Meredith Ward, Manager, Legislative and Media Affairs, IACP
he House of Representatives recently passed the Homeland Security appropriations bill for fiscal year (FY) 2012, which slashes funding for state, local, and tribal homeland security assistance programs by more than $2 billion from its current levels. In FY 2011, these programs received $3.1 billion in funding; the House-approved bill includes $1 billion for FY 2012. The IACP strongly opposed these proposals to cut funding.
Specifically, $750 million is proposed to cover the Urban Area Security Initiative, the State Homeland Security Program, and the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program, along with several other state, local, and tribal assistance grants, with actual funding amounts to be determined by the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
The Senate has not yet released its version of homeland security funding legislation. The IACP will continue to work with Congress to ensure that state, local, and tribal law enforcement all have adequate funding for FY 2012.
Senate Committee Approves D-Block Legislation
On June 8, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation approved S. 911, the Public Safety Spectrum and Wireless Innovation Act, which IACP strongly supports.
Since 2009, the IACP has been working toward having the 700 megahertz (MHz) D-Block reallocated to public safety for an effective, nationwide, public safety wireless broadband network. S. 911, sponsored by Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and cosponsored by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) would achieve this goal.
S. 911 would provide law enforcement and other public safety agencies with an additional 10 MHz of spectrum that is necessary to support a nationwide, interoperable, wireless broadband network that will help them fulfill their mission of protecting lives in communities throughout the United States.
Law enforcement and public safety must have a minimum of 20 MHz of broadband spectrum to meet current and future needs and must have access to new technologies to perform increasingly complex duties. These technologies must have adequate and dedicated spectrum that is managed and controlled by public safety to ensure that they will be more secure and reliable than commercial broadband systems. The D-Block allocation to public safety and federal funding are essential if technology is to accommodate the critical needs of the U.S. law enforcement and public safety community.
All of the major national public safety organizations support this legislation, including the National Sheriffs’ Association, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the Major County Sheriffs’ Association, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the Police Executive Research Forum, the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International, the National Association of State EMS Officials, the National Criminal Justice Association, the National Emergency Management Association, the National Association of Police Organizations, the National Troopers’ Coalition, and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.
Additionally, many state, local, and tribal government organizations support it, including the National Governors Association, the National Association of Counties, the National League of Cities, the United States Conference of Mayors, the Council of State Governments, the International City/County Management Association, and the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The IACP will be working toward passage of this bill in the full Senate and then, hopefully, a companion bill in the House of Representatives. The IACP requests that all IACP members contact their Senators and ask them to support S. 911. Thanks to the hard work of the IACP membership, several letters have been sent and several members have indicated they will send letters.
For more information on the D-Block legislation and to receive assistance in sending a letter to members of Congress, contact Meredith Ward at WardM@theiacp.org.
IACP Supports Mueller Nomination
IACP President Chief Mark A. Marshall recently sent a letter to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary expressing strong support for legislation to extend the term of FBI Director Robert Mueller for an additional two-year period. President Obama reappointed Director Mueller earlier this year after his original ten-year term had expired. A legislative fix is required for Director Mueller’s term to be extended for two additional years.
In the letter, President Marshall wrote, “Immediately following the September 11 attacks, Director Mueller made the critical decision to improve the FBI’s cooperation, communication, and coordination with state, tribal, and local law agencies. Because of this commitment, the FBI—under Director Mueller’s leadership—has been able to successfully meet the challenge of protecting our nation from the threat of terrorism while at the same time remaining a vital partner to state, tribal, and local law enforcement agencies in their daily efforts to protect their communities from crime and violence.”
The IACP urges Congress to approve the extension legislation in a timely fashion and extend Director Mueller’s term for an additional two years. ■
Please cite as:
Meredith Ward, "House Passes Homeland Security Appropriations Bill, Cuts $2 Billion from State and Local Assistance Programs," Legislative Alert, The Police Chief 78 (July 2011): 8.