Towson police officer works to ‘maintain calm’

Keenen Green grew up in Parkville. It’s his old neighborhood and he knows it well. Now, in a twist of fate, Green patrols it as a Baltimore County Police Officer assigned to the Towson/ Precinct 6.

“I didn’t always want to be a policeman. When I was in high school, I began looking into careers and the more I read about it, the better it sounded,” said Green, 24.

Green was scheduled to be honored Tuesday by the Baltimore County Police and Community Relations Council as Towson/Precinct 6’s Officer of the Year for 2014. Nominated five times in 2014 as the precinct’s officer of the month, his supervisors chose him three times for that honor.

According to supervisors, wrote Wesley Wood of the police relations council, Green was instrumental in apprehending suspects for, among others, serious assault, first-degree burglary and commercial armed robbery. The most visible case he worked on was the murder at the Welcome Inn in August 2014. Green’s documented information directly led to the arrest of four people involved, including the shooter by the Baltimore County Police Homicide Unit.

Green, the son of Paula and Vernell Green, attended Halstead Academy, a Baltimore County public elementary school, where he credits Gary Dousett, the Baltimore County Police Department’s community outreach officer there, with being as close to a mentor as you can have at that age.

“His attitude, his selflessness” inspired me. “It was a positive experience,” said Green, a graduate of Dumbarton High School Class of 2009, who is studying for an associate’s degree in criminal justice from the Community College of Baltimore County. “Now I work with him.”

At the age of 19, Green was hired as a cadet with the police department, where he worked in the Evidence Management Unit until he reached 21, at which point he entered the Baltimore County Police Academy. Six months later, in June 2013, he was sworn in with the graduating rank of officer. He has since been promoted to officer first class.

Upon graduation, he was assigned to the Towson precinct, where has worked for the past two years. “It’s more than what I thought it would be,” Green said of being a policeman. “It’s a huge shift, a mindset, in how people treat you and how I treat people.”

When he talks about a shift, Green, who is African-American, isn’t referring to race. “Most people — 95 percent — treat you the same way,” regardless of race, he said.

Rather, he is talking about being super-cautious in responding to calls, “to making sure everyone goes home safe — the public and me,” said Green, who often responds to 911 calls.

“It’s usually the worst moment of [the caller’s] life. People are very emotional. I listen to both sides without bias. I maintain a level of calm,” he said.

Green also has a way of communicating in other situations that puts people at ease. “You don’t talk down to people. You treat them with some type or respect, and they’re willing to talk to you,” Green said. For example, during the interrogation of a suspect for one crime, Green found out that the man had witnessed the murder at the Welcome Inn, a key factor in helping to solve that crime.

Each of the 10 police precincts in Baltimore County has a Police and Community Relations Council, neighborhood groups that support the precincts. Each precinct council selects an Officer of the Year for that precinct. Capt. Jay Landsman Jr., commander of the Towson Precinct, provided the Towson council with synopses of 2014’s officers of the month for its decision.

Said Landsmann, “Officer Green has a level of maturity and skill beyond his two years’ experience” on the police force.

“It’s not just finding the bad guys. It’s the way Green does interviews, talks to people on the street and gathers information that assists [other officers] in building a case,” Landsman said.

As for Green, he sees himself staying with the police department and, eventually, segueing into the narcotics unit. “I want to get drugs off the street,” said Green, who is proud to be a police officer.

“It’s been a positive experience. I’ve enjoyed the past two years,” he said.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun

Fallen Hero Anniversary Date: Officer Charles A. Huckeba

The anniversary date of the line-of-duty-death of Charles A. Huckeba is Monday, July 6, 2015.

Officer Charles Huckeba was gunned down on July 6, 1977 in the Precinct1/Wilkens area while police were attempting to talk an armed, drug abusing man who was barricaded in his family’s home into surrendering.

Under Departmental regulations Memorial Ribbon Bars may be worn on the uniform, above all other ribbons above the badge, on the anniversary dates of Baltimore County police officers killed-in-the-line-of-duty.

Members are encouraged to honor and remember Charles A. Huckeba by wearing their Memorial Ribbon Bars on July 6th of each year.

