Pascrell Celebrates National Police Week Measures
Law enforcement co-chair heralds initiatives advanced during National Police Week
WASHINGTON, DC (May 15, 2019) – Today, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), co-chair of the Congressional Law Enforcement Caucus, marked the beginning of National Police Week by highlighting several recent measures undertaken to support law enforcement. First designated by President John F. Kennedy in 1962, National Police Week attracts thousands of survivors and law enforcement officers to our nation’s capital each year to honor those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
“Having well-staffed and properly equipped public safety departments is critical to ensuring our communities are safe. The importance of sustained federal funding on this front cannot be overstated,” said Rep. Pascrell. “In 2018, we mourned the loss of 144 officers who died in the line of duty, three of whom served in New Jersey. In particular, I wish to recognize the service of Police Officer Tamby Yagan of the Paterson Police Department for his 13 years of service. Our nation’s local, state, and federal law enforcement officers nationwide constitute both our first and last line of protection for the American people. These officers deserve our support and I am committed to ensuring that they have the resources needed to protect the public’s safety.”
REAUTHORIZING THE BULLETPROOF VEST GRANT PROGRAM
On April 30, Reps. Pascrell and Peter King (R-NY) introduced legislation (H.R.2379) to permanently reauthorize the lifesaving Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program, a federal grant program that helps state and local law enforcement agencies purchase lifesaving bulletproof vests for officers working in the field. The House passed Pascrell’s and King’s bill on May 15 by a vote of 400-9. You can view Pascrell’s floor statement here. Companion legislation was introduced in the Senate by Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
EMPOWERING PROBATION OFFICERS FACING VIOLENT SITUATIONS
On March 26, Reps. Pascrell and John Rutherford (R-FL) introduced the Probation Officer Protection Act, H.R. 1866, which would give federal probation officers the power to arrest third party individuals that obstruct a parole officer from carrying out their job. Under current federal law, federal probation officers lack the authority to issue third party arrests. Where a federal parole officer is obstructed or physically harmed by a third party while carrying out his or her duties, the officer is not allowed to arrest that third party. Instead, federal probation officers must request help from local law enforcement and wait for assistance. This hole in the law needlessly places federal probation officers, offenders, and responding law enforcement at risk of harm. Reps. Pascrell and Rutherford’s legislation would give federal parole officers the authority to arrest third parties that impede or pose a threat of violence to their work.
HONORING THE NATIONAL LAW ENFORCEMENT MUSEUM
Reps. Pascrell and Rutherford also introduced the National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act, H.R. 1865, which would authorize the minting of a coin in honor of the Museum. Some proceeds from the coin authorized in the National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act would be dedicated to support the activities of the new museum. Funding for the National Law Enforcement Museum was authorized by Congress in 2000, with ground broken in 2010. The museum was officially opened to the public on October 13, 2018. About H.R. 1865, Rep. Pascrell stated, “The National Law Enforcement Museum is a monument to the dedication and sacrifice of America’s Finest. The memorial to the fallen is one of the most touching shrines in our nation’s capital. It is fully fitting, then, that the museum enjoy the recognition of a minted coin in honor of our law enforcement officers.”
DEMANDING THE RELEASE OF FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT FUNDS
Rep. Pascrell has led the fight in Congress in seeking to protect Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants (Byrne JAG), the COPS Hiring program, and other key funding streams for state and local law enforcement. Pascrell stood with New Jersey elected officials in support of NJ Attorney General Grewal’s lawsuit against the Trump administration for continuing to hold hostage Byrne JAG and COPS Hiring program funds as a political pawn. Pascrell has also led New Jersey Democrats in demanding the Trump Administration disburse approximately $4 million in federal Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program funds to New Jersey