NAPO VICTORY! Senate Judiciary Committee Passes BVP Reauthorization Act & Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act; Congress Passes Slain Officer Family Support Act of 2015; NAPO’s Executive Director Meets with DOJ Leaders; NAPO in the News; NAPO Submits Statement on Unmanned Aerial Systems; 9/11 Health and PSOB Amendments in Senate Budget Resolution; Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act; NAPO Supports Eric Williams Correctional Officer Protection Act; Minority Leader Reid and Senator Coats Announce Retirement; 2015 Legislative Update and Capitol Hill LobbyingMarch 30, 2015
NAPO VICTORY!!! Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program Reauthorization Act & Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act Passed by Senate Judiciary Committee
NAPO’s Executive Director, Bill Johnson, speaks at a press event on the Rafael Ramos & Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act alongside the bill’s sponsors, Congressmen Reichert and Pascrell.
On March 26, 2015, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) Grant Program Reauthorization Act and the Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act on a voice vote. NAPO has expended all available efforts to garner support for these critical pieces of legislation. Our efforts led to both bills being reported out of Committee.
The BVP Grant Program Reauthorization Act reauthorizes the highly successful BVP Grant Program and ensures that all of America’s law enforcement officers are provided with the life-saving protection they need. The BVP Grant Program is a critical resource for state and local jurisdictions. This program has issued more than one million lifesaving vests to 13,000 state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the country since it was established in 1999. However, while many officers are protected by bullet-resistant armor, an alarming number of officers, many in small departments across the United States, are not afforded this same protection due to local budget constraints. NAPO has worked closely with the Senate bill’s sponsors, Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), to garner support for this legislation to ensure that all law enforcement officers are protected with bullet resistant armor.
The Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act will assist with the establishment of a nationwide Blue Alert system to apprehend violent criminals who have injured or killed police officers or who have made an imminent or credible threat to cause serious injury or death of a law enforcement officer. This bill is named in honor of two New York City Police Detectives, and NAPO members, who were assassinated while sitting in their police patrol car in December 2014. Their killer posted threats to law enforcement on social media before the attack. Implementing a nationwide Blue Alert system will help to ensure that information on credible threats, like those posted by the individual who killed Detectives Ramos and Liu, is widely disseminated so that officers have advanced warning, and can apprehend the criminal before he or she can do more harm.
NAPO has worked closely with the Blue Alert bill’s sponsors, Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), to garner support for this legislation. NAPO’s Executive Director, Bill Johnson, participated in a press conference with Senator Cardin and the House bill’s sponsors, Congressmen Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), on March 24, 2015, to bring attention to the importance of this legislation.
In addition to the press conference, NAPO has spent countless hours meeting and talking with staffers for key members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees to garner support for both of these bills. We are thrilled that our efforts were successful, and we’re looking forward to working with you to pass both pieces of legislation during this Congress.
If you have any questions about the BVP Grant Program Reauthorization Act or the Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act, please contact Melissa Nee at: email@example.com.
NAPO VICTORY!!! Slain Officer Family Support Act of 2015 Passed by House & Senate
Last week, the Slain Officer Family Support Act of 2015, sponsored by Congressmen Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Peter King (R-NY), was passed by the House and Senate. This legislation extends the tax deadline so that individuals making charitable donations for the families of assassinated New York Police Department Detectives Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos can apply such tax deductions to their 2014 tax return.
Congressman Jeffries included a quote from NAPO’s Executive Director, Bill Johnson, in his press release on the bill’s passage:
“NAPO is grateful to Congressmen Jeffries and King for introducing the Slain Officer Family Support Act of 2015. This important legislation will ensure continued support to the families of two heroes who dedicated their lives to public service, NYPD Detectives Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. As we continue to mourn the loss of these officers, who were members of NAPO, it is critical that we provide their families with every available resource. We stand ready to support any efforts necessary to ensure this bill becomes law.”
NAPO will continue to work to ensure the families of Detectives Ramos and Liu receive the support they need.
If you have any questions about this legislation, please contact Melissa Nee at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NAPO’s Executive Director Meets with Department of Justice Leaders
On March 26, 2015, NAPO’s Executive Director, Bill Johnson, met at the Department of Justice with Denise O’Donnell, Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance; Hope Janke, Director of the PSOB Office; and Michael Daugherty, Legal Counsel for the PSOB Office.
The group discussed the current backload of PSOB claims; 9/11 Victim claims; body armor and seatbelt requirements and how they affect PSOB benefits; Hometown Heroes cases (heart attack and stroke); and cases where the deceased officer was speeding. In each of these cases, Johnson emphasized that the goal has to be the provision of the legal benefits to the surviving family members. Reviewing seatbelt or body armor or speeding issues when the officer is already deceased does nothing to improve his or her chances of acting differently next time, and the potential withholding of benefits to survivors would be a cruel blow to a family that is already devastated by the loss of a loved one.
