Attorney General Jeff Sessions Remarks at Sheriffs Assn. Meeting CSPAN February 12, 2018 9:47pm-10:29pm EST
defense forces in such a way we will never lose face like that again. >> sunday night at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span's "q&a." >> attorney general jeff sessions spoke to the national sheriffs association in washington. discussed the opioid and sanctuarygs cities. this is 45 minutes. please be seated. you know, there are few times in a person's life they have such an honor to do what i'm about to do, and it has been the start on me two times. we have the united states attorney general, and perhaps the finest attorney general ben
nation has ever had. a man of commitment, dedication but also a man of leadership and vision. let me tell you a little bit about him personally. raised in alabama, became a lawyer, became a prosecutor, became an attorney general for the state. he became a united states senator. that alone is an a norm us -- is an enormous a compliment. but what he did this past year to restore the rule of law is phenomenal. ladies and gentlemen, it is giving me no higher pleasure than to tell you you have a friend who is listening and doing exactly what law enforcement has asked for years.
the list is long, whether it is asset forfeiture, returning the 1033 program, or a reversal of the cole memoranda. please stand and give an amazing welcome to your attorney general, jeff sessions. [applause] thank you, all. thank you. thank you indeed. thank you. much.you so gotta say, you made my monday morning. thank you for those great words. your friendship and a leadership of the sheriffs association,
that you provide all law enforcement in the country, it is indeed an honor for me. i spent 15 years as a prosecutor law enforcement and 20 on a judiciary committee overseeing the department of justice. in a way it feels like returning home to return to that department. i love it, i respected, we try to honor it every day in what we do. i know you believe the same , those of you and it is an honor with me -- for me to be with you and stand with you. harold, thank you for your leadership and friendship, over 30 years of service to law enforcement. we appreciate that, and to the people of texas. you have the smallest county in texas, it's probably bigger than new hampshire, i don't know what they haven't texas. [laughter]
texas. they have in [laughter] haroldlso have predecessor. i would also like to acknowledge that we lost two police officers this weekend. know you saw that, anthony morelli and eric jordan of , shot to deathio around noon time saturday responding to a call for help. that is what you do, that is what your deputies do everyday. they are out there responding, trying to help people, and they are at risk every day. the american people i think know that, and the need to be respected for that. i want to join with president trump and offering my condolences to their families at this difficult time. it is an honor for me to be with you. this association is one of the biggest law enforcement groups 20,000, 75 more than
years of history here. thank you for what you do. i have heard how you have trained more than 1000 officers , something wen never thought about just a few years ago. an overdose reversal drug. you have donated thousands of not can kids across 21 different states and i am told you have already reversed hundreds of overdoses that could have led to death. i am also pleased to see that my home state of alabama is well represented. we have a 14 alabama sheriffs, i am told. director bobby timmons, some of you know bobby, he has been around. he usually can be heard. yeah, i hear you. he is right there. [laughter] hale, mike is in
jefferson county. on theget in trouble riviera, hoster will put you in jail. [laughter] story to to tell the foreign people, it is true. you have heard that flora bama is in his district. it is on the florida-alabama line. in florida,raised they would go to the alabama side, if they were raised in alabama, they would go to the florida side. --etimes we informed federal we and federal law enforcement can help you by not being bound by jurisdictional limits and can be really good partners with you in important cases.
-- important chases. i know many of you have met with president trump, and jonathan, i think you will be doing that again. he is very open and very serious when he says i am a line order president. i doubt any president has met with more law enforcement groups in the time he is been there, and it's not as if he hasn't had a few other things to do. he has done that regularly. [applause] i do appreciate your comments and saying we do listen, we want to be partners because we want to improve public safety in america. we want to see it get better, safer. we have to work with you to do that. i know that sometimes in the past, law enforcement has not received the support it needs and deserves.
politicians sometimes tire hands -- tie your hands and our hands with an effective policies and failed to recognize the difficulties your deputies face every day. sometimes they don't understand it or respect the importance of the work they do. this is not good. let me say this loud and clear, president trump and i are proud to stand with you. [applause] >> the most important thing any government does is to keep its citizens safe, and the first bill of rights is the right to be safe. too often enough we are seeing bad judgment, even politics enter into the work we do.
