By Meredith Ward, Manager, Legislative and Media Affairs, IACP
he House of Representatives recently voted on its bill that funds the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for fiscal year (FY) 2013 and specifically provides grants to state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies. The House voted to keep in line with the model that was adopted last year and combine funding for many assistance programs. The bill allocates $1.53 billion for all state and local programs administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the State Homeland Security Grant Program, the Urban Areas Security Initiative, and up to 10 other grants to assist state, local, and tribal law enforcement. Actual funding amounts are to be determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security and distributed “according to threat, vulnerability, and consequence, at the discretion of the secretary,” according to legislation.
The full Senate has not yet voted on their bill, which would provide $1.41 billion to the same programs. However, the Senate Committee on Appropriations voted to keep the same model as the House and combine the various programs.
The IACP will continue to keep members up to date on the progress of appropriations bills.
IACP Opposes the Geolocational Privacy and Surveillance Act
The IACP recently voiced opposition to H.R. 2168, the Geolocational Privacy and Surveillance (GPS) Act. The provisions of H.R. 2168, as they relate to law enforcement’s access rules when requesting a search warrant, would severely hinder officers’ abilities to properly serve the communities they are sworn to protect.
In a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), IACP President Walter A. McNeil wrote, “Requests for search warrants cannot adopt a ‘one size fits all’ approach and must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis before a decision is made for the need to establish the level of probable cause. Access to fundamental data is a crucial law enforcement investigative tool and creates leads that could be used to bring focus on a specific individual who may be involved in criminal activity while eliminating persons who, while originally thought to be involved, are not.”
McNeil continued, “Without this basic information, law enforcement would never be able to establish the probable cause and trace a criminal’s ‘electronic footprint.’ Law enforcement’s goal is to attain justice while avoiding wrongful arrests and convictions.”
The U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security recently held a hearing on this legislation. It currently is being considered by the Judiciary Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The IACP will continue to actively oppose H.R. 2168 and fight to defeat it.
IACP Supports Regional Information Sharing Systems Funding
The IACP recently renewed its support of the Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS) program and a program funding level of a minimum of $45 million in FY 2013. The IACP wholeheartedly endorses the RISS program and is committed to its continuing success. RISS centers are a unique combination of federal, state, and local cooperation, providing services to law enforcement agencies across the United States.
The IACP represents 22,000 police executives from federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies. IACP members, as chief executives of state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies, have joined RISS and actively utilize RISS’s service on a regular basis. Any reduction of services will greatly impair IACP members’ abilities to secure information that is vital to the apprehension of known drug traffickers and other criminals.
U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-NY) and U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) introduced legislation that would fund RISS at the needed level, and that amendment was passed by the House in May. The IACP is currently working toward passage in the Senate.
IACP Invited to Join Homeland Security Advisory Council
DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano recently appointed IACP President Walter A. McNeil, Chief of the Quincy, Florida, Police Department, to the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC). The HSAC is an independent, bipartisan advisory board of leaders from state and local government, first-responder communities, the private sector, and academia, and provides advice and recommendations to Secretary Napolitano on matters related to homeland security.
As part of the HSAC, President McNeil will provide recommendations on
Strategy and Policy: recommendations will further DHS’s ability to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies;
Leadership and Coordination: recommendations on improving DHS’s leadership and coordination, internally across the department, externally across the federal government, and among state, local, and tribal governments, first responders, the private and nonprofit sectors, academia, and research communities;
Management and Implementation: recommendations on the development and the implementation of specific programs or initiatives to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies; and
Evaluation and Feedback: recommendations on the efficiency and the effectiveness of DHS programs to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies.
For more information about the HSAC, please visit www.dhs.gov/hsac. ♦
Please cite as:
Meredith Ward, "House Passes Department of Homeland Security Funding," Legislative Alert, The Police Chief 79 (July 2012): 8.