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tv   Politics Public Policy Today  CSPAN  March 4, 2015 5:00pm-7:01pm EST

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you would have expected perhaps that number would have gone up, not down. there are a number of factors responsible for that and i have enumerated some in my written testimony. i want to just spend a moment though reemphasizing the leadership that the attorney general of the united states eric holder has focused on the issue of officer safety and wellness. i'm not sure that he is getting enough credit for his leadership. just a few years ago when deaths were spiking, 171 officers killed in 2011. he held a summit in his office with about 40 law enforcement leaders. and actually took notes himself about what we could do to reduce officer fatalities and injuries. he launched a program called valor, which provides important training for officers. how to prevent violent attacks and how to survive them when they occur. he created a national officer safety and wellness group, which
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i'm proud to be a part of. it's jointly under the auspices of the cops office and the bureau of justice assistance. this is done tremendous good in training more than 15,000 officers across this country. finally, he's increased the federal grant money that's gone to groups like ours and others who are focused on officer safety and wellness. those are just some great examples of the leadership he's provided. i don't think it's any coincidence that as a result of all of those efforts, the last two years now, we've seen fewer law enforcement fatalities than any year for the last 50. that's a great credit to leadership and to this group and so many others focused on this issue. a lot more work clearly needs to be done. i look at canada as a great role model for us here in the united states. i've attended their memorial service, two out of the last three years.
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two years ago, they honored all the officers in canada who had been killed in the line of duty. one officer during a 12-month period killed in canada. the last three years, they've always been below ten. so i asked toronto police chief, bill blair, a couple years ago, what were some of their secrets of success and he enumerated several. he said they had a guaranteed arrival program that decreased traffic crashes by 70%, impressing the officers get to that call for service safely first and foremost, then render assistance. mandatory seat belt and vest ware policys for officers, which we're now seeing more of here in the united states. sensors in vehicles. checking the speed and seat belt usage along with in car cameras. the officers know they're being watched for safety om compliance and it makes a difference. aggressive education campaign showing officers what happens in a crash when you wear a seat belt and when you do not.
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it's pretty impressive and makes a difference, an officer safety question that meets once a month looking at injuries, accidents and fatalities and figures out what we can do to prevent them in the future. then an aggressive promotion of their move over and slow down laws, thankfully with anytime sa and us and other group, we are focusing on getting the driving aware of the laws. we need to learn from our neighbors to the north. consider these troubling statistics. last year, we know 24% of the officers killed in the line of duty were not wearing body armor. 32% of the officers killed were not wearing seat belts. 55% of the officers who died in auto crashes were killed in single vehicle crashes. and 15 officers were shot and
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killed in ambush style attacks last year. that's triple the number from 2013. other props we've identified, officers failing to wait for back up and entering dangerous situations alone. many officers crashing their vehicles while rushing to assist a fellow officer. officers being killed with their own weapon. weapon retention is still a concern and issue we need to address. here are recommendations, some of them, that we talked about with the national officers safety and wellness group. we must have a unified safety message with involvement and buy in from both management and the unions. you've heard that said before and i'm sure you'll hear it again later today. hire a safety officer like they do in fairfax county, virginia, and create a safety committee. establish a national clearinghouse for best practices. we are doing this now in conjunction with the bureau of
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justice assistance. let's get the number of injuries and deaths down to zero. that should be our goal we can all rally around. reduce distractions for officers and their vehicles. take a data driven approach to safety. if it matters, pressure it. officers will be more influenced if you give them the data to support the safety policies. bring families into the safety messaging. create an environment that rewards officers for safe behavior and most importantly, change the culture. do not accept injuries and fatalities as just part of the job and thankfully, i think the best news of all is that that culture change has started to occur and with your leadership, this task force, your recommendations and i'm sure will come out of this, we're going to do a lot better, so thank you very much for this opportunity. >> thank you so much. i'm going to start out the
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question with brittney, followed by sean smoot. >> thank you very much for your testimony. my question is for lieutenant eastman. can you hear me? >> yes, ma'am, i can. >> thank you so much. i really appreciate your testimony and others regarding training for hemorrhage control and other trauma instances. my question is really about the policy surrounding that. so, if the training is available, i'm wondering how we can help to man date and expect officers use it if the force is -- we saw a failure to provide to mayor rice in cleveland and for antonio martin in missouri where i'm from. so i'm wondering once that training is fully provided, how do we create policy around ensuring that is providing even to potentially the victim of officers league use of force?
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>> that's a great question. and i think the answer is when you train people to do this, we haven't seen them withhold that therapy in an agency that's had that training. in my own experience, i have been a part of unfortunately several uses of deadly force as a part of the s.w.a.t. team where even members of the before i could move to get to the victim were deploying some of these skills. we've seen officers use force force in the field in dallas. and subsequently holster their weapons, move to the suspect, make sure their safe and then begin treating them immediately. so i think the answer is that if you build the capabilities, the officers will do the right thing. but i think it's important to build in policy and procedure expectations to give them the legal protections they need if that happens, but i think you're going to be impressed with the dedication of the law enforcement officers trained to do this.
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look at the boston marathon bombing. those officers had no official hemorrhage control program in boston. several had taken it upon themselves and when they were faced with one of the biggest challenges of their career, they acted and treated everyone no matter what. not to use a pun, but if you build it, they will come and these officers would use this stuff appropriately. >> thank you very much. sean smoot followed by tracie mears. >> thank you very much. i have two questions, one question for your dr. eastman. first of all, thank you for interrupting your vacation to participate in testifying for the task force. >> you're welcome. my wife is watching that. thank you. >> thank you, mrs. eastman. doctor, if you know, what would be the cost on a per officer basis to equip them with a downed officer kit as you
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described in your testimony and the training to use that kit? >> yes, so, cost, it depends on scale. if you go large scale, you're going to talk about less than $50. way less. 50 dollars an officer. i think it would be up to the manufacturers of that equipment and those companies to deal with us on a scale pricing, but if we're talking about a nationwide programming, i think that price would fall significantly. we're looking at nearly a million law enforcement officers in the united states. in terms of the training, we don't exactly know how long to train people for. it's my belief we can do this in a couple of hours. in the dallas police department, we have a multimodality training program where we start the officers with some online video viewing. they do some short, hands on training and we incorporate the downed officer kit use into many other scenarios over the course over the training cycle. so the officers get not only
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didactic training. but they get hands on and they incorporate it in other things. so it's significantly less than 50 dollars an officer. >> thank you very much. if i could switch to chief castor for a moment and thank all of you for your testimony. chief, you talked about the safe haven house that you set up and your citizens police academy program. you also talked about your front porch role call. which you mentioned in your written testimony as well. so i have a two-part question for you. i don't usually do this. i'm probably getting the evil eye from some other task force members. but with regard to the safe haven house and the police academy, are those things that you budget for out of your operational budget for your
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department or does the city support those by giving you additional appropriations to do them? and could you elaborate how the protocols work. >> that's number one and two, could you elaborate more about how your front porch role calls work? >> yes, actually, the safe haven we have for the kid ss the second one we've opened up. we've had one in another high crime area for about 12 years and we just opened up a recent one and one of my assistant chiefs went to leadership tampa through the program and they took an old parks and recreation building and rehabbed that as a class project. i assigned police officers to both of those safe havens and the officers i've assigned have a background in education and so, they're very well received and accepted in the neighborhoods. as far as the operational budgeting for it, hopefully, my mayor's not watching, but the city takes care of the operational costs for that safe haven. as far as the front porch role
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calls, those have been a great way to connect with the community. citizens can call in and request those role calls and it's been very, very successful and the squad just shows up at someone's front yard and usually feed them, which seems to attract police officers very well and they get to meet the police officer that literally is patrolling their neighborhood and they create those relationships and those bonds. >> is that role call similar to what they would do in the station? >> that's exactly what they would do in the station. a lot of it, you and i are so old, we had the role call board they would read off. now, they get that through the mdts. they get who's wanted and what to look for in the community. the community gets to feel a part of the police department. tracie mears followed by sue
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rahr. >> good morning, everyone. this is really interesting and really eliminating. my question is for you, mr. floyd. i was going through your, the data you listed in your written testimony carefully and as i understand it, there was some very welcome news that fatalities are down, except that it sounds like in recent years, the greatest contributor is accidents, maybe vehicular accidents? but i wanted to focus on the number of of injuries. in your written testimony, you said something about the fbi saying there's 100,000 injuries, officers injured in the line of duty. i'm wondering about the relationship between that hundred thousand number and the ve hick lar accident point you vehicular accident point that you brought up. and it seems to me that we could not only save a lot of officer deaths, but injuries. if we could simply convince
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people to wear their seat belts, so i'm wondering what the, in your view, is the hurdle? is it just culture? is it something else? is there, there's no union representative. is it union resistance? if you have insight on that, it would be helpful. do we need to put a 9-year-old in the backseat because i know when i'm driving my car, my son says to me, mommy, put on your seat belt. what can we do here? >> a couple of things. the number of more than 100,000 injuries is come frg the bureau of labor statistics. one of the problems that will be emphasized later, we need better data on injuries. i'm working with a group called the police foundation, one of our board member organizations. they're doing a study on near misses. what we are doing here is
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collecting a lot more data on injuries and near misses because those numbers are going to be greater than fatalities. we can tell you everything you want to know about fatalities, especially with this deeper dive we're doing right now with the cops grant, but i will tell you it's a cultural issue seemingly. i'm not a practitioner. i defer to my distinguished panelists here. clearly in canada as i emphasized, they have a program they emphasized from day one in the academy and every day there after, that is guaranteed arrival. when you get that call for servicicious servicicious, whether it's to back up another officer, respond to another emergency, don't put yourself in the peril that so many officers here do. it's a wonderful thing that our officers are willing to put their lives at risk for others, but it's foolish when you drive
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so fast that you wreck your vehicle before you get to back up that officer or help somebody in need. when we talk about a culture change, we're starting to embed that message into the minds of officers at an early stage in their careers and we're professing that over and over again during their careers. we've seen it in a lot of agencies now that have mandatory seatbelt policies. the unions have bought into it. they are working with management to impress that message upon the officers and as a result, i think we're going to see these numbers of injuries and deaths go down dramatically because because without question, traffic related deaths and injuries are the most preventable of all. >> in recent years, i have had two law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty in vehicle crashes. what i find, i have a fleet of about 1800 vehicles and we drive a combined 25 million miles on an annual basis.