we are trying to confirm a number of important component heads of the department of justice. it is frustrating, i have got to tell you. includes, we are being blocked from confirming the head of the criminal division, the civil rights division, national security division. these are critically important components. we have outstanding nominees. our nominee to the national security division and terrorism division were approved unanimously in the community. but because of sometimes, and one senator's concerns over like reversings federal law against marijuana, we cannot even get a vote. as attorney general, i will have the authority to say something is legal if it is not legal. armedd our nominees since
-- nominees confirmed. safety and security is important. those of us gathered here no protecting the safety and security of the american people is the mission we share. that is what we do. president trump understands that law enforcement officers are not the problem, you are the solution. i know firsthand the important work each of you do. i was a federal prosecutor for 14 years. it was a small office, i knew hoss back then. now he is the high sheriff in baldwin county. i was blessed to work with law officers in my office, working cases and trying cases with them sitting at my side in federal court. i know what you do. small office but we work closely with our sheriffs, and we knew our sheriffs in our
district personally. ts ofe prosecuted raf cases, drug cases, gun cases, international fraud schemes, we prosecuted civil rights offenders, together we did. and you know on the question of civil rights, if one of your officers miss performs -- misperforms or abuses his office, i've never found that law enforcement objects to those persons being prosecuted. we certainly intend to do our duty there. certain incidents within a department to not call for federal control of those departments. [applause] >> you have historic jurisdiction. havehiefs of police historic jurisdiction. states have a certain degree of
sovereignty in what they do. we need to work together respectfully. there is nothing that i have been more proud of, i think, moretly, and felt satisfaction from being a united states attorney in working on this case is with you, and i know you feel the same way. line, we uselue that color loosely to cover our sheriffs, that stands between law-abiding citizens and criminals. between sanctity and lawlessness . you protect our families, secure our country from drugs and violence, the people of this country, i think and am confident, appreciate what you do. i was delighted that last summer, gallup released their annual poll that showed that overall confidence in law enforcement increased significantly last year.
that is a testament to the work that you are doing. i'm not sure if you saw this, but there was a survey recently that showed more and more of our young people want to go into law enforcement. according to the survey, it used to be the number 10 dream job for kids under 12, law enforcement. ,ow it is number three overall and for boys, it is number one overall. [applause] sessions: ieral like that. athletes dropped while law enforcement went up. i've got to tell you. doingells me we are something right. and what of my goals is to use what little bully pulpit influence i might have to celebrate the good things that you are doing.
so, i have also been hearing from law enforcement that isruiting new officers getting more difficult. well, i think that is a very serious issue, but maybe this poll shows that we have turned the corner a little bit? i certainly hope so. people to comet into law enforcement in feel that they are going to have a career of fulfillment and satisfaction and service to their community. we have got to keep that message out there every day. [applause] it was largely because of officers like your team the crime went down in this country over 20 years. that's a remarkable thing.
i was with former attorney general ed meese the other night, and he reminded me of what i generally know, but from 1964 to 1980, crime in america tripled. when i began as united states attorney in 1981, the murder rate was high. the murder rate has dropped to half of what it was in 1981. this is primarily the result of more sophisticated, better trained, smart policing and throughout this country. that is where most of the work is being done and we, and -- we hadvernment honesty in sentencing. we had no parole. we did a number of things that also helps turn that side. it was a long and historic the klein, something i don't think most people in the early 1980's thought was possible -- it was a
long and historic decline, something i don't think most people in the early 1980's that was possible. crime went up every year during that time. so, over the last two or three years, the country, and some leaders, i think, lost some focus that led to this progress, and our work, your work has become more difficult. the result of some of our missteps is that violent crime in 14, 15,nearly 7% and 16. robberies went up. assaults went up 10%. rape went up nearly 11%. murder shot up by more than 20% in two years. 15, which was the 1968 inincrease since homicide. another 8% next year. meanwhile, we suffered the deadliest drug crisis in our
history. with never seen anything like the 64,000 deaths we had last year. is just gracias, that unprecedented. the largest cause of death of americans under age 50, drug overdose, is really remarkable. i don't think it was a coincidence that violent crime and drug use rose during this time. i was reading one of our department funded studies that found that nearly a quarter of the increase in homicides is the of the increase in drug-related homicides. when i talk to people like you on the front line, they confirm that. some think it is even higher. i know one chief of police that it was 50%. his jurisdiction dealt with drugs. that should be no surprise.
if you want to collect a drug debt, you cannot sue in federal court. you collected by the barrel of a gun. addicts also become desperate and get into all sorts of terrible situations. so, we are not going to stand by -- you are not going to stand by and watch violence and addiction rise. plain and simple. we will not allow the progress made by our men and women in blue over the past two decades to simply slip through our fingers. cede one community, one street corner to violent drug dealers or gang members. we will protect the poor as well as we protect to the rich. i know you feel that. that is what we are going to do.
