Police Association on Stalled Criminal Justice Reform Talks: 'Quit Playing Politics with People’s Lives'

Posted: Jul 31, 2021 11:45 AM
Police Association on Stalled Criminal Justice Reform Talks: 'Quit Playing Politics with People’s Lives'

Source: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

The National Fraternal Order of Police called out lawmakers for Congress' stalled criminal justice reform negotiations, telling one House Democrat to "quit playing politics with people’s lives."

Congress has been working toward a bipartisan police reform bill since the death of George Floyd last May. However, progress on the bill looking to alter policing standards has been stalled as the deadline for an agreement, once again, has been pushed back.

FOP National President Patrick Yoes on Friday sent a letter to Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), the chair of the House Appropriations Committee, about the House's recent draft of the police reform bill.

Yoes said the House bill could "have a disastrous effect on the ability of law enforcement agencies nationwide to cope with the exploding violent crime rate."

He also mentioned that FOP and the International Association of Chiefs of Police were working with Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.) on draft legislation regarding his concerns but that, prior to an email from DeLauro this week, the House had not "shown any willingness to engage" with police about their thoughts on the bill.

"The bottom line is that the proposed language will hamper good police work by depriving departments of desperately needed funds and adding to the growing list of victims of violent crime," Yoes said.

A major concern of FOP was the bill prohibiting the  Community Oriented Policing Services Office funding from going to policing agencies that engaged in a collective bargaining agreement with a labor organization in the event that it stops the attorney general "from seeking relief in pattern and practice investigations or that conflicts with a consent decree."

FOP was also critical of a provision that would not allow law enforcement agencies to receive COPS grants unless local or State governments pass a law that would permit them to be recipients of such funding.

"In effect, this language is punishing law enforcement agencies if local or State governments do not bend to the will of Washington—which means less resources for law enforcement agencies to keep our communities safe," Yoes said in the letter.

"It is infuriating to us that those on the left and those on the right seem obsessed with ensuring that NOTHING is done with respect to criminal justice reform while wringing their collective hands over the lack of action," the letter continues.

Yoes urged the lawmakers to come together to find solutions instead of making a political issue out of an issue where people's lives are at stake.

The letter continues, "they say that politics is a blood sport, and that’s fine, but let’s try to staunch the real blood that’s flowing, shall we?"

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