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when we look at our traffic crash data, what i see sometimes is a disproportionate number related to distracted driver. my deputies are on cell phones and they have the mobile data terminals in their cars, and so, we have embarked, on an educational campaign about how not to do that. we've taken advantage of blue tooth technology in our vehicles now so that we are not predisposed to looking away from the roadway. we are going to biannual training now. all of my deputies are required to have the vehicle driver training, every two years. and our ultimate goal is to reduce the number of traffic crashes. we have a mandatory body armor policy within our policy as well.
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>> could i just chime in? i can't give you nonverbal cues to tell you i can answer. >> you can wave your hands or something. >> i was going to hold up a sign, but i think the point that craig made about a culture shift is important. let me add to that discussion. mr. mears, you describe in your question these as vehicle accidents. as trauma surgeons, we don't ever use the word accident. an accident is an act by god. you throw your hands in the air, you have no idea how to prevent this. i can tell you these are law enforcement vehicle crashes and law enforcement officers injured in crashes. and crashes are preventable. and if you, again, to just go back to the point of building a database, we don't really know if it's speed, if it's seatbelt, vehicle design, our equipment we wear. but again, building a database that captures some of these pieces of information and allows us to study it scientifically will help you
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design programs to prevent crashes. that's the whole idea behind seatbelts and air bags is because people studied vehicle crashes to make vehicles more safe. we need to study law enforcement and learn how to make that job more safe as well. >> chief, do you want to weigh in on this, too? do you have a policy? and what's been your experience with the culture in your department? >> yes, i always talk about the seatbelt rule. i think that is something that you have to -- and i use that as an analogy for everything else. you have to constantly remind people because it's a habit they get into and we have policy mandated wear and we haven't had any accidents where officers have lost their lives. i can't tell you that all of my officers wear them, but we have a policy for that. and another that alex hit on very lightly that i believe is an outstanding program stars as
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far as the officer safety in general is the near miss program that the police foundation have put together and we mirrored that after the firefighters near miss program. i think that's going to pay great dividends if officers put information in it. if we don't get data into it, it's not going to be a benefit, but i see that as saving lives going forward. >> thank you. we now to turn sue rahr, followed by jose lopez. >> dr. eastman, i want to do a little deeper dive from what sean asked you on the downed officer kits because i think that's one of the smartest things we can do. i'm trying to put that together and i'm wondering if it has to be a doctor, a firefighter that teaches that? or can that be credibly taught
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by someone after train the trainer? >> it can be taught by a train to trainer. just got to get credible instructors. but i can tell you, i've got 3700 officers in dallas and i don't teach every class. i've built a cadre of instructors to train these guys and i talk to them regularly and we tweak the program and update it, but this has to be delivered in a train to traper model because we've got a million people to train, and so if you don't, we're never going to get this done. >> one more question. i was really appreciate ive about your comment about the peer review and looking for liability protection for doing those reviews. i know in my experience, people are very, very reluctant because there's always a pending lawsuit. are you aware of anywhere in the country where those protections have been implemented successfully? >> not in law enforcement, but they're implementing successfully in all 50 states from a medical standpoint.
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so if we have an error in the operating room room, the physicians responsible are still held responsible in a court of law. but we're able to discuss that in real time. usually in the same week. to make sure that error never occurs again. from another physician. that is the whole idea of peer review, it is doctors reviewing the care that we provide. just to bring this example home, we have a, an officer in dallas who was killed in the line of duty when he approached a vehicle that contained a murder suspect and set his weapon on the ground to break out a window. dash cam video is out there right now. we've got it. we use it in our own academy, but every police officer in america should see that video to make sure they don't ever do the same thing. we lost one life that way. why should we ever lose another simply because we haven't gotten the legal protections in place
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to allow us to have a frank discussion about what happened on a nationwide level. and that's a lot about what the near miss project about. to bring those lessons to the forefront so people feel comfortable at least putting the lesson out there. but with some legal protections, you could really improve the way law enforcement officers learn from each other. >> thank you. >> thank you. let's turn now to jose lopez. >> my question is for chief castor. and so i just wanted to hear a little bit more about the first responders retreat. wanted to know more about the focus or curriculum, what are the areas you cover during the week long retreat. information around scale, how many officers are tapped through the retreat annually and some information around the evaluation process and how you're able to evaluate the
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impact of the program from the officers who use it. >> we lost two officers on a traffic stop in 2010. they were shot and killed. and i had a conversation with one of the our police chaplains about how i felt, sister ann daughtery. and i had a i couldn't do enough for our officers to deal with the trauma that they were exposed to an a daily bases and she was able to go out to another state that has type of a first responders retreat and brought it back to tampa. she heads the franciscanister in tampa and the officers go there for a week in house. they have probably the most traumatic portion of it is they give up their cell phones when they walk into the retreat. one of the downsides is the, each group, each week, is is only six to eight officers that
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can go through it. and they have a series of group sessions where they get to talk about traumatic experiences that have followed them throughout their careers. and one of the things they find is that they're not alone. everyone has the same feelings and issues they have. regarding trauma they've experienced. then there are a series of psychiatrists who have volunteered their time to do the emdr that was developed for service members and that, i went through the retreat myself and the emdr was described to you, you would say there's no way that works, but if you go through it, you'll find it does work. so, that and then we have a series of presentations on the physiological effects of trauma and how to deal with that. since it was confidential would choose the officers to go through it and you can imagine
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how excited they were at that possibility the first question is is what's wrong with me? how come me? i asked them all to come and meet with me afterwards and almost to the person they have said the it's the best experience they've ever had in their career. they wish they had had it earlier and would like to see all officers go through it. unfortunately, it's very expensive. we've been able to put it on through donations. so far there is a lot of in kind time donations from the practitioners. and it's been in effect for a little over a year and we've put 68 people through it so far. i have all of the information i can share with anybody who would like more information on it. and usf, i left out the one part. university of south florida is following the process to look at
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how successful it is. and they've been keeping data and statistics on it too date. >> thank you. our last questioner will be roberta. >> actually because of such excellent can questions by our fellow panel members, both of the my questions were answered. so i quickly developed another one so i don't look like i'm not involved and this is for dr. eastman. you talked about that lioka does not give us the granular detail we're looking for and i wanted you to expand on that. as a law enforcement manager, we look at usually the tactical issues and how did it happen and what was the situation, and you kind of touch on a little bit when talking about accidents or crashes and speed and so forth. so if you could expand on what type of granular dee tail you would be looking for. >> absolutely.
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if you think about the detail that's collected now, how far am i from my assailant? is it light? dark? was i wearing my body armor? what was the assailant armed with? but if i want to know as a trauma surgeon, what was injured? did this officer die because he bled to death from a arm wound that needed a tourniquet? or did the -- does the body armor not cover a piece of our body that leaves us vulnerable for injuries and death ss? does the car crash that killed this police officer, again, the crashes wouldn't be included in the data set because it's not assault type situation, but if we have officers getting you know, stabbed, fatally stabbed or injured seriously, are those wounds the results of bad tactics? what are their wounds? are they treatable? all of those things are absent from the data set. so a number of people are trying to work to employ some
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work-arounds for this data set. and we're talking with them now about updating the questionnaire. the timetable is i'm a trauma surgeon and a cop. i'm inpatient as can be. i don't do things on a five-year turn around or i would run for congress. [ laughter ] so i'm not ready to wait another four years until the data set is updated again. we've got to do this now and we've got to take the impetus that you all have put forth as the task force and the president's office and gent a legitimate data sate thatet that can help us answer some of these questions. >> thank you. >> thank you so much. please join me in giving our thanks to this terrific panel. [ applause ] really appreciate all of you coming and doctor, we are going to be jealous of you being on vacation and enjoying your time out there. >> i'll be skiing, thank you very much. let me turn things over to our director now.