so, as attorney general, i am committed to combating violence, supporting your work. i made it a top priority at the department. the day that i was sworn in as attorney general, president a simple, me straightforward executive order. he knows how to do that very well. he said reduce crime in america. not preside over an ever-increasing crime rate, but bring crime rates down. well, we at the department of justice embraced that goal. we don't shrink from it, and you and i know from experience, it can be done, particularly if we are working together at a high level. some people do not think it is possible. like therime rates are tide. they just go up and down and nothing we do makes any , but strong law
enforcement and smart prosecution can bring crime down. we are going to prove it can be done. it is our goal to reduce homicides in america. to bring them down. we want to reduce opioid prescriptions. there's too much opioid prescriptions being put out in the streets today. i'm amazed. we have cases against doctors. a drug take down long ago and we had 50 doctors indicted. the dea isn the data putting together in this package that shows the buyers and positions and how much is being prescribed by certain physicians. it is shocking. this is got to be stopped.
people have failed to know, but you know how tough these addictions are. people cannot walk away and have a two-week treatment and never be bothered high drug addiction anymore. these are devastating diseases for people and they too often lead to death, family breakup, bankruptcies, mamas and daddies in jail forng up some offense or another. these are the important things. we going to work on that. we are going to reduce the overdose deaths. , 16, were 52,000 last year and 64,000 and 17. back that up. 16 was 64,000. 15 was 52,000. we think 17 numbers are coming in. we think that there will be a slight uptick, but we wanted to go down this year. down.
those are explicit goals we are talking about in the department. over the past year we have taken real action on that. in 2017, the department brought cases against the greatest number of violent criminals in a quarter of a century. i think that is a good partnership. we did a lot of those cases in the partnership way with our state and locals and it was a very good way to find ourselves together. we arrested and charged hundreds of people suspected of contributing to the opioid crisis. ofsecured the conviction
1200 gang members and worked with our international allies to arrest or charge more than 4000 ms 13 members and el salvador and they were pretty supportive. that is a big problem in el salvador. they do not need to import it here. if they are selling dope, they are out of here. i will tell you that. that success, they did not like it, ms 13. the director of the fbi's criminal division testified recently the ms or team gang members back in el salvador have taken notice of what has been happening. they know that hundreds of members are now behind bars, so they are trying to send younger, more violent gang members back to the united states to replenish their ranks, but that's not going to succeed either.
we are going to continue to as youhem and i hope people are out on the street, as , youdentify ms 13 members will help us because this is the most violent gang -- what is it -- murder rate in control is their motto? they are before -- by far the most violent gang. let's show them they cannot take over our street. -- let's show them they cannot take over our street. unionat the state of the and i had met in the state of new york previously some months before the mother and father of a girl who apparently disrespected the ms 13 people. with baseball bats and machetes. one of them had just turned 16 and the other was a day away and they murdered them with baseball bats and machetes. this is the kind of thing we cannot tolerate in this country.
reason.ere is another we're not going to stand by and cities toin sanctuary nullify federal immigration law if they want to receive federal grants. i do not want to defund any jurisdiction, cities, states, but we want them to rethink -- we want them to change their policies and to start to quad officers with our ice -- cooperate with our ice officers whose lives can be at risk when they are chasing someone down when just a few days before they were in the state slammer. we can do better. send fundsgoing to to jurisdictions that do not meet the minimum standards of
partnership. theof us have known how detainee system has worked for .ecades -- thistnership jurisdiction holds prisoners for another jurisdiction is fundamental to successful law enforcement. it is just basic partnership. i know this is important to you. ands in florida last week discussed our ongoing opioid crisis and i have a chance to meet with a number of florida sheriffs, and working with you, the national sheriffs association, the sheriffs have .orked out a statement with ice aliens held by these sheriffs are held under federal authority and they protected these sheriffs from being sued for doing their job.
i think that is -- hopeful that we will find it to be very successful. we have done this kind of thing before. andral government pays rents your spaces often to house his nurses. maybe a good way to work this thing to ease some people's concern -- by definition, it , removing such aliens, criminal aliens from our communities makes us safer, and i want -- makes us safer in that way. you know, if you admit somebody to the country -- and we can't admit all the people who apply -- we should admit people who were going to flourish here. we should admit people who can be successful here. we should not need people --
admit people who will come near to commit crimes. why would we do that? if they enter and commit crimes, they should be sent home. it's just that simple and that is what immigration law has always been about until somehow we have lost our understanding of what the us of immigration law is. i also would ask you to consider 287-g program. i think it is a fabulous program. i supported it in my early days in the senate. alabama was one of the first states to adopt it. we can train people in your department, in your jails so they can work effectively with federal law enforcement with minimum problems and maximum protection from liability problems. i'll bet that you will consider that as you go forward.
