Dear Representatives Mfume, Kelly, and Delegate Holmes Norton,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our support for H.R. 5528, the “Witness Security and Protection Grant Program Act.”
Your legislation would authorize the U.S. Attorney General to make competitive grants for State, local and tribal governments to establish or maintain programs that provide protection or assistance to witnesses in court proceedings involving homicides, serious violent felonies, serious drug offenses, gangs, or organized crime.
Citizens who are witnesses or victims of crime are sometimes reluctant to report incidents to police or aid in the prosecution of the offenders. Such reluctance may be in response to a perceived or actual threat of retaliation by the offender or their associates or the result of generalized community norms that discourage residents from cooperating with the police and prosecutors.
This legislation will establish a fund to protect witnesses and victims of crime. Our judicial system is failing if witnesses and victims of crime are intimidated, threated, or even killed in some circumstances. It is our duty to defend witnesses and victims who rely on the judicial system for protection, and this bill will help agencies do just that.
On behalf of the more than 364,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, I am pleased to offer our support for this legislation. If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in our Washington office.