Johnson also urged the PSOB Office to take up the recommendations of the President’s Task Force on Policing in the 21st Century, specifically that use or non use of seatbelts should not be an issue in the award of benefits to survivors, and that mental health claims, including PTSD and suicide caused by the misery, violence and dangers of the job should be recognized by the PSOB Office.
If you have any questions about this meeting, please contact Bill Johnson at: email@example.com.
NAPO in the News
NAPO’s Executive Director, Bill Johnson, was quoted in an article regarding an Arizona passed police bill, SB 1445, which would afford officers 60 days of anonymity after being involved in a fatal shooting. Johnson explained that the Arizona bill will protect Arizona police officers from death threats or retribution after a fatal shooting. The full article is available at the following link: http://sputniknews.com/us/20150324/1019910770.html.
Johnson was also quoted in press releases issued by Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Congressman Dave Reichert Reichert (R-WA) following the Blue Alert press conference (see above for more information on the press conference). Johnson’s quote is below:
"NAPO is grateful to Congressmen Reichert and Pascrell and Senators Cardin and Graham for introducing the Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act of 2015. This important legislation honors two heroes and members of NAPO, NYPD Detectives Ramos and Liu, who dedicated their lives to protecting the public. Passing this bill will ensure the wide dissemination of information on suspects connected with the injury or death of a law enforcement officer, as well as information on credible threats to law enforcement, like the threats posted by the individual who killed Detectives Ramos and Liu. Passing this bill will prevent future tragedies during a time when individuals are increasingly willing to attack law enforcement officers. It is our duty to provide this protection to the men and women who work tirelessly to protect us. We are not going to rest until this legislation is passed.”
Senator Cardin’s press release is available at the following link: http://www.cardin.senate.gov/newsroom/press/release/icymi-cardin-reichert-pascrell-and-graham-urge-swift-passage-of-national-blue-alert. Congressman Reichert’s press release is available at the following link: http://reichert.house.gov/press-release/icymi-reichert-pascrell-cardin-graham-urge-swift-passage-national-blue-alert-system.
NAPO’s efforts to pass the Blue Alert bill were also highlighted in the following articles:
- Senator Cardin Calls for ‘National Blue Alert’ to Help Protect Police
- Nationwide Blue Alert System Would Help Catch Criminals Who Harm Cops
NAPO will continue to ensure or members’ voices are heard loud and clear on the Hill, with the Administration, and in the media. If you have any questions about the publications cited above, please contact Bill Johnson at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NAPO Submits Congressional Statement for the Record Regarding Unmanned Aerial Systems
On March 26, 2015, NAPO submitted the attached statement for the official record in response to the hearing of the Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security (Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation), titled: “Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS): Key Considerations Regarding Safety, Innovation, Economic Impact, and Privacy.”
As you will read, NAPO used the statement to urge the Subcommittee’s Chair, Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), and fellow members of the Subcommittee to consider the fact that law enforcement has increased its use of UAS to fight crime. NAPO emphasized that it is critical that officers are able to effectively use these new tools to assist efforts to keep our communities safe.
NAPO strongly feels that law enforcement should be exempt from Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations regarding UAS, or at the very least, the FAA should recognize law enforcement exigent circumstances as an exception to normal FAA regulations and requirements.
As we have seen in recent years, UAS are beneficial tools to law enforcement officers across the nation. As these systems are integrated into future strategies to fight crime, law enforcement should not be subject to unnecessary regulations that will impede their ability to keep our communities safe. Exempting law enforcement from FAA regulations regarding UAS will enable our officers to effectively carry out their duties.
NAPO will continue to advocate that law enforcement officers be exempt from unnecessary and cumbersome FAA regulations that hinder their ability to fight crime. If you have any questions about our efforts, please contact Melissa Nee at: email@example.com.
9/11 Health Amendment and PSOB Amendment Included in Senate Budget Resolution
On March 27, 2015, Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) announced the passage of an amendment to the Senate budget resolution that will facilitate future legislation to renew and extend the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act, which will expire later this year.
The Gillibrand-Ayotte amendment would create a “deficit-neural reserve fund” that would allow Congress to consider future legislation that would continue to provide medical treatment and compensation for first responders and survivors of the September 11th terrorism attacks at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the Shanksville crash site as long as that legislation does not increase the federal deficit.
Also, as noted in previous Washington Reports, NAPO is expending all available efforts to pass the Don’t Tax Our Fallen Public Safety Heroes Act. This legislation clarifies that both federal and state death benefits for the survivors of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty should be treated the same and not be subjected to federal income tax. Senator Ayotte’s amendment to the budget that would create a “deficit-neutral reserve fund” to provide equity in the tax treatment of public safety officer death benefits also passed by unanimous consent. Passage of this amendment will facilitate future action on the Don’t Tax Our Fallen Public Safety Heroes Act.
