On Tuesday, March 28, 2017 the National Executive Board was invited to meet with President Donald J Trump. After the meeting was scheduled we learned that Vice President Spence and Attorney General Sessions requested to be in the meeting with us as well.
The invitation was also extended to Chicago Lodge #7 President Dean Angelo and to John McNesby the Philadelphia Lodge #5 President. The Administration was very interested in the increases of violent crime in our major cities and the Administration also wanted to discuss the DOJ response to the pattern and practice investigations.
This meeting allowed our Chicago Lodge to bring matters that affect the rank and file officers directly to the President and to the Attorney General.
Philadelphia had been involved in an investigation but did not end in any findings that would require a consent decree. The AG is very interested in this because he feels that taking over local police departments is not effective and he agreed with the FOP that collaborative agreements are far more effective in making real changes, as usually problems are caused by systemic bad management.
In the meeting, we also discussed the role of State and local law enforcement in fighting terrorism and the fact that there is a severe shortage of boots on the ground. This lead to discussion on retaining and recruiting and they are interested in finding ways to assist State and local agencies in this area.
It appears that they agree that reducing standards is not the answer to the recruitment problems. We pitched tuition reimbursement as well as programs that were present in previous LEAA programs.
We also discussed issues involving pensions and health care and have asked them to make sure we are at the table on these issues. We expressed that these issues are hurting recruitment and retention. We affirmed our support for eliminating the Cadillac Tax and explained that our retirees were being priced out of health care and needed assistance.
We discussed the opioid epidemic and offered our expertise to serve on any Federal commissions or task forces to reduce the addictions.
We also discussed Sanctuary Cities advising The President that as an organization we support the Administration’s position but we were concerned about losing Federal grant funds to assist State and local law enforcement agencies and noted that only the citizens suffer if these funds are withheld.
We ended our meeting discussing the need to expand Federal hate crime legislation and the need to reduce violence against police. The President’s Executive Order created an advisory group on reducing violence and we have asked to have a seat at that table as well.
Other priority issues, like the changes imposed by the Obama Administration on equipment programs like the 1033 program, were not addressed at this meeting due to time constraints; all, however, are continually discussed with the Administration by the National Legislative Office staff and have been discussed with the Attorney General.
Chuck Canterbury - National President Fraternal Order of Police