Raffle to benefit the Baltimore City Officers Suspended without Pay

We are selling raffle tickets for the Baltimore City officers who are suspended without pay.  All proceeds will go directly to them.  Anyone interested in purchasing a ticket may come to the lodge and make a purchase or send a payment (cash or check made to FOP Lodge #4) to the lodge and we will fill out your information on the ticket(s).  Winners will be notified immediately after the drawing. Tickets are $10 each or 3 for $20.

raffle ticket sample

Maryland’s Highest Court Rules That Records of Police Misconduct Can be Kept From Public

Internal records related to a police officer’s misconduct cannot be disclosed to the public and are exempt from the Maryland Public Information Act, the Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.

The question before the state’s highest court centered on whether citizens have a right to know the outcome and other information about an investigation once misconduct allegations are sustained. In a 5-2 ruling, the court said the law exempts personnel information from disclosure and does not differentiate between “sustained” and “unsustained” complaints.

read the opinion:

http://www.mdcourts.gov/opinions/coa/2015/84a14.pdf

FOP President Canterbury’s Statement on Violence Against Police

FOP: A WEEKEND OF HATE IN REVIEW

Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, renewed his call for Congress to expand the existing Federal hate crimes law to include protections for law enforcement officers in the wake of the assault on the Dallas Police Department, an attack on Philadelphia police officers and the shooting of a Florida State Trooper.

“Talking heads on television and inflammatory rhetoric on social media are inciting acts of hatred and violence toward our nation’s peace officers,” Canterbury said. “Our members are increasingly under fire by individuals motivated by nothing more than a desire to kill or injure a cop. Enough is enough!”

“And what is the response from our leaders in Washington? The President and his Administration want to limit our access to anti-ballistic equipment and other surplus gear because it looks too scary,” Canterbury said. “The House passed a spending bill eliminating the program to help communities hire more police officers and refuses to reauthorize a program to help departments buy soft body armor.”

“We need help, we need the right equipment to keep us safe and we need Congress to protect law enforcement officers by expanding the existing hate crimes law to protect police officers.”

Canterbury recounted numerous incidents in the past several days in which law enforcement officers were deliberately targeted for death or injury:

**A gunman armed with assault weapons and explosives used an armored car to get close to the headquarters of the Dallas Police Department and opened fire in an effort to kill law enforcement officers. One of the pipe bombs the assailant had placed outside the building was detonated. Fortunately, no officers were injured in this full-scale assault. Law enforcement officers used .50 caliber rounds to disable the armored vehicle–rounds which new regulations issued by the Obama Administration are now“prohibited” from Federal issuance to State and local agencies.

**Just hours after the incident in Dallas, a gunman opened fire on Philadelphia police officers who were responding to a 911 call. The gunman then barricaded himself in a home resulting in a stand off that lasted several hours. The Philadelphia Police Department deployed a SWAT team and an armored vehicle to protect responding officers. These armored vehicles are now categorized as “controlled equipment” under the Administration’s new guidelines to make them more difficult for local law enforcement to obtain to “soften” the appearance of local law enforcement agencies. While no officers were injured, the gunman killed another man and himself before the incident was resolved.

**In Brevard County, a Florida State Trooper, Lieutenant Channing Taylor, approached a vehicle which was experiencing problems with the headlights while stopped at a gas station. As the driver was producing her drivers’ license, the passenger–a 15-year old boy–drew a handgun and shot Lt. Taylor. The officer returned fire, killing his assailant, and the driver attempted to flee. Lt. Taylor is expected to make a full recovery from his wounds.

“Our nation’s law enforcement officers are in harm’s way–that is the nature of our profession and we understand that goes with the job,” Canterbury said. “Yet we will not allow ourselves to be targets for every would be assassin that wants to make his name by killing a police officer and we deserve the support and respect of our national, State and local leaders.”

“This Administration needs to put public safety ahead of appearance when it comes to equipment programs, the House needs to fund hiring and soft body armor programs and Congress needs to expand the hate crimes law,” Canterbury said. “Summer is not quite here and I do not want to spend it attending funerals for officers killed just because they wear a badge. Enough is enough!”

The Fraternal Order of Police is the largest law enforcement labor organization in the United States, with more than 330,000 members.

Injured Baltimore County Officer and Family in Need of Assistance

On May 12, 2015 PFC James Morrison, a 16 year veteran of our agency and a 19 year member of the Maryland Army National Guard, was involved in a serious motorcycle accident which has left him paralyzed from the chest down.

