By Meredith Ward, Manager, Legislative and Media Affairs, IACP
n mid-September, the administration proposed a plan that includes $5 billion for “first responder stabilization.” The plan allocates $4 billion for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program for hiring, rehiring, or retaining law enforcement officers. The plan also includes $1 billion for Department of Homeland Security grants for hiring, rehiring, or retaining fire fighters.
The IACP is very supportive of the COPS program, as it has proven to strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to combat crime and violence in our communities.
The COPS program seeks to fund critical programs for combating methamphetamine production and trafficking; for tribal law enforcement; for fighting gun trafficking and reducing gang violence; for hiring school resource officers and establishing school-based partnerships between local law enforcement agencies and local school systems to combat crime, gangs, and drug activities; for paying for officers hired to perform intelligence, antiterrorism, or homeland security duties; and for the recruitment of inactive military personnel to pursue the law enforcement profession.
The proposal is aimed at creating and saving jobs in the United States. In addition to first responder assistance, the plan also includes assistance to other sectors including teachers, construction workers, and veterans.
The proposal would also allocate the 700 megahertz (MHz) D-Block to public safety for the build-out of an effective, nationwide, public safety wireless broadband network—a proposal that is strongly supported by the IACP. All of the major national public safety organizations and many state, local, and tribal government organizations support it as well.
For many years now, the IACP has been working towards this goal. This proposal would provide law enforcement and other public safety agencies with the 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.
Hearing Held on IACP-Opposed National Conceal Carry Bill
In mid-September, the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security held a hearing on H.R. 822, the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011. H.R. 822, sponsored by Congressman Cliff Stearns (R-FL) would weaken existing state laws by allowing an individual to carry concealed firearms when visiting another state or the District of Columbia as long as the individual is entitled to carry concealed firearms pursuant to the laws of his or her home state.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey testified at the hearing in opposition to the legislation. In his testimony, Commissioner Ramsey said, “We have a uniquely diverse nation. What works where I currently serve as commissioner in Philadelphia, and the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, does not work for our neighbor across the river in New Jersey. Our laws for obtaining a permit are vastly different, based on well-debated decisions made at the state level. This bill would allow people to carry concealed and loaded guns in every state, without consideration for the minimum standards created by their governments.”
The IACP is strongly opposed to H.R. 822 because it would severely undermine state concealed carry licensing systems by allowing out-of-state visitors to carry concealed firearms even if those visitors have not met the standards for carrying concealed weapons in the states they are visiting.
For example, some states require a person to show that they know how to use a firearm or meet minimum training standards before obtaining a concealed carry license. These states would be forced to allow out-of-state visitors to carry concealed weapons even if they do not meet that state’s concealed licensing standards.
It is the IACP’s belief that states and localities should have the right to determine who is eligible to carry firearms in their communities. It is essential that state, local, and tribal governments maintain the ability to legislate concealed carry laws that best fit the needs of their communities and apply to private citizens as well as active and former law enforcement personnel.
The bill currently has an astounding 243 cosponsors. ■
Please cite as:
Meredith Ward, "Legislation Introduced That Would Allocate $4 Billion to Law Enforcement," Legislative Alert, The Police Chief 78 October 2011): 8.