By Meredith Ward, Legislative Representative, IACP
t the 117th Annual IACP Conference in Orlando, Florida, Vice President Joseph R. Biden addressed the First General Assembly of IACP 2010. While speaking to the crowd, Biden mentioned his long history with the IACP, citing his first meeting with the IACP in 1982 and his continued commitment to supporting state, local, and tribal law enforcement.
In his address, Biden recognized that state and local law enforcement plays a strategic role in counterterrorism efforts.
“Today, it’s the local cop who’s going to discover the terrorists working out of a vacant house, who’s going to find a bomb in a backpack abandoned in a train station . . . It is not going to be some guy wearing fatigues and night-vision goggles who is a Special Forces officer in the U.S. military. It is going to be the local cop doing his rounds,” Biden said.
Biden was one of several speakers at the annual conference who addressed issues important to law enforcement executives such as interoperability, terrorism prevention, information sharing, and federal assistance programs.
Proposition 19 Fails in California
On November 2, Proposition 19, which would have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, was rejected by California voters. The IACP has a long history of opposing drug legalization legislation and spoke out against Proposition 19.
The ballot initiative centered on the idea that cannabis legalization would generate revenue for the deficit-burdened state, as well as the idea that legalization would alleviate police drug responsibilities because marijuana enforcement would not be necessary. In late August, the IACP released a statement debunking these claims.
The proposed revenue created would be applied to neutralize health-care costs and would not be available to close budget gaps. For example, proponents in California claimed marijuana would raise $1.4 billion annually in tax revenue. But the truth is that the economic loss from marijuana-impaired fatal crashes is estimated to be as high as $4 billion.
While the defeat of Proposition 19 was a victory for law enforcement, the issue is far from over. After the failed passage of Proposition 19, IACP President Mark Marshall released a letter to IACP members. He cautioned, “However, despite the defeat of Proposition 19, the issue of marijuana legalization is not going away. Legalization proponents have vowed to bring the issue forward in California and other states in the weeks, months, and years ahead. That is why we, as law enforcement leaders, cannot sit idly by—we must continue to speak out on the threat that drug legalization poses to our communities.” For more information on this important issue, please visit the Marijuana Legalization Issue area of the IACP Press Center at http://www.theiacp.org/About/PressCenter/MarijuanaLegalizationIssue/tabid/756/Default.aspx.
Attorney General Expresses Support for Public Safety Broadband Network
In his remarks at the 117th Annual IACP Conference, Attorney General Eric Holder discussed the need for a nationwide public safety broadband network. Said Holder,
In addition to helping law enforcement collaborate and connect information more easily, we’re also working to help you respond to emergencies more effectively. All of us have seen—most clearly on September 11 and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina—that, in times of crisis, officers and first responders must be able to communicate quickly and across jurisdictions.
The IACP continues to push for critical legislation to allocate the D-Block spectrum to public safety for the development of a national, interoperable, public safety broadband network. For the past year, the IACP has been urging Congress to pass legislation to remove the auction requirements for the D-Block and allocate that spectrum to public safety. For many years, the IACP has been a leader in promoting the development of a nationwide wireless broadband data network for law enforcement and public safety.
The attorney general continued to discuss the role the Justice Department has taken in this effort:
Over the last year, the U.S. Department of Justice has taken an active role to help ensure that the communication needs of state, local, and tribal law enforcement are met. We’ve facilitated a series of discussions concerning the public safety broadband network, including the future of the D-Block. And, in partnership with the White House and the departments of Homeland Security and Commerce, we’re continuing to bring together leaders from law enforcement, the broader public safety community, and industry, to determine a path forward.
This is a Cabinet-level priority. It is a Justice Department priority. And I will continue to advocate for meaningful, affordable access to radio spectrum when and where you need it. This continues to be a personal priority for me.
The IACP looks forward to working with Congress and the administration to gain common ground on the creation of a nationwide public safety broadband network. ■
Please cite as:
Meredith Ward, "Vice President Biden Speaks at IACP 2010" Legislative Alert,The Police Chief 77 (December 2010): 8,
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CPIM1210/#/8 (insert access date).