Jim will be undergoing a period of extensive rehabilitation, and he and his family will be facing a series of financial challenges for his care, transportation, and housing modifications.

If you are interested in reading more of Jim’s story and are willing and able to contribute, an online donation www.crowdrise.com/supportforjimmorrison, has been established to raise funds for him and his family.

Donations to Baltimore City Fraternal Order Of Police Lodge #3

Dear Members and Supporters,
The messages of support and encouragement for the officers involved in the situation in Baltimore have been overwhelming. We are extremely grateful and humbled. Along with that support are the many, many people who wish to donate monetarily to support these officers during what appears to be lengthy judicial process. Please know that those donations are very appropriate as these officers will be suffering a loss or reduction of pay and benefits until such time as they are rightfully acquitted.

As often happens during times such as this, there are those who choose to prey on the kindness of others by falsely offering their own methods of donation collection, only to reap the benefit of that generosity for themselves.
As a result, Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge #3 is asking the public to be very wary of anyone or any group requesting donations. We are strongly advising that any donations be made to the following organizations as these are the only two with which we are currently associated.
1. Baltimore City FOP, Lodge #3 : By Mail: 3920 Buena Vista Avenue Baltimore, MD 21211 or through a link we have established on our website

Maryland’s Law Enforcement Bill of Rights is based on basic Constitutional Principles

Over the past several months there has been much discussion about police misconduct, transparency and accountability of officers. This has been magnified by recent national and local events.

There have been outcries from some citizens and politicians blaming Maryland’s Law Enforcement Bill of Rights (LEOBR) as the cause for these recent events. There has recently been a particular focus in the media and by Baltimore City’s Mayor on statements and interviews of officers after an incident. There have been reports and statements that officers cannot be interviewed about an incident because the LEOBR mandates that an agency cannot interview an officer for ten (10) days. Therefore, investigators cannot get the information needed to complete an investigation. This is simply inaccurate.

There are two separate and distinct investigations involved in situations such as these, a criminal investigation and an administrative investigation. At times they may be parallel but sometimes they conflict and as always, the criminal investigation must take priority.

In a criminal investigation officers have the same rights under the United States Constitution as any other citizen. Just because they are police officers does not mean they lose constitutional rights under the fifth and fourteenth amendments that are afforded to all citizens. They have the same absolute right to remain silent and the right to an attorney for representation and advice. A question often asked to police chiefs is “Why don’t you just order the officer to answer questions or provide a statement?” The answer is that one can order an officer to answer questions and provide a statement. The result would be that none of those responses, no matter how compelling, can be used in court because those statements would be inadmissible under the United States Supreme Court decision Garrity v. New Jersey 1967. Not Maryland’s Law Enforcement Bill of Rights.

In Maryland, administrative interviews or interrogations of law enforcement officers “for a reason that may lead to disciplinary action, demotion or dismissal” are governed by Public Safety Article 3-104 of the LEOBR. Specifically, 3-104J refers to an officer’s right to representation. An officer “has the right to be represented by counsel or another responsible representative” available for consultation during an interrogation as stated in the United States Supreme Court decision National Labor Relations Board v Weingarten 1975.

An officer may waive that right at any time and begin to answer questions immediately.

If the officer decides to consult with “counsel or another responsible representative” he or she has 10 days to have that representative available and present for an interrogation.

If the officer does not have representation available within the 10 days, the officer forfeits the right to representation and can be compelled to answer all questions. The ten (10) days is a deadline for the officer, not the agency.

Maryland Court of Appeals Grants Baltimore County’s Petition for Writ of Certiorarii

The Maryland Court of Appeals has granted the County’s petition in the retiree health care subsidy case. The case will be heard in the fall of 2015.

Granted April 17, 2015
Baltimore County, Maryland v. Baltimore County Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge No. 4 – Case No. 25, September Term, 2015

Issue – County Government – Whether public policy, as clearly delineated in the Baltimore County Charter, the Baltimore County Code, controlling Maryland case law, and the separation of powers doctrine, provides an exception to the enforcement of the arbitration award in this case?