NAPO will continue to aggressively pursue the passage of these very important pieces of legislation. The passage of the amendments summarized above indicates that our efforts to garner support for these bills have been successful.
If you have any questions about the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act or the Don’t Tax Our Fallen Public Safety Heroes Act, please contact Melissa Nee at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Kirsten Gillibrand United States Senator for New York." Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. N.p., 27 Mar. 2015. Web. 27 Mar. 2015.
Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act
NAPO continues to work closely with Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and his staff to pass the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act. This legislation would boost support for and protection of victims of human trafficking by increasing law enforcement resources, enhancing victims’ services, and increasing penalties in an effort to combat child sex trafficking, child pornography, sexual exploitation, and human trafficking.
The bill has been stalled after Democrats accused Republicans of adding anti-abortion language into the bill. However, the bill passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee without opposition.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) continues to support the legislation, and has noted that the confirmation of Loretta Lynch as attorney general may hinge on whether Congress works out its gridlock over the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act.
NAPO discussed this legislation with Senator Cornyn’s staff and other stakeholders on March 23, 2015. We will continue to stay engaged with Senator Cornyn’s staff and fellow stakeholders to garner support for this legislation. We will keep our members updated on the status of this bill and the confirmation process for the next attorney general.
If you have any questions about the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act or the attorney general nomination, please contact Melissa Nee at: email@example.com.
Ye Hee Lee, Michelle. "McConnell: No Loretta Lynch Confirmation until Vote on Human Trafficking Bill." Washington Post. The Washington Post, 15 Mar. 2015. Web. 15 Mar. 2015.
NAPO Supports Eric Williams Correctional Officer Protection Act
Last week, NAPO pledged our support of the Eric Williams Correctional Officer Protection Act of 2015, sponsored by Senator Patrick Toomey (R-PA) and Congressman David McKinley (R-WV). This legislation would protect federal corrections workers by allowing them to carry pepper spray. The bill is named after Eric Williams, a Federal Corrections Officer in Pennsylvania who was brutally killed by an inmate in 2013.
The legislation would make permanent a Federal Bureau of Prisons pilot program that allows correctional workers to carry pepper spray. In addition, it would expand the pepper spray availability to medium and higher security facilities and require federal correctional workers to complete training courses before carrying and using the spray.
NAPO looks forward to working with Senator Toomey and Congressman McKinley to pursue the passage of this important legislation. If you have any questions about this legislation, please contact Melissa Nee at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Congressman David McKinley : Press Releases : McKinley, Marino, Cartwright Offer Proposal to Protect Federal Prison Officials."
Minority Leader Reid Announces Retirement
On March 27, 2015, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said that he will not seek reelection. Shortly after this announcement, Reid endorsed Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) to succeed him after he retires at the end of 2016.
NAPO is closely tracking new developments related to Reid’s retirement. If you have any questions about this announcement, please contact Melissa Nee at: email@example.com.
Senator Dan Coats Announces Retirement
Last week, Senator Dan Coats, an Indiana Republican, said that he will not run for reelection in 2016. Senator Coats was elected to a second stint in the Senate in 2010. He had previously served from 1989 until 1999. In between, he was ambassador to Germany.
NAPO will continue to keep our members updated on open Senate seats. If you have any questions about this announcement, please contact Melissa Nee at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sullivan, Sean. "Sen. Dan Coats Not Running for Reelection." Washington Post. The Washington Post, 24 Mar. 2015. Web. 27 Mar. 2015.
2015 Legislative Update and Capitol Hill Lobbying
May 13, 2015
Please join NAPO on May 13th for our Lobby 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 114th Congress and to receive handouts to use during Hill visits. While on Capitol Hill, be sure to stop by NAPO’s Congressional Awards Luncheon in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center, where several Congressmen and Senators will be recognized for their continued support of Law Enforcement.
Schedule of Events
For assistance setting up Capitol Hill appointments, please contact Melissa Nee, NAPO’s Legislative Assistant, at: (800)322-6276 or email@example.com.
The Registration Fee of $125.00 per person includes the Legislative Update Breakfast, Handouts, and Congressional Awards Luncheon. Advanced Registration is required to attend the Awards Luncheon.
NAPO has reserved a block of rooms at JW Marriott Hotel. Room rates are $239 per night. To make your reservation, please call (800)393-2503 and tell them you are with NAPO. In order to receive the reduced rate, reservations must be made by April 17. The hotel is expected to sell out, so please make your hotel reservations early.
Please contact Elizabeth Loranger, NAPO’s Director of Events, at (800)322-6278 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions regarding the seminar or hotel arrangements.
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.