By Meredith Mays, Legislative Representative, IACP
n April 24, Edmund Mosca, chief of police, Old Saybrook, Connecticut, and chairman of the IACP Legislative Committee, testified before the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. Chief Mosca testified about the importance of the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Program and the IACP’s support of H.R. 1700, the COPS Improvement Act.1
As Chief Mosca testified, since the inception of the COPS program in 1994, the resources it provides and the community policing philosophy it fosters have been very successful in helping law enforcement agencies throughout the nation reduce crime rates and maintain safer communities. When the COPS program was fully funded almost a decade ago, communities throughout the United States witnessed a remarkable decline in the rate of crime. Years of innovative and effective efforts by federal, state, tribal, and local law enforcement agencies allowed the nation to transform neighborhoods of fear into safer, more secure communities.
The IACP believes that the COPS program has played an integral role in our ability to reduce crime rates in the past. By providing law enforcement agencies with the necessary resources, training, and assistance, this program became an invaluable ally of state and local law enforcement agencies. After recent funding cuts, however, crime rates have begun to rise once more.
For these reasons, the IACP believes that the COPS program should be fully funded once again. If efforts to reduce crime and promote homeland security are to have any chance of succeeding, it is absolutely vital for Congress and the administration to make available the resources necessary to America’s first line of defense—law enforcement—to mount successful, effective anticrime and antiterrorism programs. For more information on the COPS Improvement Act, please contact the IACP’s legislative affairs office.
IACP Presses for Passage of Hate Crimes Legislation
On April 12, the IACP joined with such groups as the National Sheriffs’ Association, the Human Rights Campaign, and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights to introduce the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (LLEHCPA). Passage of the LLEHCPA would allow the federal government to provide technical support to state, tribal, and local law enforcement agencies investigating and prosecuting hate crimes. In addition, the legislation authorizes the Department of Justice (DOJ) to provide grants to state and local law enforcement agencies to cover the costs of investigating and prosecuting hate crimes.
Most hate crimes are, and should continue to be, investigated and prosecuted by state, tribal, and local authorities. Unfortunately, there are instances where state, tribal, and local authorities are unable to investigate these crimes properly, as a result of either insufficient resources or a lack of jurisdiction. In response, the legislation provides the DOJ with federal jurisdiction in crimes of violence motivated by race, color, religion, national origin, disability, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
However, the legislation properly bars the exercise of federal jurisdiction until the DOJ certifies that state authorities have requested that the federal government assume jurisdiction or that it has consulted with state, tribal, or local law enforcement authorities and has deemed them either unwilling or unable to act.
As the LLEHCPA progresses through the legislative process, the IACP will keep members informed of developments.
IACP Opposes Collective-Bargaining Legislation
On April 19, IACP president Joseph Carter sent a letter to every member of the House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor expressing the IACP’s opposition to H.R. 980, the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act of 2007. H.R. 980, which was introduced in February, is sponsored by Representative Dave Kildee (D-Mich.) and currently has 128 cosponsors.
H.R. 980 seeks to deprive state and local governments of the flexibility they need to manage their public safety operations in a manner of their choosing. By mandating a “one-size-fits-all” approach to labor-management relations, H.R. 980 ignores the fact that every jurisdiction has unique needs and therefore requires the freedom to manage its public safety workforce in the manner it has found most effective.
In the letter, President Carter stated that “safe streets and safe neighborhoods require well-trained and well-managed police departments that are responsive and accountable to the communities they serve. The IACP believes that the provisions of H.R. 980 would effectively federalize state and local government labor-management relations and, as a result, would make these goals harder to achieve.”
The IACP believes that H.R. 980 would only harm the efficiency of state, tribal, and local public safety agencies by forcing them to divert their precious resources from their primary mission of protecting the public and instead use them for collective-bargaining administration.
Similar pieces of legislation have been introduced in previous congressional sessions but have been defeated. The IACP will work to prevent H.R. 980 from passing as well.■
1See Statement of Edmund Mosca, Legislative Committee Chairman, International Association of Chiefs of Police, before the Committee on the Judiciary, United States House of Representatives, April 24, 2007, www.theiacp.org/documents/pdfs/testimonyandcommunications/iacp%20mosca%20House%20Judiciary%20April%2024.pdf, May 2, 2007.