Link to Court of Appeals

Police Cameras Bring Problems of Their Own

Police Cameras Bring Problems of Their Own
Authorities face mountains of video data that require processing and costly storage
By
Zusha Elinson and Dan Frosch
April 9, 2015 4:53 p.m. ET Wall Street Journal

As more police agencies equip officers with body cameras in response to public pressure, authorities are discovering they create problems of their own: how to analyze, process and store the mountains of video each camera generates.
Prosecutors in northern Colorado recently spent hours poring over a dozen videos captured by police wearing cameras. The case? An arrest for drunk and disorderly conduct.

Clifford Riedel, Larimer County’s district attorney, said his office has been overwhelmed with footage from the 60 body cameras the Fort Collins Police Department uses, and will need to hire an additional technician to sort through it all. “There are just huge amounts of data being generated from cameras,” said Mr. Riedel. “It used to be that video on a case was the exception. Now it’s the rule.”

The movement gained new intensity after the police shooting last week of a fleeing man in South Carolina. While many experts inside and outside of law enforcement agree that body cameras—clipped to officers’ uniforms or glasses—help increase police transparency and may even improve police behavior, police departments and prosecutors are struggling with how to sift through, preserve and share the visual evidence.

On top of that, agencies need policies and personnel to respond to requests from journalists and the public to release video under freedom-of-information requests.

“The vast majority of places are still trying to figure this out,” said Michael White, a professor of criminology at Arizona State University who wrote a Justice Department report on body cameras.

Dr. White estimates that between 4,000 and 6,000 U.S. police departments, out of about 18,000 nationally, use body cameras. Officers generally turn them on when stopping a driver or responding to an incident.

Some departments use body cameras in addition to dashboard ones that have become common at many agencies, but result in less-useful footage because much police action takes place away from their vehicles. Body cameras—which cost hundreds of dollars each—typically result in much more video for departments to handle.

The push to require body cameras intensified nationally after last August’s shooting of Michael Brown, a black 18-year-old, by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo. This week, after a bystander’s cellphone video surfaced showing a white South Carolina policeman fatally shooting an unarmed black man in his back, several prominent state lawmakers voice support for a bill to require all officers to wear cameras.

But the cost has given some officials pause, said Lindsay Miller, senior research associate at the Police Executive Research Forum and co-author of a Justice Department report on the topic. “The cameras themselves aren’t overly expensive, but the years and years of data storage you’re going to deal with—that can definitely be cost-prohibitive,” said Ms. Miller.

Many departments keep inconsequential video for 30 to 60 days. But if the footage is evidence in a criminal case, it must be kept longer; most states require that video in a homicide case be kept indefinitely, she said. Ms. Miller said an emerging consensus is that the benefits outweigh the costs. In limited studies, the cameras have shown promise in reducing use of force by police and citizen complaints—and that can save money spent investigating complaints and settling lawsuits, she said.

In Oakland, Calif., the police department deploys 560 body cameras, enough for nearly every officer on duty, said Sean Whent, the chief of police. Their use results in about five to six terabytes of data every month—equivalent to about 1,250 to 1,500 high-definition movie downloads—said Mr. Whent. That data is stored on a department server for two years at a minimum—or longer if it is needed in a criminal or disciplinary case, he said.

In the future, Mr. Whent said he anticipates either using a cloud-storage service or reducing the retention period because of the sheer size of the data.

“It’s absolutely worth the cost—the public today demands a greater amount of accountability and transparency on the part of police,” he said. “The cameras have a civilizing effect on the police and the people who know they’re being recorded.”

In Berkeley, Calif., officials are weighing whether to outfit officers with cameras. Police estimate it could cost up to $135,000 to buy 150 cameras at $900 a pop. But it could cost an additional $45,000 a year for a limited data-storage plan priced at $25 a month per camera—and officials have raised the possibility of also hiring new employees to sift through all the video.

The cameras “will create an enormous amount of data. Who gets access to it? How does it get stored?” said Laurie Capitelli, a Berkeley City Council member. “What appeared to be a no-brainer in terms of bringing accountability to the force has raised a lot ancillary questions.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has pledged to purchase 7,000 cameras. The cost of data storage and maintenance is estimated at $7 million a year, a spokeswoman said. The city plans to include money for the program in its coming budget and seeks federal funds as well. The department already purchased about 800 cameras with money raised by private donors.