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>> so at this stage we'll be breaking for lunch. and the next panel three will be at 1:00. just want to remind the audience that during a break, the task will not deliberate on items discuss today. they will just enjoy a good lunch. and for the tech people obvious ly this one worked better. so thank you for making it work and we look forward to the same this afternoon. and we'll see everybody at 1:00. great panel. thank you guys. panel >> thank you sir. and welcome back everyone. panel 3 will focus on voices from the field. we're going to begin with another distinguished panel. we have one on skype, again. and we'll start with chief
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zachary. the public safety director woodway, texas and immediate past president of the international association of chiefs of police. good to have you. >> thank you sir. >> thanks for inviting me to testify today. i am the director of the woodway, texas public safety department and immediate past president. i'm sorry i was unable to join in person today and i intended to but my flights were canceled. i began my career as the dispatcher in 1979. i am still there today and currently serve as chief and director of the public safety department. one of my main duties is to ensure the safety and well-being of my officers is there. this means making sure they have the proper training and equipment they need to do their job safely so they can return home each and every day to their
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loved ones. during my time as president, officer safety and wellness was one of my top priorities and it's always been a top priority of the iacp. it is a position of that organization that no injury or death comes to law enforcement professional is acceptable. being a law enforcement officer has always been a stressful and dangerous job. but currently the community is up against even greater pressures, challenges and violence. police officers face and witness profound danger on a daily basis. each year more than 50,000 assaults on law enforcement officers which result in more than 14000 officers being injured this past year. this past year 126 were also killed in the line of duty. following ambush attacks on law enforcement officers also increased in 2014. 15 officers nation wild were killed in ambush assaults matching 2012, the highest total since 1995. it is imperative we provide
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training and equipment to officers to help prevent injuries from firearms and ambush attacks. such program does the bullet proof program are critical resources. it is imperative this program be funded and reauthorized with adequate funding. physical wellness is a huge part of an officer's safety. a fit officer will be able to serve his or her community better as well as provide better support to his or her fellow enforce. it is imperative the chiefs promote wellness within departments and encourage officers to get regular physical check ups and the exercise frequently. the iacp center for officer safety and wellness can be a resource for law enforcement in this area. the center promotes health and wellness as part of reducing officer injuries initiative. iacp released the impact of fitness and weight on injuries
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fact sheet. to reduceing officer injuries final report which highlights the importance of the physical wellness. recently iacp also released two resources examining the importance of officer nutrition. a pocket guide for patrol officers providing healthy on the go meal options and a fact sheet written to encourage nutritional guidance and education as part of formal and informal training. with doewe do know things such as bmi matter on police officers. they must be able to run defend and shoot. and a physically fit officer can do that much better. in a profession where strength bravery and resilience are revered, mental health issues and threats of officer suicide are often topics few are willing to address or talk about and acknowledge openly and candidly. that is why the iacp in conjunction with the cop's office held a in national
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symposium. this is important to create change to normalize mental health issues for officers. so seeking a mental evaluation is common and routine. lastly important all departments provide guidance to officer especially new recruits coming in. not only do they need to provide them with proper equipment and training but they also need to give guidance in areas of physical and mental health, in addition each department should be sure to clearly demonstrate it has certain rules and procedures in place and that in no way does that mean that a department will defend misconduct. all officers should be held accountable for their actions. every department must establish internal affairs policies to deal with potential misconduct. if misconduct occurs, the agency should already have measures in place to investigate and address such behavior. the intake process for taking these complaints must be accommodates for the individual registering the complaints that they feel comfortable and they have kept abreast of the
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happenings. this will send a strong ethical and professional message to all the staff both sworn and civilian. the recent report on acresiacp building trust between citizens. they serve in the internal affairs guide funded by the cops office helps build relationships within the community. again i want to thank you fur convening this very important listening session and for the opportunity to express my views on officer safety and wellness. it is imperative we provide the proper support for law enforcement officers. they put their lives on the line each and every day to protect our communities and ensuring we have the proper community, training and support that we can both give them mentally and physically and keep them fit will make us better at our jobs. i welcome any questions and thank you for the opportunity and i apologize i was not able to make it there in person. >> thank you for your testimony, chief. next we'll hear from diane
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bernhard. the director of the director of survivors. >> [ inaudible ] >> hold on a second. i don't think your mic is working here. we need to get her mic up. >> okay. test? >> yep. got it. >> on behalf of concerns of police survivor, also known as cops, i would like to thank you to allow us to speak to you on a very important organization. cops is a mission rerebuilding shats are lives of the family members and coworkers affected. represents over 32,000 family members and affected coworkers and assist by providing peer support and assistance in navigating the various benefits available to them. also providing long-term services to families and officers for as long as they need them. cops also provides training to law enforcement through our signature traumas and law enforcement training. where we train officers on the handling of a line of duty
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death, but also spend time training officers on strategies to proactively maintain health and wellness throughout their career and provide strategies to avoid what we see way touchb which is an officer taking their own life. the voices rehear from survivors constantly repeat the same thing that. the effects of each officer loss are felt forever. last year we saw a rise of the number of officers killed by gunfire and even one ufr lost results in a rippling effect. we have four recommendations for task force. first a nationwide effort to focus on the mental health needs of current law enforcement officers. we ask our officers to witness and intervene in most unspeakable acts of the violence and misfunction in their soetd. the cumulative effects can be devastating.
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through trainings, pier support, employee assistance progress can be made and officers can get the help they need. second we recommend strong policy os of police agencies. a bullet resistant vest should be provided to every officer and there should be strong language and policies requiring the vests be worn. during my smerns as the police officer my coworker was shot in the chest from point-blank range with a shotgun and her vest saifld her life. i'm glad our agency could afford body armor. but sadly this is not the case with every agency. lack of funds should never be a reason for not having basic protection. there should also be policies of driving and driver training. we lose too many officers behind the wheels of patrol car. we recognize accidents are sometimes unavoidable but these officers should also be making decisions through an educated personal lens with their own safety a factor to also be considered. third we recommend stiff penalties for those who assault
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or kill law enforcement officers. in a time where there is much attention to be gained by those who commit crimes shocking the conscience, there is an almost perfect environment to use the media to gain attention to. combat this there should be little consideration of parole when an officer is killed and heightened penalties for assaults on police. while many our society see assaults as part of the job. as an a country we shouldn't stand for this. we need to send a strong message to those who make this choice. and fourth we need to reestablish law enforcement as the noeshl profession we all know it is. over the past six months our neighbors have watched as law enforcement officers have been stereotyped in the media and many communities. police memoryials have been vandalized even as recent as this past week in colorado.
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all of you are nation's officers have been called brutal and unprofessional. while the vast majority would never consider anything but professional. the consequences of constant negative attention are far reaching. besides the demoralizing effects it may have on current officer, our nation's future police officers are watching. during a time when the recruitment of quality officers is already an increasing challenge we can expect even more challenges. we should see communities focused -- we could see communities forced to hire those looking for a job rather than chose seeking professional law enforcement career and the result of that as you could imagine could be devastating. law enforcement is in indeed a noble profession and there is honor in the fact that he has families a loved ones have died for protection of us. when it's consistently given a position of the honor and integrity there will be less
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accept psance of harm done to officers. in closing weed like all to remember that each officer we talk about during this very important work is much machine than a -- more than a statistic but part of an agency and each slief important to us. >> thank you for your testimony. next robert bryant, chief. >> good afternoon members of the president's task force on 21st century policing. my name is robert bryant. i have lived my entire career as the law enforcement officer on tribal lands which has provided me with a strong understanding of the uniqueness and challenges as an officer working in indian country. the men and women serving as police officers across indian country are often asked to perform duties and responsibilities outside the norm of the profession due to inadequate resources. as police officers we perform
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these additional duties with limited training, resources or compensation. this often comes at the expense of the overall wellness safety and family needs of the officer. when looking at tribal law enforcement agencies across the nation it is typical to have only one officer per shift with a ratio of not more than 2 officers per one thousand residents. with violent crime across indian country double and sometimes triple the national average, tribal officer safety is of great concern due to the reality of these low staffing ratios. to help address our issues of the low staffing and the inadequate resources we continue to work with local county and state agencies to assist our officers. however these efforts often fall short. this was never more apparent then during the incident in january 2013 in which a tribal officer was shot and killed by a suspect after non tribal
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officers who initially responded as back up left the scene leaving the tribal officer to defend himself. officers are expected to be the ones to respond to traumatic scenes of the death and tragedy. however due to low staffing we're asked to return to patrol without adequate support to work through the trauma. officers often suffer posttraumatic stress alcohol abuse and failing mental health. i experienced this personally. when responding to two suicides of hangs in my community. i never received briefing or counseling. this is not due to lack of willing to officer such support but dooue to inadequate funding and resources. officer training remains insufficient throughout indian country and unable to send officers because of the lack of replacement coverages for shifts and unable to afford the high
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cost of bricking the training to reservations. this greatly impact ours quality of work and creates dissatisfaction and mistrust from the people we serve. in addition the problems of inadequate funding and low staffing ratios, the bureau of indian affairs is also stretched too thin with a limited number of drug agents with the current state of drug addiction and legal trafficking throughout communities this is troubling. the current program currently has seven drug agents covering areas from maine to florida over to new mexico. this has created a safe haven for drug dealers leaving officers frustrated and being blamed for being ineffective in combatting the epidemics prevailing in our communities. t another issue is high officer turnover. nowhere is it higher than tribal law enforcement. this is direct result of the many issues i have outlined in testimony. i officer the following recommendations to the task
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force. one, tribal law enforcement officers salaries must be competitive with neighboring municipal county and state agencies. two, the authority and tribal community of knowledge of tribal law enforcement officers must be respected by local county and state agencies. there are many instances where tribal officers are accused of the impersonateing other officers when they are off the reservation. and a training program must be designed for the unique circumstances and realities of being a tribal police officer in indian country. five police academies across the country need to incorporate a mandatory tribal cultural sensitive training component for all cadets. six, law enforcement must receive training on the mutual compacts of the tribal law
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enforcement. grant incentives with additional dollars for those who do partner with tribal law enforcement. think must have financial resources to provide counseling and debriefing to officers who respond to serious traumatic incidents. finally the bureau of indian affairs need additional appropriations to fulfill fiduciary trust obligations to ensure adequate fund ochg law enforcement programs and to hire enough drug agents to begin to truly address drug enforcement needs in indian countries. on behalf of the nation i thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts views and registrations with you. >> thank you very much for your testimony. next we'll hear from chuck canterbury. the national president of the frernl order of police. >> good afternoon commissioner ramsey. and members of the task force. thank you for allowing me to come back a second time to testify before this committee.
