Today, Reps. Michael G. Grimm (R-NY), Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), Dave Reichert (R-WA), and Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR) hosted a bipartisan Police Week press conference thanking members of law enforcement for their daily commitment to keeping our communities safe and highlighting last night's passage of the Grimm-Pierluisi National Blue Alert Act. Members also highlighted their support for the COPS, Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS), and Byrne-JAG Programs.
"As a former FBI special agent, it is a privilege to stand with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle in support of law enforcement, especially during Police Week. I am extremely grateful for the brave men and women of the NYPD who serve New York City under Commissioner Ray Kelly, and for all our nation's law enforcement officers and agents. It is for this reason that I proudly introduced the National Blue Alert Act, which passed the House last night, and fought for the full funding of the COPS hiring program and the Regional Information Sharing Systems. Our law enforcement agents are the true heroes of our communities, and not only do they deserve our sincerest gratitude, but our unwavering support to ensure they have the tools and resources they need to keep our cities and our country safe," said Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY).
"When it comes to our police officers and public safety, we're all on the same side. I'm proud we've been able to come together, Democrats and Republicans, to stop these foolish cuts to the COPS hiring program, Regional Information Sharing Systems and Byrne Justice Assistance Grants. We're going to stand up and protect our cops the way they stand up and protect our communities every day," said Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), co-chair of the Congressional Law Enforcement Caucus.
"Creating the National Blue Alert system is a crucial step forward in protecting our communities and preventing further tragedy. When a criminal murders a law enforcement officer, speedy apprehension is essential to protecting the public, preventing further loss of life and returning peace to communities. By creating a system to quickly disseminate crucial information, we empower ordinary citizens and public safety officers, increasing the speed of justice. It is my honor to add to the tools that officers at every level will use to keep America safe," said Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA), co-chair of the Congressional Law Enforcement Caucus.
"I am very pleased that the National Blue Act passed the House yesterday. This demonstrates that Republicans and Democrats can stake out common ground and identity solutions to the problems that confront us. In Congressman Grimm, a former FBI agent, I have found a partner to advance legislation to promote security and combat crime. I want to again thank our nation's law enforcement officers for their service and their sacrifice. Please be assured that you can continue to count on me and my colleagues here today to stand with you and to make sure you have the tools you need to complete your critical mission," said Rep. Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR), former Puerto Rico Attorney General (1993-1997).
"I would like to commend Congressman Grimm, a true law enforcement leader, House Law Enforcement Caucus Co-Chairs Pascrell and Reichert, and other congressional leaders for demonstrating their unwavering support for America's Finest by creating the National Blue Alert Act," stated Jon Adler, FLEOA National President.
"The need for Congress to invest in the law enforcement community is now more critical than ever before. Public safety, the lives of our families and friends, is being adversely affected by the cuts to funding brought upon by budget reductions and shortfalls. Funding for the COPS Hiring Program goes directly to law enforcement departments and can immediately be used to hire police officers," Tony Wieners, New Jersey State PBA, a member of the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO).
"Law Enforcement personnel are vital to our Nation's security. Certainly with the new Homeland Security risks we face, the job of law enforcement has only become tougher and yet they take the oath and become the true front line in our war to defeat terror. During this week and every week I hope we remember the commitment and sacrifice that law enforcement officers have made on our behalf," said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX).
"In honor of National Police Week, I am proud to be part of this bipartisan effort to support our law enforcement. In Upstate New York, our police officers keep our communities safe every day. It is imperative that we ensure they have the resources they need to do their job most effectively, and it was for that reason I was pleased to support additional funding for the COPS Hiring Grants as well National Blue Alert Act," said Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY).
"When I served as mayor, I saw the commitment and dedication of law enforcement professionals every day. Law enforcement officers go to work not knowing if they will return home at the end of their shift. They put their lives on the line every day to protect our communities and to keep our neighborhoods safe. We owe our law enforcement professionals a tremendous debt of gratitude, so we in Congress are working to support them with the resources they need to keep people safe and return home safely," said Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA).
"As we celebrate National Police Week, I am pleased to join with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to honor our law enforcement and thank them for all they do each and every day to protect our communities. An important part of honoring our law enforcement is ensuring they have the federal support they need to do their jobs. COPS Hiring Grants provide critical funds to local law enforcement, keeping more police on the beat and making our streets safer, and I will continue working to see the COPS program gets adequate funding," said Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA).
In addition to thanking members of the law enforcement community, press conference attendees touted recent efforts in Congress, specifically the House passage of the Grimm-Pierluisi National Blue Alert Act (H.R. 365), which creates a national "Blue Alert" communications network to disseminate information on suspects sought in connection with the death or injury of a law enforcement officer. Similar to the nationwide AMBER Alert system for missing children, the Blue Alert would rapidly notify law enforcement agencies, the media, and the public to help aid in the apprehension of these violent criminals.
Members also touted successful efforts to fully fund programs that support law enforcement, such as the COPS hiring program, which helps adequately staff our nation's police forces; the Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS) Program, which helps different levels of law enforcement share information to fight crime and terrorism; and the Byrne-JAG Program, which supports state and local government programs to fight crime and improve criminal justice.
Rep. Grimm offered a special thanks to the Sergeant's Benevolent Association, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), the National Association of Police Officers, the Fraternal Order of Police, the National Sheriff's Association, & the International Brotherhood of Police Officers.