On November 29, 2009, four police officers in Lakewood, Washington were tragically shot and killed as they prepared for the day ahead. Through later investigation, it was discovered that the perpetrator that murdered the policemen was a convicted felon on parole, and that information was not effectively transmitted to the necessary authorities.
This week, Representatives Dave Reichert (WA-08) and Adam Smith (WA-09) introduced H.R. 817, the Department of Justice (DOJ) Global Advisory Committee (GAC) Authorization Act, to improve information sharing between all local, state, and federal law enforcement across the country.
"As a former cop and sheriff, I know that the more information law enforcement agents have, the better they can do their jobs," said Reichert, the former Sheriff of King County who served 33 years in law enforcement, "This bill will improve communication among members of law enforcement and enhance the security of communities across the country. When the lives of cops and citizens are at stake, law enforcement officers must have all available information at their disposal so that they may effectively serve and protect the well-being of those citizens who count on them every day and to safeguard their colleagues."
This legislation would continue to provide technical and financial support for GAC. Additionally, the bill would require that the Attorney General (AG) reviews information sharing between state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies and issue a report to Congress highlighting GAC's review and recommendations to improve data interoperability and information sharing policies.
"Concerns about public safety have come under the national spotlight in recent months," said Congressman Adam Smith. "This legislation would help enhance information sharing between all levels of law enforcement, which can only help improve law enforcement officials' ability to keep our communities safe."
GAC, which consists of over 30 representatives from law enforcement and criminal justice organizations, was established in 1998 and advises the AG on how to improve best practices and information sharing within the law enforcement community. The committee provides a forum to discuss strategies and potential solutions to keep our communities safe.