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soon the members of the task force will begin to write their final report. and we expect it is going to contain recommendations for improving policing at all levels of government. i want to take this opportunity to officer some safety priorities of the f.o.p. that we would love to ask that this task force take into consideration in the report. first, i spoke about the need for federal hate crime legislation to include for law enforcement officers at the inaugural session of this committee. so i'm not going to go into details. but of the 47 firearm deaths in 2014 19% were officers killed by ambush by an individual or pair of individuals that were looking to kill a law enforcement officer. i have appended a brief description of these attacks in my written testimony. if their objective had been to kale muslim a black man, a transit gender women they could be charged urged hate crime legislation and we don't see any reason they should not be held
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accountable when they target a police officer. i hope that this task force will recommend that the bullet proof vest partnership program be reauthorized by congress. this program has one simple goal. it proposes to increase the number of officers wearing soft body armor by providing matching federal funds to purchase body armor. the one issue with body armor is that it does not live forever and it must be renewed every five years. there's no legislation, no government program, no grant that can erase the sad fact that law enforcement officers will die in the line of duty. and now more than every we see our officers in the cross hairs of these criminals. but this program can document more than 3100 officers whose lives were saved was abecause they were wearing soft body armor. how many other programs can document that? >> the house has twice passed legislation by a nearly unanimous margin and we hope this committee will recommend the passage in this congress.
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we also hope that the national blue alert bill a system for local, regional and national dissemination of time sensitive information to help identify a suspect is killed in the line of duty will pass in this congress as well. both times this bill has been blocked by a single senator, whose recent retirement i welcomed. legislation would leverage current amber alert system by using existing infrastructure communication to enlist the public's help in identifying the whereabouts of dangerous suspects. while more than 20 states have adopted some form of blue alert, there are large gaps in the system and a national program is vital to fill those gaps. had the assassin who executed officers ramos and lui in new york not taken his own life and took flight, a blue alert could have been issued to put the public on notice and enlist their help in tracking down this killer.
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fob worked closely with congress to change the bill so a blue alert could be issued in the event of a clear and eminent threat to law enforcement officers. i expect this law enforcement named in honor of ramos and lui to be introduced in congress this week. i hope this task force will recommend the passage of this bill. for the last 20 years, community oriented policing has been at the very core of policing and crime fighting strategy. when crime rates are down and budgets shrink, there are less officers on the street. those who are on patrol are answering calls for service and are unable to engage in proactive community oriented policing. community oriented policing is a labor intensive undertaking and cannot be done effectively with the reduced number of officers that are on the street. since 2009, federal, state, and local law enforcement assisted programs funded by cops and other administration by bja, have been drastically reduced.
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this administration in the law enforcement community has a lot of faith in the cops office and uds muszment fbsz but tz nor that xhlgd are community policing works. i urge this task force to reaffirm a national commitment to community policing strategy, and we call for the full funding of the cops office. in 1988, the brutal murder of edward burn in new york was like too many of the attacks that we are seeing now, the ambushes of police officers. but that killing commissioned by an incarcerated drug dealer, who wanted to enhance his own reputation by killing a cop, led to the realization that our local and state officers, and their agendas needed more resources. with that, the edward burn memorial justice grant program was established and quickly became a cornerstone federal crime prevention and crime fighting programs enabling communities to target resources to their most pressing local needs. the inherent flexibility of the
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program allows state and local communities to address the needs and fill the gaps created in the criminal justice system. but since fiscal year '10, the burn jack program has been reduced by over one-third causing a serious constriction in the reach of the burn jack funded programs across the states and territories. if additional reductions are made, successful programs will be pulled from the field and partnership with the federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement will be further weakened. hundreds of communities will lose a range of critical grant funding and public safety will be compromised. i hope the task force will endorse this program and keep the funding at a fully funded level. finally i'd like to endorse the testimony that will be given later today by chuck wexler with respect to the importance of open communication and mutual respect between labor and management. ongoing dialogue with the shared public safety goal is a must.
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even in the absence of collective bargaining, that said dialogue between rank and file should complement, not supplant the collective bargaining process. in closing, i would like to thank you for allowing us to be here today. we're very encouraged about the response this committee has received from the law enforcement community and we look forward to working with this group to enhance public safety and public service in the law enforcement community. thank you a lot. >> and thank you very much for your testimony. next we'll hear from william johnson, executive director national association of police organizations. >> thank you, commissioner ramsey, and members of the task force. i appreciate the opportunity to provide information on the topic of officer safety and wellness. due process labor relations, safety equipment and officer stress. napo continues to fight for bill of rights for procedural due process for our law enforcement officers.
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due to the enormous responsibilities that exercise, sworn law enforcement officers are held to an extremely high standard of personal and professional conduct. however, many officers are denied the same basic due process rights that other citizens enjoy. many states lack coherent guidelines and procedures for departments to follow to protect law enforcement officers' rights when they are under investigation. in fact, in only about half the the states do officers enjoy legal protections for false accusations and conduct. this leaves thousands with limited or no due process rights in the workplace. officers like any other persons can be expected to treat others the way they are treated themselves. if officers are consistently exposed to corrosive climate of suspicion, heavy-handed or distrust or arbitrary discipline, we cannot feign surprise when the same officers have a same rule of the environment outside the department. on the other hand, benefits with fairness, mutual respect and benefit of the doubt is recognized as not just being
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expected from officers but being owed to them as well. law enforcement bill of rights require department to establish effective procedures for receipt, review and investigation of complaints against officers. if disciplinary action is foreseeable, officers would be notified of the investigation, the nature of the complaint and recommendations of the investigators. officers would be guaranteed the right to reasonable limits on time, duration and location of interrogations. the imposition of discipline would be reviewable by a neutral third party and the officer would enjoy the same right to counsel other citizens in our nation expect and enjoy. in addition, implementing a law enforcement bill of rights with intendant processes for receiving and handling of complaints would ensure individuals that management takes community concerns seriously and conducts fair inquiries. this would bring transparency to the process in the system of development of trust between police officers, their employment agencies and the communities they serve. recommendation, establish a national law enforcement officer bill of rights to ensure due process.
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digsly digsly -- additionally it is critical for management to effectively communicate the goals and initiatives as well as understand the rank and file perspective. the mutual communication of these goals and perspective can be most effectively and efficiently achieved through the medium of recognizing means and associations. it is difficult to build trust when unions and associations demonized and belittled. if the union leadership were not accurately conveying views of officers on the street they would be swiftly ousted by their own membership. it is therefore both wise and practical for agency management to recognize and work with representatives of the rank and file officers actually carrying out the policies of the agency. recommendation, encourage agency leaders in the public to recognize and take advantage of the benefits of the police unions and associations. as our officers work to build relationships with their communities, they must be provided every protection necessary to ensure their safety. napo worked tirelessly to
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authorize and fund the bulletproof vest partnership grant program. as members of this panel are aware of the program helps state and local agencies to purchase body armor for officers working in the field. while many officers protected by body armor, an alarming number of officers, many across the united states in small departments, are not afforded the same due to budget restraints. this must be authorized and fully funded to make sure officers are where individuals are increasingly willing to attack officers. recommendation, ensure every ochser is equipped with a properly fitted body armor. recognizing the department of justice body armor requires receiving agencies to have on the books a mandatory wear policy. similarly, most if not all agencies also have in place policies requiring the use of seat belts while operating vehicles. obviously napo supports the greater use of body armor than seat belts. however, it is important to note even a mandatory policy does not and should not be equated with a zero tolerance method of enforcement policy.
