipping State and Local Law Enforcement"
2/22/2015: NAPO participates in Executive Order 13688 stakeholder meeting and raises serious concerns with the Executive Order
6/2/2015:NAPO Letter to the President outlining concerns with Executive Order 13688
6/12/2015: NAPO Opposition letter to the Stop Militarizing Police Act
12/3/2015: Joint LE letter to Senator Shelby for his efforts to rescind Executive Order
12/4/2015: NAPO letter to Congressional leaders on need to restore access to equipment after the San Bernardino shooting
2/18/2016: NAPO participates in Executive Order 13688 stakeholder meeting and raises serious concerns with the Executive Order
3/18/2016: NAPO endorsement of the Lifesaving Gear for Police Act
3/23/2016: NAPO endorsement of the Protecting Lives Using Surplus Equipment Act
6/13/2016: NAPO letter to the President on need to restore access to equipment after the Orlando shooting
[ii] “The purpose of providing this equipment to LEAs via Federal programs is to enhance and improve the LEAs’ mission to protect and serve their communities. Equipment provided through Federal sources has become a critical component of LEAs’ inventory, especially as fiscal challenges have mounted and other sources of equipment and funding have diminished. LEAs rely on Federally‐acquired equipment to conduct a variety of law enforcement operations including hostage rescue, special operations, response to threats of terrorism, and fugitive apprehension. Use of Federally‐acquired equipment also enhances the safety of officers who are often called upon to respond to dangerous or violent situations; being improperly equipped in such operations can have life‐threatening consequences, both for the law enforcement personnel and the public they are charged with protecting.” (Law Enforcement Equipment Working Group. May 2014. Recommendations Pursuant to Executive Order 13688: Federal Support for Local Law Enforcement Equipment Acquisition. pp. 6)