Rep. Pascrell Announces Police Week Measures
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), Co-Chair of the Congressional Law Enforcement Caucus, announced the completion of a successful Police Week. Several measures passed by Congress this week in support of law enforcement officers across the nation. First proclaimed by President John F. Kennedy in 1962, National Police Week has grown to a series of events that attracts thousands of survivors and law enforcement officers to our Nation's Capital each year.
“In a bipartisan manner, the Congress last week took several actions to honor the brave men and women who put their lives on the line in service to their communities. Last year our nation tragically lost 145 officers in the line of duty, four of whom were from New Jersey. This year we have already lost 46 brave officers. Our nation’s state, local and federal law enforcement officers nationwide constitute both our first and last line of protection for the American people. Having well-staffed and properly equipped public safety departments is critical to ensuring our communities are safe,” stated Rep. Pascrell. “Our law enforcement officials work tirelessly to protect our families and business, and I am committed to ensuring that they have access to the resources they need to uphold the public’s safety. Whether it’s responding to an act of terrorism, a natural disaster, or daily patrol duties, our communities depend on the preparedness and capabilities of our law enforcement to keep them safe.”
PEACE OFFICERS MEMORIAL DAY
On Monday morning, Rep. Pascrell joined Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Mayor Richard LaBarbiera and Police Chief Kenneth R. Ehrenberg in Paramus to highlight Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week. The members discuss efforts to fight for federal funding for federal law enforcement hiring and equipment grants, as well as policies to support public safety.
WHITE HOUSE LIT BLUE
Reps. Bill Pascrell and Dave Reichert sent a letter (link here) to President Donald Trump requesting the President to illuminate the White House in blue on the night of May 15, 2017 in honor of Peace Officers Memorial Day. Blue lights are traditionally used as a symbol of recognition and appreciation of law enforcement. The President agreed to their request by lighting the White House blue on Monday night to honor the more than 21,000 officers who have given their lives while serving their communities.
PASSAGE OF PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICERS’ BENEFITS IMPROVEMENT ACT
On Wednesday, the House passed the Senate version of Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) Improvement Act of 2017. This legislation includes a provision from legislation (H.R. 5123) authored by Rep. Pascrell in the 114th Congress. The Pascrell provision would make an important change in the determination of eligibility for public safety officer benefits for officers that die in the line of duty. This provision makes it less burdensome for families of fallen public safety officers to qualify for PSOB.
PASSAGE OF HOMETOWN HEROES ACT
On Thursday the House voted to approve the Hometown Heroes Act. Rep. Pascrell is an original cosponsor of this legislation authored by Rep. John Larson (D-CT) to allow the governor of a state or territory (or the Mayor of the District of Colombia), to order the lowering of the flag to half-staff if a first responder dies in the line of duty. This legislation is supported by major national first responder organizations, including all three of the congressional first responder caucuses. The flag code was last amended in 2007 by the Army Specialist Joseph P. Micks Federal Flag Code Amendment Act (Public Law 110-41) that expanded the criteria when a Governor can order the flag to be lowered to half-staff to include members of the Armed Forces who die while serving on active duty.
PASSAGE OF PROBATION OFFICERS PROTECTION ACT
On Friday, the House of Representatives passed the bi-partisan Probation Officer Protection Act of 2017 (H.R. 1039), a bill that enhances federal probation officers ability to do their job by giving them authority to arrest a third party who forcibly interferes with an officer’s performance of his or her official duties. The bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 229 – 177 and awaits further action in the Senate. (Press release)
IMPLEMENTATION OF NATIONAL BLUE ALERT
After nearly two years of waiting, the Department of Justice announced the nationwide rollout of the National Blue Alert Network on Friday, which was created by the Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act of 2015. This bill was sponsored by Reps. Pascrell and Reichert, who jointly chair the House Law Enforcement Caucus, and was signed into law by President Obama on May 19, 2015. The National Blue Alert Network will help apprehend violent criminals who have injured or killed police officers or who have made an imminent or credible threat to cause serious injury or death to a law enforcement officer. (Press release)