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no one of us is smart enough to conceive of every possible circumstance in which an officer will find herself. there are some circumstances where it's reasonable for an on-duty officer to remove their seat belt or body armor. you can have a situation where a wounded officer cannot survive the wait for an ambulance and other offersers place them in a police car and drive them to the nearest emergency room, providing direct pressure on gunshot wounds the whole way. the officer provided first aid could not physically do so if they were confined by wearing seat belts. the policy is technically violated but would clearly not be enforced. similarly removes body armor and dives into a harbor to save a drowning woman. keeping his vest on would impair his ability to swim. technically violated but a higher goal is served there by. finally, failing to wear bullet resistant vest or seat belt should not impact family members
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ability to receive public safety officers benefits act or psob death benefits. the purpose is to provide sustenance for surviving family members when an officer killed in the line of duty not to discipline an already deceased officer, nor to attempt to deter by fear other officers from violating a local policy. the better approach would be to amend the policy to provide when an officer loses his or her life and was in compliance with seat belt and vest policies would receive the death benefits of the survivors. this would achieve goal of utilization of safety equipment while at the same time not penalizing. recommendation, officers should not be penalized by inappropriate application of mandatory wear policies. napo is also working to include coverage of an officer's death from post-traumatic stress disorder, or ptsd. officers are forced to deal with a career's worth of human misery, weakness and sorrow.
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the abused child, adolescent rape victim, mother killed by drunk driver, the baby hit by stray bullets, grandmother beaten half to death for a few dollars. these aren't stories from the news for the officers involved, they don't have the luxury of turning away they have to respond to the situation and take responsibility for it. this is what passes for normal in their work world. the work that officers do each day in environment which they are placed take a huge toll on mind, body, and soul. many officers suffer from ptsd. while we continue to work diligently to ensure the officers receive the help and treatment they deserve if an officer's death is a result of ptsd, that officer's family should receive pob death benefits. recommendation, an officer's family should receive benefits in the officer's death was a result of ptsd. i appreciate the opportunity to share insights with you and urge you to consider them moving forward. thank you very much. >> than thank you for your testimony. next we'll hear from jonathan thompson, executive director
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national sheriff's association. >> good afternoon members of the task force. thank you for inviting me to testify here today. my name is jonathan thompson, and i'm currently serving as executive director of the national sheriffs association. national sheriffs association represents the 3,080 sheriffs in the united states, nearly all of whom are elected democratically by the people. each one serves as the chief law enforcement officer for his or her county or parish. sheriffs are the only law enforcement officers in the nation providing the full line of services, including jail operations and courtroom security. the office of sheriff is the law enforcement agency most directly accountable to the people they serve. i offer my testimony here today on behalf of our nation's sheriffs on the topic of voices from the field. my written testimony was submitted to the task force and offers in-depth discussion on a range of issues.
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however, in light of the weekend's attacks on minneapolis police officer jordan davis and last night's ambush of georgia sheriff and his deputy, i'd like to focus today on the role of law enforcement in larger criminal justice system. this task force has been convened to look specifically at law enforcement in the 21st century. but law enforcement does not operate in a vacuum, nor should it be examined in one. to fully understand law enforcement in the 21st century, we believe it's imperative to look at all facets of the criminal justice system and the ways in which they interact. equally important is to examine the tools, both physical and technological used by law enforcement to uphold the law as well as those used by individuals seeking to break the law. social media tools and applications are having a dramatic impact upon the safety
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of our police personnel and the communities they protect. for example, one application simply and easily allows anyone with a smartphone to potentially track and stalk the location and behavior of law enforcement personnel. while on the surface that may sound reasonable, we have heard from countless nsa members and their deputies who are alarmed by dangers posed by this kind of tracking, we applaud the creativity of companies and individuals of this country for it is they with jobs and growing capabilities. however, we are deeply concerned that we are on a slippery slope to undermining our abilities to prevent crimes. as you've heard, from 2013 through 2014, 123 law enforcement persons were killed in the line of duty. of those it's statistically shown that 28 are ambushed, ambushed by their killers.
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the recent deaths of officer ramos and officer lui and new york city broke our nation's heart. two men who swore to uphold the law were without provocation or justification, they were murdered or assassinated. the possibility of this type of application played a role in these murders is frightening to men and women in uniform. our leaders would not permit a known adversary to have and use similar applications to track and potentially harm our forces. neither should our elected leaders and most importantly the corporations that built our nation. should they be able to benefit from the use of these types of applications. we urge you to look at them. we cannot deny anyone is seeking to do harm to our law enforcement personnel, are doing so to undermine our society. those who break the law must remain our primary source of
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policing in the 21st century. for 228 years our society steadfastly upheld the principle we are a nation of laws and the rule of law determines how society succeeds. that philosophy is what our members, their deputies, their staffs and their communities are committed to doing. it's too easy to focus blame on shortcomings on law enforcement. our deputies, sheriffs, officers stand as the face of the criminal justice system every time they put on that uniform. but we have seen in recent tragedies how focusing the blame solely on law enforcement can have deadly, deadly consequences. we cannot continue to allow errant media reporting and those with little or no direct law enforcement experience to blame law enforcement for the shortcomings of an entire society. we believe those who really want to help solve complicated human behavioral problems need to come out of their offices and classrooms and stop using
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inflammatory rhetoric simply to get their names in the media. in survey after survey the public overwhelmingly supports law enforcement. to them we say, thank you. yet every day our sheriffs, their deputies and the law enforcement officers represented from folks at this table today endeavor to excel at their jobs and avoid, avoid those painful or even deadly mistakes. our law enforcement professionals deserve better. they deserve a federal government that listens and supports their efforts to protect our communities. they deserve the equipment and training that will help keep them safe. we cannot continue to ask our deputies and our officers to do more with less. doing so places their lives in danger and threatens the safety of our communities. our communities deserve better, too. through elections, sheriffs are directly accountable to their communities. sheriffs understand how important it is to ensure good community relations and know
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that we must always work to continue building those relationships. sheriffs know that our communities expect the highest level of professionalism from our deputies and we strive every day to provide that. the 3,080 sheriffs in the united states are invested in the counties and parrishs they protect. national sheriffs association appreciates the opportunity to provide input to this honorable task force. i urge you, the members of this task force, to remember law enforcement does not exist in a vacuum and that we must look at the entire system, the entire criminal justice system if we are to fully address the problems that exist in the 21st century. on a closing note, i want to thank all of you for the time you've put into this difficult task. we appreciate it very much. >> thank you, sir. thank all of you for your testimony. now we're going to turn to task force members for questions, and i'll call upon them in the order in which they have indicated to me they have a question.
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i'd also for your panelists, if the question is not directed to you but you want to add something, feel free to do so. cheech cheech -- chief zakhary i can see you clearly. you can jump in there as well, okay? >> thank you, sir. i will. >> we'll again with tracy meares, then followed by cedric alexander. >> thank you for your testimony. i have one specific question for chief bryant and then the other questions -- another question for, i guess, the panel. so i'll ask the question of chief bryant, because they're not related, and then we can come back. i was very struck by your testimony and i was trying to understand the resource constraint issue. if you could just help me to understand what entity funds tribal police actually? do the tribes themselves fund the police or is this a federal tribal partnership? i just didn't quite understand the lack of resources issue there.