Seattle police wrestled with how to release footage from body cameras to the public—a dilemma highlighted by a public-records request for videos last year. The department decided to launch a YouTube channel that shows heavily blurred-out video with no audio to protect the privacy of people and officers.

Getting the videos on YouTube is a mostly manual process, but the department is working to automate it. Seattle police are also working on tools to redact sensitive information from audio files, which could be added to the YouTube files.

“Where do people put videos if they capture police behaving inappropriately? They put it on YouTube, so we put our videos on YouTube,” said Mike Wagers, the department’s chief operating officer. “That was a middle ground.”

Police brutality reforms sought by city leaders failing in Annapolis

Legislation sought by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and other city leaders to deal with police brutality complaints has failed in Annapolis.

One bill introduced at the mayor’s behest has been killed, and the other is being quashed in committee. With a week left in the annual 90-day legislative session, only a handful of relatively minor bills remain alive in the General Assembly that would seek to hold police more accountable for how they treat citizens.

One of the surviving bills, which gained preliminary approval in the House on Friday, seeks to help reinvigorate the city’s troubled civilian review board. Another passed by the House would require law enforcement agencies to report annually on each officer-involved death.

But advocates say they’re bitterly disappointed by the meager results of their campaign to reform the system for disciplining police. They rallied in Annapolis and testified for multiple bills, including several seeking changes in the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights and spelling out how and when police should use body cameras to record their interactions with the public.

“It’s discouraging that they’re going against so many bills, and so many bills are not coming out,” said Marvin L. “Doc” Cheatham, past president of the Baltimore NAACP. “There’s got to be some compromise,” he added. “There need to be some improvements.”

Advocates felt they had momentum on their side in pushing for more police accountability. A Baltimore Sun investigation last year found that city taxpayers had paid nearly $6 million since 2011 to settle 102 lawsuits alleging police brutality and other misconduct. Officers had battered dozens of residents during questionable arrests, the investigation revealed, resulting in broken bones, head trauma, organ failure and even death. The findings were amplified by a nationwide uproar over police-involved deaths of unarmed black men in Missouri and New York.
Rawlings-Blake and Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts asked for a civil rights review by the U.S. Department of Justice, and declared their support for outfitting officers with body cameras as a way to rebuild public trust. But the mayor also called for legislation to help crack down on police misconduct.

One bill, which would have created a new felony “misconduct in office” charge for officers, was killed by the House Judiciary Committee. Another measure would have made it easier to discipline officers without them having the right to appeal; it languishes in the House Appropriations Committee.

Del. Maggie McIntosh, the Baltimore Democrat who heads that panel, said she does not intend to bring it to a vote. With law enforcement organizations solidly against it, she said, there’s not enough time left in the legislative session to resolve all the concerns.

A third bill put in by several city lawmakers would have authorized Maryland’s attorney general to prosecute police officers accused of excessive force. It was also killed in committee.

House Judiciary Committee leaders said they spiked that bill, as well as others relieving the state’s attorney’s office of responsibility for trying police brutality cases, because the other legal agencies aren’t really set up to handle them. And, like McIntosh, they said they needed more time to weigh proposed changes to the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights. They plan to study it after the session.

“It’s a law that has been in effect for more than 40 years,” said Del. Kathleen M. Dumais, a Montgomery County Democrat who is vice chair of the Judiciary Committee. “It is not something that should be changed lightly.”

A spokesman for Rawlings-Blake said she intends to keep pressing for her stalled bill until the legislative session ends at midnight April 13.

“We think we have a real opportunity, in a reasonable and measured way, to make progress in building trust between the police and the community — and we’re going to keep fighting until the end,” said Kevin R. Harris, the mayor’s spokesman.

Harris said the mayor has taken “a series of steps” on her own, contending that excessive force complaints are down while police trial board convictions are up. But he said Rawlings-Blake still believes legislative change is needed to do more.

“There’s a real feeling as though police officers are playing by a different set of rules from everybody else,” Harris said. “There’s example after example where the Officers’ Bill of Rights has been a barrier.”
Leaders of the city and state Fraternal Order of Police dispute such criticism, and say they’re glad lawmakers held back.

