Dear Representative DeLauro,
Thank you for your outreach – it is appreciated.
Even with the changes incorporated into your most recent draft, I believe that the provisions in this CJS bill could have a disastrous effect on the ability of law enforcement agencies nationwide to cope with the exploding violent crime rate.
The FOP and IACP are working together with our partners in the Senate to craft consensus legislation addressing these issues. The House has not—prior to your email last night—shown any willingness to engage with representative organizations in the law enforcement community on issues like those addressed in the draft you shared. This is unfortunate and, as is apparent in the CJS bill, extremely problematic. The bottom line is that the proposed language will hamper good police work by depriving departments of desperately needed funds and adding to the growing list of victims of violent crime.
One of our biggest concerns with the language you shared is Section 219. (8) which would prohibit access to any funds from any program administered by the COPS Office to an agency that “has entered into” a collective bargaining agreement with a labor organization if it may prevent the U.S. Attorney General from seeking relief in pattern and practice investigations or that conflicts with a consent decree. I do not think it is appropriate for the Federal government to disrupt or interfere with local agreements between public employers and employees and I think it raises serious constitutional questions about the separation of powers.
Section 219. (2) requires training that is not clearly defined, and which may not be available in every State.
In addition, Section 219. (3), (4), (5) and (6) means a State or local law enforcement agency is INELIGIBLE for any grant administered by the COPS Office unless a local or State government passes a law. Eligibility for the grant is dependent on elected government officials and is completely beyond the ability of the applying agency to control. In effect, this language is punishing law enforcement agencies if local or State governments do not bend to the will of Washington—which means less resources for law enforcement agencies to keep our communities safe.
The same applies to Section 221. (1) and (2). Why is Congress using the appropriations process to punish law enforcement agencies to coerce State and local governments? It is the safety of the public that suffers.
It is infuriating to us that those on the left and those on the right seem obsessed with ensuring that NOTHING is done with respect to criminal justice reform while wringing their collective hands over the lack of action. We’re close to being totally convinced that some horribly cynical members on both sides would rather have a live political issue than live citizens. If the FOP and IACP can come to the table and try to find solutions, what are you all afraid of? Quit playing politics with people’s lives and put something together that we can all agree to and benefit from—don’t leave the efforts of Senators Booker and Scott, with support from Senators Graham and Durbin, to die on the vine. They say that politics is a blood sport, and that’s fine, but let’s try to staunch the real blood that’s flowing, shall we?
On behalf of the more than 356,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, we appreciate your outreach and thank you for your consideration on this important issue. If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in our Washington office.