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>> well, the tribes are funded both through bureau of indian affairs and the tribal governments themselves. the government has an obligation to fund the tribes' law enforcement programs. >> okay. so if there aren't enough resources, the resources are supposed to come from where? it's probably a stupid question on my part but just so i can understand. >> funding comes from bureau of indian affairs, which is a federal agency. >> okay. thank you. the second question i have is for everyone but probably mostly mr. canterbury and mr. nelson. i don't know if you were here for the first two panels. we heard a lot about the different kinds of police injury. a major source appears to be
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vehicular crashes. mr. johnson, you mentioned wearing a seat belt a bit. mr. canterbury, you did not. in the first couple of panels, we actually asked the question of what the source of resistance was to wearing seat belts. i guess the question i have for you in particular, but anybody can chime in there, can you tell me what the union organizations are doing in particular to help support officers wearing seat belts? it seems to me that along with encouraging officers to simply drive slower and do a few things could actually not only address a good percentage of fatalities but could also avert injuries. >> well, there's several reasons our officers don't wear or don't like to wear their seat belts. one is with the 35 pounds of equipment that they are wearing when they are trying to exit their vehicle very quickly on a scenario, their seat belts catches. i've seen a lot of badges ripped
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off uniforms. but we do support the use of seat belts. we support the mandatory policy of seat belts. but like napo, we're concerned that if an officer has to -- i know just from personal experience in a high-speed pursuit, when that chase is nearing the end, it was very common for me to loosen my seat belt so that i could exit my vehicle very quickly. so punitive situations like that are detrimental to officers wearing them. if they are going to get penalized, they will just not wear them. they don't worry about their own personal safety because they want to get out of the car quickly to handle the scenario. but we did participate in a forum earlier this year where we did enter a joint agreement as an organization that we support the use of seat belts and any other safety equipment. >> i think from our end as well,
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i know we were happy to participate in the same forum hosted in philadelphia. i know several participants both from the president's task force and the audience as well support the goal of increased usage. in terms of achieving that goal, one of the things to support, i would call incentivization of the benefit. instead officers being afraid if they are not wearing a seat belt, if they are killed in the line of duty, that their survivors maybe deprived of that benefit, administrators in the program may look as that as indicia as recklessness of the officer in providing the benefits. if the officer was wearing his or her seat belt or his or her body armor and unfortunately the officer did lose their life in the line of duty the benefit to survivors would be enhanced. i don't think that from our point of view don't think that
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trying to penalize an officer who is now deceased for not wearing his seat belt by taking away this benefit from his surviving family members is going to achieve the goal of increased usage. >> thank you very much. cedric alexander. >> the first question for mr. brian. you had alluded -- you didn't allude, you pretty much stated that some of your tribal officers who patrol tribal territories, you had mentioned sometimes they are mistaken as police officers or accused of impersonating police officers, if you will. could you speak more to that as to what you mean very specifically, and also what recommendations do you offer for that? secondly, my next question is for mr. canterbury. you made mention to the fact,
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and i think the last time you was with us you made mention to the fact as well, too, that community policing is very important, which i'm quite sure you agree with. but high call volumes and lessened police officers being hired today are you suggesting or recommending that there need to be more funding to hire more officers across the country? if you would start, mr. bryant, i would appreciate it. >> thank you. what i'm referring to in many instances across the country, tribal law enforcement receives their training through the indian police academy. that is not recognized in some of the states through the state certifications. when tribal officers come off the reservation in uniform, if they are not state certified in that particular state, then they are sometimes threatened with arrest, impersonating law enforcement officers because they are not state certified.
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they are certified through the indian police academy, which is through the federal government. so that's -- in some instances that has occurred and is still occurring today, because of the strain between the political issues between the state and the tribes. sometimes the state and the federal government. >> would you make the office a recommendation of maybe something that could change that? >> they have tried to address it where they have tried to have a lot of the tribal agencies you see special law enforcement commissions. what that does is certify them as a federal officer. but to me, it gets back to the states recognizing tribal law enforcement, which it's been an issue and still is an issue. and it's -- again, it gets back to the same thing as us trying to establish mutual aid, so that officers are covering and helping other officers whether
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you're tribal, whether you're state, whether you're county or local. it's a work in progress and a lot of it is politics. it's about -- at the end of the day, it's police officers should be recognized as police officers. >> thank you, sir. >> we have that same issue with federal officers in some states not being recognized as peace officers. that, as you know, there are 50 standards in the country for what is a police officer and what is not. on the issue, the fop since 1994 omnibus crime bill have been huge supporters of the cops program and hiring of 100,000 additional police officers. we all know that at the height we were closing in on a million police officers on the street in this country. at last best guess estimate somewhere between 760,000 and 800,000. and with the call volume that we have now, police officers even in jurisdictions that support
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the concept of community oriented policing or problem oriented policing, when your call volume is that high, you're just totally reactive. we believe that's a problem. it's also a safety issue. it's one of the things that cause our officers to get in their cars and go faster than they would normally go. when you're going from call to call to call and then have to break for emergency calls, it puts a lot of pressure on police officers. answering their calls is the most important aspect of their job, as you know. >> your recommendation for that? >> fully funding the cops program to the '94 levels so we have state and local cooperation. i love our brothers in the federal law enforcement sector, but without 900,000 plus state and local officers, they could not do their jobs. 97% of law enforcement is done by state and locals. >> thank you very much.
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>> sean smoot. >> mr. chairman? >> oh, i'm sorry. >> a perspective from the sheriffs. >> we echo many of my colleagues comments. the one cautionary point i would make is that -- i agree the full funding for cops. we also agree it's a program and office and operation that needs to have a better profile. we do just put a cautionary note out there that as we drive for a higher goal of officers and deputies on the force and in the field, there's a lagging cost to that. we all have to be very sensitive to that at the end of the day. what is that cost? who has to pay it? obviously from the sheriffs' perspectives as they are locally elected, those costs obvious come down to the county. we put a cautionary tale up
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there. while we support it, we recognize there is that trailing cost factor. >> thank you all very much. sean smoot. >> i'd like to first of all thank the panel for their very good testimony this afternoon and thank all of you who have traveled to be with us. and chief, thank you for making the effort to skype in with us online. you know, it seems to me sitting here and listening to the testimony of the last several days we've heard, but especially this morning, you know, in the united states, unions have been at the forefront of creating safe workplaces, developing safety initiatives, implementing wellness plans for their members and specifically in policing, unions have played a huge role in engaging the community in terms of p.a.l.s and other outreach programs that are supported by police associations and unions. so i wonder, and this question
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is for the panel -- but it seems obvious to me that, you know, in the states that don't have collective bargaining for police officers, that might be something that we would recommend. and so i'm curious to know if you think that would be a good idea, or not. >> speaking on behalf of the fraternal order of police as you well know, officers that work in nonunion states make 30% less in salary and benefits than those that work in states that are unionized. the other problem is that the assault rates and killed in the line of duty are higher in states that don't have collective bargaining. and it's specifically because of what you talked about. every major improvement to safety and law enforcement since 1915 has been made by the police officers, deputies, corrections officers, forcing management to include programs like the bullet
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proof vest initiative. workers' compensation, safety laws, like our brothers and firefighters have had since their inclusion in osha in 1958. police officers are still not covered under osha regulations in the u.s. and so i think it's vital that collective bargaining or whatever term you want to use, the interaction with the police association of the union is vital for officer safety. >> i agree, obviously. i mean, our group is made up of associations from around the country. but i think it's important for perhaps states or local jurisdictions that would be resistant that if a state enacts a collective bargaining law, all it does is provide the option for workers to be represented by a union if they choose to. no state legislature can compel anybody to join a union or to force a sheriff to recognize a union if the workers don't want one. the other thing i think that's important to emphasize, because
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it gets -- ties into this same, i think, level of resistance sometimes that the related issue of a national law enforcement bill of rights. one of the frequent criticisms of that is well, if we have that in place, or a union in place, i can't get rid of a bad cop, a dirty cop, a brutal cop. and that's just not true. i think speaking from my own experience, but from cases where i've worked with police officers who did the right thing and were wrongly accused and police officers who did the wrong thing and were properly accused. when you have the framework that's in place, it actually provides in practical terms a procedural checklist for the department. and it's very difficult for an attorney representing the union or representing the officer who has been fired to try to get that officer's job back if the chief or the sheriff can go to the arbitrator, the judge whoever it is and say, look, here's what the law provides. here's a checklist of eight rights the officer has. i did every one of them. i told him what he was accused of.
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i let him know who the witnesses were the range of discipline, and access to counsel. what more did you want us to do? it's very difficult at that point to criticize or say that you can't get rid of someone who shouldn't be a police officer. and i think one final observation, i think most of the jurisdictions, including sher rifs' departments and agencies that have gone from not having a union representing their workers to ones that have, after initial period of distrust or fear, i think by and large they find it's easier to manage the workplace if you have a good relationship in place. just like any other industry where the workers feel like they have a voice in what's going on. >> may i add one comment quickly? i think as you look at recommendations writ large. mandates coming from washington.
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for 3,080 jurisdictions has a risk. so we are very cautious about that. each elected sheriff has an obligation to uphold their electorate. many of the counties are represented, many are not. the point being, they're all different. one size will not fit all. >> thank you. >> and thank you. tracy meares. >> this was a question that occurred to me looking at the interaction between cedric alexander and the panel about the cops office funding. i wonder if any of you would be willing to speak to the relevance of the size of the agency to producing greater officer safety and wellness. a lot of the issues have to do
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with capacity for training, for organization, you know, a lot of the -- the ability to mandate or have access to mental health counseling and the like. in some of our written testimony, there's been a suggestion there should be a minimum size of agency in order to help facilitate, you know, provision of the services that would not only be good for the officers but probably, i think, probably obviously good for deployment of services to the community. and i wonder if you would be willing to, any one of you, all of you, speak to that. and especially with you, chief bryant, i actually don't know how the minimum size of agency would work in indian country as related to you know state and -- i just -- i'm already having a hard enough time trying to understand, you know, the logistical and governmental
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issues of provision of services. but anyway, i think you get the question. >> and under the cops office, the tribes have their own set aside grant process. and it is broken down by size of agency. and i agree. i think that when you have the size of an agency especially most of the agencies across the indian country is small, are very small agencies, with very large land bases that they have to patrol. but given that, it is important that we do not have to get into sort of a system where we have to compete against larger agencies that we have to have this system that does break it down so smaller agencies are working through the grant process with smaller agencies and vice versa with the larger ones. but, again, we have the tribal grant process is separate from
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on that end through the cops office which we are grateful for. >> anyone else? let's say a minimum size of 80 to 100 in an agency. and if it's not that large, maybe there should be consolidation. >> i would point out, i guess, maybe there's two competing interests involved in this suggestion. one is that economies of scale certainly, i think, would help the provision of rarely used resources such as counseling after an officer's been involved in a shooting. and you'd want to have those resources available for the officers who are so involved. and it may be very difficult for smaller departments to have that readily available. at the same time, however, though, i think that by increasing the size of an agency and by consolidation, i think the risk is that we may lose the sense of community involvement, both from the community and from the police department itself.
