Police chiefs push for law enforcement legislation
The Alexandria, Va.-based International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) is pressing Congress to pass two pieces of law enforcement-related legislation. They include a grants program and the proposed Vertical Intelligence Terrorism Analysis Link (VITAL) Program that would ensure terrorism intelligence sharing between federal agencies and state, local and tribal law enforcement.
On May 24 the Senate approved $1.1 billion in funding through 2012 for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program (Byrne-JAG), and IACP President Joseph Carter said in a statement that the House of Representatives should do the same. “This measure would help law enforcement agencies fight against drug abuse, crime and violence, and it would improve the criminal justice system,” Carter says. In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs on May 23, IACP Second Vice President Russell Laine said that the Bush administration’s proposed 2008 budget reduces spending on law enforcement assistance programs, such as Byrne-JAG, by 85 percent from 2002’s funding of $3.8 billion.
House and Senate conferees are considering adding the VITAL Program to pending Homeland Security legislation. Carter sent a letter to the chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., in support of the VITAL Program. “It is IACP’s belief that [the VITAL Program] will help ensure that law enforcement agencies at all levels of government are equal partners, and that … state, tribal and local law enforcement [will be allowed to] participate more actively in the intelligence gathering and sharing process,” Carter says in the letter.