we are already starting to see some positive signs on the crime front. in the first six months of last year, the increase in the murder rate slowed significantly. and violent crime -- overall .iolent crime number went down preliminarily, we see, in the first six months of this year. publicly available data for the rest of the year suggest that we may see some further reductions there. major accomplishments that benefit the american people. without the do this leadership of you and your department. based on my experience
ruling on this for years. it just can't be a adopt it and carried out in federal court unless the evidence your officers can bring forward is sufficient to justify a federal forfeiture. then we have the opportunity to share the proceeds with the predominant amount of work. it is almost all my way of observation, drug dealers with often, 80% of so the cases, dea tells us are not even detected. didn't -- mama did not give them $20,000 cash. for heaven's sake. say, wellthey used to i want that in las vegas. they would say, well, have you been to las vegas?
records las vegas keeps of that money, so they don't get away with that as much as they used to, seems to me. should not profit from their crimes. that is the first thing you want to do. sheriff has been a longtime advocate for this approach and i particularly appreciate your leadership on it, helping law andrcement do their job there are techniques and things that actually work out there, and celebrating the noble, honorable, and challenging work of our law enforcement communities will always be a top priority of president trump and this department of justice. actuallyto orders, three orders when i was attorney general. to protect and -- to
protect the men and women in blue -- or brown, whatever color you wear. order was to go after these transnational criminal organizations. that is our mission. it comes from the top. we can do it. we can bring down the crime and get every american more peace of mind, that families can let their children play outside and not have to do as the mother of teenage girls told me, when they wait on the school bus, they have to stand with their children on the street corner. something is wrong when that happens. i want to close by reiterating my deep appreciation for the men and women of law enforcement, to me, personally, that you have
given to me. and i want to thank every sheriff in america. electeddependently sheriff has been the people's protector who keeps law enforcement close to and accountable to people through the elective process. the office of sheriff is a critical part of the anglo-american heritage of law-enforcement. i know this. you know this. we want to be partners. we want to strengthen you and help you be more effective in your work. the work that you do, that you have dedicated your lives to is essential work for our country. i believe it. the department of justice believes it. the president believes it, and
you can be sure of this. we have your back. you have our things. god bless. -- we have your back. you have our thanks. god bless. [applause] >> general sessions, thank you for being with us this morning. before you go, we want to present you with a small token of our appreciation. i challenge going. we look forward to your continued involvement in support
with the nation's sheriffs. [applause] i thinkr that -- sir, you have a few friends in the room. and you were right, we will see the president tomorrow, a number of us. he told us a year ago that our job was to work with you and work with congress to solve many of the problems we lay forth last year and i want to leave you with one final word before i know you have to go for a family thing. that you have our back. we have your back and the president's back.
>> god bless you. attorney general sessions: thank you all. god bless. [applause] ♪ journal"'s "washington live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. the discussion of the pbs frontline documentary "the gang crackdown" about the trump administration hulsey on targeting the ms 13 gang. then mark zandi discusses stock market volatility, the gop tax cut, and rising deficits. then we're live in little rock, arkansas for the next stop on forc-span 50 capitals tour a meeting with governor asa hutchinson for discussion of key policy issues facing the state. "washington journal" live 7:00
a.m. tuesday morning. join the discussion. >> the senate voted to move forward with the immigration debate monday. we expect to see a number of immigration proposals. a billrassley introduced that aligns with president trump's immigration priorities. they will address daca and border security. for many in the daca program expire on march 5. watch live coverage of the senate at 10 a.m. eastern on .-span2 >> c-span's history series "landmark cases" returns this month with a look at 12 new supreme court cases. experts join us to discuss the issues and personal stories behind the significant supreme court decisions. beginning february 28 at 9 p.m.
eastern and to help you follow the cases, we have a companion guide. "landmark cases, vol. 2." to get your copy, go to www.c-span.org/landmarkcases. >> supreme court justice ruth bader ginsburg talked about the #metoo movement and other movements over the last century. she was interviewed at the national constitution center in philadelphia. this is an hour and 20 minutes. [applause] >> good evening. i am ted ruger,