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when the agency gets larger, i think it loses some of the ability to pursue some of the goals that make the community oriented model successful. and that a larger or consolidated agency, the risks there, i think from the community as well as from the officers involved, it's no longer you know my town's police department. this is a regional department that risks losing some of the involvement, and connection with the community. >> from the sheriffs' perspective, we would agree with that. and i would add just a couple of points to that, no one size fits all. they have different requirements, and in some cases,
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sheriffs have the primary responsibility. in most cases, they do, if you look at the community policing. that's what sheriffs have traditionally done. it is being solved at the issue. and that's where we agree vocally with my colleague. we just would be very concerned if you, if -- if there was a sudden line in the sand that said there should be at least 25 officers for every 500 people that somehow unavoidably it's hard to mandate to ensure that you get uniformity across the system you're trying to achieve. >> i think government's first responsibility is to protect the people of the community period. the first and most sacred responsibility of any government besides, notwithstanding their size. but minimum staffing levels are something that need to be looked
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at, very harshly looked at. most have 2.4 to 2.8 police officers per 1,000. my jurisdiction which is a very urban jurisdiction has less than .5 law enforcement officers per thousand in the county jurisdiction. and it does cause problems. it reduces the amount of contact with the community. it puts the officers in much more of a dangerous situation. and i also think uniformity ptsd response in the country. south carolina's a state where like colorado where ptsd is not recognized as a workman's comp injury. and officers can be forced to eap programs but they're not designed to deal with ptsd. so uniformity in those areas would be a wonderful recommendation from this task force. >> and i would just like to comment based on one of my recommendations every law
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enforcement officer be equipped with a vest. and in some of those very small departments that you were talking about there, rather than maybe considering consolidating, and making regional departments maybe look at a different level of support for the smaller departments that cannot come up with the matching funds for the vests or don't have the capacity, or the folks that can apply for the grants to get those vests, to have that support at the higher level for the smaller departments would be very helpful. >> do any of our task force members have additional questions? if not, then thank all of you for your testimony. and, please, join me in thanking them. [ applause ] we're going to take a break until 2:15. thank you. good afternoon.
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our fourth and last panel today is addressing the issue of labor management relations. and our first witness is dr. chuck wexler executive director of perc, the police executive research forum. welcome, dr. wexler. >> thank you, miss robinson. and mr. ramsey, and the panel. it's good to be here again. and i also want to thank my fellow panel members for participating. thank you for the opportunity to offer my perspectives on the important issues of labor management issues. i am the executive director of the police executive research forum. i have held that position for over 20 years. you've asked me to focus my testimony today on building trust and collaboration between police executives, labor leaders and elected officials.
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when we talk about improving policing, the relationship between labor and management is an area that has been neglected for too long. historically, labor and management have often viewed each other with suspicion. it often has seemed that they see each other as warring factions and treat each other as the enemy. and as recent events have shown us, everyone loses when labor and management fail to work together. especially people in the community and the officers on the street. fortunately, this way of thinking is beginning to change. the new model for labor management relations puts an emphasis on finding common ground so that we can work together to achieve goals we share, protecting and serving the community more effectively, promoting officer safety and wellness and building better police departments. with the support of the cops
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office, perca held a series of productive round table discussions over the past several years to explore better relationships between labor and management. the most recent round table was convened earlier this month in washington. as an example of what can be accomplished when labor and management work together at a round table discussion last november in philadelphia, police and labor leaders reached a ground breaking agreement that calls upon all law enforcement agencies to adopt mandatory policies requiring officers to wear body armor and seat belts. this agreement addresses the concerns of both labor and management and represents an important step in protecting officer safety. because of this unprecedented agreement, lives will be saved. we especially recognize the fraternal order of police and the national association of police organizations whose leadership on this issue was critical to reaching this important agreement.
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at the round table a few weeks ago, we were able to reach an agreement on the key principles that are critical of improving trust and collaboration between police, labor and elected officials. today, i would like to discuss five principles and share a few success stories where labor leaders have worked together to find common ground. as these stories show, when leaders worked together, it can lead to real progress, safer communities, police departments that are operating more effectively, officers who are professional, diverse and satisfied in their jobs. and ultimately, stronger relationships between labor and management, and between police and their communities. the first principle is one key to building trust and collaboration is for leaders to focus on common ground, on the goals and priorities they have in common. and this is an approach taken by labor and management in prince george's county.
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and you'll hear from the chief later on talk about that. in prince george's county, the police chief and the union president view officer safety and wellness as a joint effort between labor and management. after a car accident claimed the life of a prince george's county officer, the police chief and the union president joined together to enact mandatory seat belt policies and implement "arrive alive," a campaign to improve seat belt compliance. sitting side by side, the police chief and the union president filmed the video, emphasizing seat belt safety. principle two, a key to building good relationships is open communications, meeting frequently, seeking each other's input, being transparent, seeking to build personal connections with one another. for example, in places like philadelphia, sacramento and prince george's county management and labor leaders make it a practice to not enact any policies or make public statements without first
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receiving input from each other. communications strategies should be a part of standard training for officers. we also recommend creating joint training opportunities for elected officials and police executives. principle number three, building trust is to treat each other with respect and professionalism, even when there are disagreements. this means not taking differences personally, refraining from spreading rumors and dissolving disagreements. this also means remembering that words matter. especially when they are spoken to the news media when voices -- when voicing concerns or expressing disagreement leaders should avoid making negative generalizations or remarks. this approach was taken by mayor karen freeman-wilson in gary indiana, which is a model for how to publicly address issues in a way that demonstrates trust and respect. when she speaks publicly about the community's concerns regarding police, she tries to
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present a balanced approach. principle four, among those same lines, leadership strive to understand and respect each other's roles and responsibilities. through the police, labor and elected leaders share many common goals. they have distinct responsibilities. they have to answer to different constituencies, and they have unique experiences and backgrounds. rather than viewing these differences as obstacles, leaders should strive to learn from one another and understand each other's perspectives. a recent example was in sacramento. where leaders had to overcome differences to forge stronger relationships. the mayor and police union president met privately to discuss comments each had made to the media following the grand jury decision in ferguson, missouri. although the two leaders had a good working relationship, their comments reflected different reactions. each, however, rather than letting the differences damage their relationship, they worked with each other, and with the
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police chief and in turn used the opportunity to discuss reviews and learn from one another. and finally, the fifth principle is important for leaders to strive to treat officers to the way they want officers to treat people in the community. promoting officer safety, wellness and job satisfaction is a perfect opportunity for collaboration between labor and management. for example, in places like houston and ft. worth, police chiefs work closely with their unions to gain support for mandatory body armor policy, a critical aspect. and in places like philadelphia, labor and management have come together to improve the department's response to the significant toll that stress and dangerous working conditions and traumatic incidents can take place. leaders can also improve officer job satisfaction by working together to negotiate contracts fairly, honestly, and from a win-win perspective. for example, in camden, new jersey, a police chief and union president recently worked together to successfully negotiate the first contract
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under the reorganized police department. the key lesson that we have learned throughout our work is that we are all better off when labor, management and local officials work together. we hope that leaders across the country will commit to these five principles. finding common ground, engaging in open communication, treating each other with respect, seeking to understand each other's roles and responsibilities, and working together to promote officer safety and wellness. by committing to these principles, we can overcome the negativity of the past and move forward together towards building communities and police departments. thank you. >> thank you, dr. wexler. we'll now hear from karen freeman-wilson, who is the mayor of gary, indiana. >> thank you, cochair, professor robinson, and co-chair ramsey, and to the entire esteemed task force. first and foremost, i'd like to thank you for the opportunity to
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join this group of knowledgeable panelists and to testify before you today. you are charged with developing recommendations that will be critical to the future of our cities and of our nation. and it is certainly my honor to add our thoughts on behalf of u.s. conference of mayors to those recommendations that you will make. i am also humble to serve as chairperson of the conference's working group of mayors and police chiefs. which developed a set of recommendations for improving police community relations that we presented to all of the mayors and to your co-chairs. as well as your executive director, ron davis. one month ago during the mayor's conference here in washington, d.c. i would also note that
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commissioner ramsey did double duty as he was a member of that group. i believe that all of you have seen our report. and our recommendations are grouped into six areas. building police community trust, improving police department practices, ensuring timely and accurate communications, conducting independent investigations addressing racial and economic disparities, and providing national leadership. i would officially submit a copy of this report for the record of this listening session. in some instances, our recommendations go beyond the purview of mayors and police chiefs and call for actions by the broader community in cities
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and in the nation as a whole. and by the federal government. this reflects our belief that improving police community relations is not solely a law enforcement responsibility. the entire community, including business, the not for profit sector, civic and social organizations, the faith community, police and government at all levels must be involved to assure not just public safety, but justice and equally important, a sense of justice in the community. the topic for this panel, labor management relations addresses a critical component of what we must do to build trust between the police and the communities they serve. while the leadership and
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direction must come from the mayor and police chief, it is primarily the actions of police officers on the streets interacting with community residents on a daily basis and responding when an incident occurs, which will determine how successful we are in maintaining that trust. first of all, let me register our agreement with the important principles that dr. wexler has articulated. focusing on finding common ground, engaging in open communication and seeking input from one another, handling disagreements with respect and professionalism, understanding and respecting one another's roles and responsibilities, and
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recognizing the strong link between promoting officer safety and wellness and building strong police community relationships. i also have to add that last july our concerns about officer safety were underscored in gary when officer jeff westerfield was gunned down in his police car while investigating an active call. this and today's testimony throughout the day underscores the delicate balance of addressing all aspects of this issue that have been raised and heard by this task force. i believe our roles as mayors is to provide our police departments with the resources they need to get the job done. those resources can be money or equipment or something less tangible, such as creating an atmosphere that makes it easier for our officers to get the job
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done. we need to look at policing from various perspectives. as we work to create a climate that allows the police to do their jobs. this includes the perspectives of the officers and their unions, the police departments as a whole, the city government, and the justice system as a whole as well. in gary, i use my convening power as mayor to involve the entire community. i address the big picture and work with our chief to relate it to law enforcement. i work closely with the chief and his command staff to improve policing practices that may be of concern. we try to provide a consistent message, which is that the overwhelming majority of police officers are doing a great job.
