By Meredith Ward, Manager, Legislative and Media Affairs
n February, the IACP partnered with the Obama administration to gather law enforcement leaders to discuss immigration reform. The first of several “listening tour” meetings was held at the White House and included 35 state and local law enforcement leaders including representatives from the major law enforcement organizations.
IACP President Craig Steckler, chief of the Fremont, California, Police Department, made opening comments to set the tone for the meeting. He also referenced IACP’s 2007 report Police Chiefs Guide to Immigration Issues. President Steckler expressed the IACP’s continuing support of these discussions to ensure the voice of law enforcement is clearly heard as immigration legislation or policy reform proceeds. Additionally, IACP Research Center Directorate Director John Firman led a panel discussion on the state and local law enforcement immigration perspective, including the immigrant community, the impact on law enforcement, concerns and opportunities, relationships with federal agencies, and law enforcement roles and responsibilities. Panelists were Sheriff Leroy Baca, Los Angeles County, California; Chief Tom Manger, Montgomery County, Maryland Police Department; and Colonel Tom L’Esperance, Director, Vermont State Police.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano gave keynote remarks and discussed several issues that need to be addressed including securing the border, a pathway to earned citizenship, addressing illegal immigrants who commit violent crimes, and ways to improve law enforcement’s relationship with the immigrant community.
Secretary Napolitano and other administration representatives including Alan Bersin, DHS assistant secretary of international affairs and chief diplomatic officer; Cecelia Munoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council; and Tony West, acting associate attorney general stated that this initial meeting was the beginning of a dialogue and that they would ensure that law enforcement’s opinions and issues are heard and addressed.
The IACP Endorses ATF Nominee
IACP President Steckler recently expressed support of the nomination of B. Todd Jones to serve as the next director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). The ATF has been without a permanent director for six years, and the IACP believes it is imperative that this change.
Throughout his career, Jones has demonstrated an unyielding commitment to protecting the public’s safety. His years of experience as a U.S. attorney have provided him the opportunity to work with law enforcement agencies, and he has gained a unique understanding of the challenges and the complexities agencies face in combating firearms violence, gang crime, and other threats to our communities.
The IACP Supports VAWA
The IACP recently expressed support for S. 1925, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) of 2012. The IACP has been a proud supporter of VAWA since it was first passed in 1994 and maintains a strong commitment to prevent violence against women.
Law enforcement must have the tools, the support, and the training available to help prevent these horrific crimes. With additional tools, we can continue to build stronger cases that will lead to a higher prosecution and conviction rate and continue to shed light on these oftentimes hidden crimes.
The legislation was passed in the Senate in late February and awaits action in the House of Representatives.
The IACP Supports the Assault Weapons Ban Legislation
The IACP recently announced support for S. 150, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013. Sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the legislation prohibits the sale, the manufacture, the transfer, and the importation of 157 of the most commonly owned military-style assault weapons. It also bans an additional group of assault weapons that can accept a detachable ammunition magazine and have one or more military characteristics. The bill also bans high-capacity magazines and other ammunition feeding devices that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition and includes an exemption for current and retired law enforcement.
The legislation provides an exemption for the following:
- More than 2,200 legitimate hunting and sporting rifles by specific make and model
- Any gun manually operated by bolt, pump, lever, or slide action
- Weapons used by military, law enforcement, and retired law enforcement
Additionally, the bill requires background checks on all future transfers of assault weapons covered by the legislation; requires that grandfathered assault weapons be stored safely using a secure gun storage or safety device in order to keep them away from prohibited persons; and prohibits the sale or transfer of high-capacity ammunition feeding devices currently in existence.
Assault weapons are routinely the weapons of choice for gang members and drug dealers. They are regularly encountered in drug busts and are all too often used against police officers. The IACP has been a strong supporter of the assault weapons ban since 1992, and IACP membership has approved several reauthorizations of support in the years since then. ♦
Please cite as:
Meredith Ward, "IACP Partners with White House to Seek Law Enforcement Leadership Perspective on Immigration Reform," Legislative Alert, The Police Chief 80 (March 2013): 8.