Letter to Senators Lieberman and Collins on S. 4


21 February 2007

The Honorable Joseph I. Lieberman and Susan M. Collins
Committee on Homeland Security and
Governmental Affairs
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Mr. Chairman and Senator Collins,

I am writing on behalf of the membership of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our support for S. 4, the “Improving America's Security by Implementing Unfinished Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act,” which was favorably reported by the committee last week.

We are particularly pleased that the legislation includes a provision creating an Office for the Prevention of Terrorism (OPT) within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The FOP believes very strongly that the Department is far too focused on mitigating the effects of a critical incident—response and recovery—and have not, to date, dedicated enough resources or attention to preventing future terrorist attacks.

The OPT would be headed by a Director who would be able to report directly to the Secretary, giving law enforcement and its prevention mission a stronger voice within the Department. The Director will also serve as a liaison to State and local government law enforcement agencies which will improve the coordination of policy and operations, particularly with respect to the sharing of intelligence.

Most importantly, the OPT would work directly with the Assistant Secretary of the Office of Grants and Training to ensure that homeland security grants to State and local agencies, including the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program (LETPP), Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Program (CEDAP), grants for fusion centers, and other law enforcement programs are adequately focused on terrorism prevention activities. The FOP remains very concerned that directing law enforcement and terrorism prevention funds through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is a response-oriented organization ill-suited to perform, oversee, and fund terrorism prevention activity. It is our hope that the OPT will provided a much needed voice for law enforcement and help to ensure that Federal funds are directed to the prevention mission.

Finally, the provision directs the OPT to work with the Director for Response, to establish a pilot project to determine the feasibility of establishing law enforcement deployment teams to serve as the basis of a national network of standardized law enforcement resources to assist State and local governments in responding to a critical incident. These teams would be utilized much the same as urban search-and-rescue teams are#151;called in when State and local agencies need the additional resources.

I want to thank both of you for your efforts to support the OPT provision during the committee's consideration, and I look forward to continuing to work with you when the bill is taken up by the Senate. If I can be of any further assistance or provide additional information on this issue, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in my Washington office.

Chuck Canterbury
National President

cc: The Honorable Harry Reid, Majority Leader, United States Senate
The Honorable Mitch McConnell, Minority Leader, United States Senate