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we make it clear that we support our officers in what they do so long as they follow established protocols. but we also make it clear that when something appears to have been done wrong, we will investigate it and act on the findings of that investigation. with every tragedy comes an opportunity. and what has happened in ferguson and staten island and cleveland and brooklyn has to be seen as an opportunity for us all. and especially for america's mayors. we believe mayors are uniquely equipped to lead community conversations about the relationship between the police and the community. and we believe these conversations have to involve the community as a whole.
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as mayors, we have to embrace this opportunity to create a dialogue that will serve our cities for generations to come. a dialogue about race relations and poverty and about how we in government will engage the community every day of the year, including those days when the police must be involved. i will say that leadership on this conversation is not for the faint of heart. we hope that you will find these thoughts and our recommendations helpful as you draft your report to the president and the nation. the conference of mayors stands ready to contribute in your important task in any way that we can. and i stand ready today to answer any questions you might have. thank you very much. >> thank you, mayor.
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our next witness is mark magaw chief of prince georges county maryland, police department. welcome. >> thank you and thank you for thoughts just very quickly, prince george's county sits just east of here across the river about 500 square miles. a million in population. sworn force of a little over 1,700 and about 350 civilians. so it's a lot of ground to cover. we have 17 miles of border with washington, d.c. all of southeast and northeast d.c. so we're interconnected communities. we've had the opportunity over the last several months to work with dr. wexler and the cops' office around this issue. let me start by saying community policing is the foundation of everything we do in prince george's county. because of community policing in the last four years we've been able to reduce homicides by 40% in four years. from our perspective community policing is about relationships,
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trust, inequity. not only externally within the community we serve but also internally with our officers. the simple but key concept here is how officers are treated internally i believe directly affects how they treat our community. if there is not trust within our agency, how do we build trust in the community? we must treat our officers the way we want them to treat our community. again, community policing begins internally. and that's why the relationship between management and labor is critical in my opinion. in prince george's county there was a time and not too long ago that the police chief and the f.o.p. president would never have spoken, let alone be in the same room together. i'm fortunate. the last two presidents of the f.o.p. i've known personally, have grown up with on the department. so there's been a relationship there to begin with.
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but our initial conversation i've had with both these gentlemen is that our jobs are different but very much the same. our job is to take care of the men and women who take care of our community. together there's nothing we can't achieve together. key elements in building any relationship are respect and open lines of communication. and when i talk about open lines of communication, i'm talking about inclusion. there's a difference. i meet with the f.o.p. president monthly. we discuss all concerns. we deal with the little things before they become the big things. he knows i value his opinion and i need his thoughts to help me run the department. it's about showing respect enough to listen even if we disagree. the f.o.p. is included in everything. i openly seek the f.o.p.'s opinion before making any decision on such matters as policy training, equipment. we have a body camera committee right now. the f.o.p. has a prominent
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position on that. the f.o.p. -- i always make it a point to speak to the f.o.p. president before there's any kind of suspensions. before that hits the rank and file. so he understand's the background of these issues. we have a disciplinary review committee made up of f.o.p. members and the command staff to make sure there's equity in discipline matters. such things as uniforms, car selection the f.o.p. has a tremendous role in those decisions. and we've also worked very hard around ptsd and alcohol-related concerns. it's okay if we disagree. it's about finding middle ground. without fighting in the press or open ly openly in the community, which would only erode the trust of the community, and it hurts everyone. one time. only one time over a personnel matter in four years have we not been able to agree on an outcome. but we did agree at the very end that it would go to arbitration
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and we would allow -- together allow the arbitrator to make the final decision. we find 95% of the time, 99% of the time we're on the same page. probably the best example of our partnership centers around what dr. wexler was talking about about vehicle operations. in august of 2012 adrian morse 23-year-old officer was involved in a fast chase. he was chasing a robbery suspect. lost control. and he was killed in that accident. three months later in october kevin bowden was killed. 27-year-old officer was killed in a car accident. the f.o.p. president both stood in the trauma room of both these officers with their families and we made a decision together right then that we needed to change the culture of how we operated our vehicles and we had to do it together. and that's where the arrive alive campaign came from.
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there's three simple pieces to it. buckle your seat belt, slow down, don't be distracted. there's many different pieces we've put in place in training. but one of the most significant ones was the video we did with family members of lost officers that have been killed in the line of duty through traffic accidents. the f.o.p. president and i stood together in a room much like this and made a plea to the rank and file about operating vehicles. and i think it sent a tremendous message to the rank-and-file. partnership and cooperation are key components in community policing. internally they're critical in creating and maintaining a healthy resilient and professional department. when i talk about collaboration i mean every level of the agency. relationships not just with myself and f.o.p. president but with command staff and f.o.p.
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staff. working out issues at their level. many issues never even make it to my desk because they work out those issues. just like community policing has got to be more than just a philosophy, a catchphrase. it has to be a core of what we do. how we do business every day. in conclusion as respect, trust, and collaboration becomes a foundational structure within a police organization between labor and management these values are reflected out into our community that we serve. thank you. >> and i thank you, chief. we'll next hear from jim pasco. he's the long-time executive director of f.o.p., the fraternal order of police. >> thank you, ms. robinson and the commissioner. i appreciate the opportunity to be here. i thank the rest of the panel. this is the point at which having heard from three distinguished management
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representatives at various levels the union guy comes in and tries to eviscerate every assertion just heard. and unfortunately for me because it doesn't leave me with much to say, i didn't have much to disagree with with any of the assertions i've just heard. the bigger problem. and we have participated in all these discussions hosted by the cops office and perth and we feel we have learned from them and hopefully management has gained some insite from them as well. the bigger problem is not going to be how the participants in those round table discussions go forward but how we proselytize that and make other chiefs and other local union presidents see that there's a better way of getting things done than is
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currently be ging done in unfortunately a large number of cities around the country. this is particularly true in those 20-odd states where there is no collective bargaining. so there's no required communication and coordination between police management and police labor. and in those places all the power lies with the chief or in many cases with those jurisdictions at sheriffs to decide whether or not he or she wants to interact with labor representatives or labor at large. and unfortunately, in many of those cases they do not. if you look around the country, and i don't mean to generalize, but if you look around the country you'll see that some of the greatest dynamic tension between and the police is in places where there are poor
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relations between police management and labor. and without naming any cities some of them may well be f.o.p. cities. i doubt it but they may well be f.o.p. cities. we have to take what we all agree is a good idea and find a way to sell it. and i'm not here with the answer to that. i'm just saying that work doesn't end with our profound recommendation. our work will end when we've come up with a plan and found a way to make other people think it's a good idea as well. when we've done that there's a trick thedown. when a cop feels good about his job and the way he's treated and the way he's equipped and he's well trained he gets out there, that's going to be reflected in his interaction with the community. and the community's going to like it and they're going to
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support it. and the resources necessary to maintain the positive policing will be easier to get. and so on and so on. so my point is that this is not the end of the line here. with us sitting out here and congratulating one another on how well we got along happy as i am because i only have so many fights left in me. and hopefully wexler does too. we need to move forward positively. we need to keep this going, make it spread, make people understand that -- make our members understand that police chiefs are cops too. and make the police chiefs understand that just because these guys haven't had scrambled eggs yet doesn't mean they're brains are scrambled. so with that again, i'm very happy to participate in this task force and very happy to participate in a series of roun


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