“Everybody’s turning the Bill of Rights into a bogeyman,” said Gene S. Ryan, president of Baltimore FOP Lodge 3. While it protects the rights of police officers accused of wrongdoing, Ryan said, “nowhere near does it keep bad officers here.” He estimated that nearly 300 officers had been terminated in the past 12 years.

Vince Canales, president of the Maryland state FOP, said that while Rawlings-Blake may have been seeking legislative help to speed up the disciplinary process in Baltimore, her bill would have undermined due-process protections for police officers statewide. He contended that her bill was “totally unnecessary.”
“There was an initial outcry that the process may not work as quickly as some would like to see it work,” said Canales, “but no one could argue or contradict the fact that it still works.”

The Maryland Chiefs of Police Association and the Maryland Sheriff’s Association likewise said they feared that piecemeal changes to the law would undermine commanders’ ability to discipline officers.

Del. Curt Anderson, chairman of Baltimore’s House delegation, said he and other reform advocates made a strategic error in pushing so many different bills, instead of narrowing down the changes they were seeking and concentrating their efforts.

“It’s easy to pick apart 14 or 15 different bills by nine or 10 different legislators,” the city Democrat said. “We should have gotten together first … and come up with a comprehensive approach.”

Whatever the reason, advocates contend that lawmakers have failed to respond to an urgent need.

“They had a real opportunity to make some improvements in police practices and take steps to help improve the police community relationship,” said Sara Love, public policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland. “This issue isn’t going away.”

Baltimore Sun reporter Mark Puente contributed to this article.
twheeler@baltsun.com
Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun

Police body camera rules narrowly failed, while easing measure survives

Amid the batch of police accountability legislation that has foundered in Annapolis this year, civil-rights advocates say they’re particularly frustrated over the failure of a bill that would have set rules for officers’ use of body cameras.
Barely a handful of relatively minor bills dealing with law enforcement accountability remain alive in the General Assembly.

But one that supporters say almost advanced is a measure introduced by Del. Sandy Rosenberg, a Baltimore Democrat. It would have spelled out the circumstances under which body cameras must be used to record police interactions with citizens – and when they could be turned off for privacy or other reasons.

Supporters of the legislation, HB627, argued that ground rules are needed to ensure body cameras are used appropriately. But police chiefs, sheriffs and others contended in hearings the legislation was too rigid for the complicated situations officers often find themselves in. They argued that departments should be free to develop their own policies.

Talks ensued between the ACLU and the chiefs and sheriffs, which nearly produced a breakthrough, according to Sara N. Love, public policy director for the ACLU of Maryland.

We agreed on almost everything,” Love said. The sole sticking point, she added, was over who should be able to see the videos recorded by police body cameras.

Law enforcement groups wanted to limit access to the authorities and the individuals captured on camera. The ACLU, though, contended the public has a broad right to recordings of police-citizen interactions, with some limitations.

The state Public Information Act already gives authorities latitude to withhold inappropriate or degrading recordings, Love said. It balances privacy concerns against the broader right to know what their government is up to, she contended.

But with complete agreement elusive, the House Judiciary Committee killed the bill. That effectively killed the companion measure, sponsored by Sen. Victor R. Ramirez, a Prince George’s County Democrat.
“We will work to attain agreement on this issue in the coming months,” Rosenberg said.
The House has passed a far different body-camera bill, one that eases a limitation on the use of the recording devices. It also lacks consensus.

That measure, sponsored by Del. Charles E. Sydnor III, a Baltimore County Democrat, would exempt law enforcement officers from the state’s wiretap law, which requires consent of both parties before any conversation is recorded.

Baltimore County officials, who are studying outfitting officers with body cameras, say it’s neither feasible nor appropriate, especially in tense situations, to make police ask citizens if it’s all right to record them. They’ve said the legislation would help in deciding to go forward with deploying body cameras.

But the ACLU’s Love argues that filming people without letting them know they’re being recorded undermines the purpose of having body cameras.

“Part of the reason for having body cameras is the hope that people will behave better – both law enforcement and (citizens) – if they know they’re being recorded,” she said.

That bill is slated for a hearing Tuesday before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.


Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun

BLUE ALERT AND BULLETPROOF VEST PARTNERSHIP BILLS PASS SENATE COMMITTEE!!!

Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, welcomed news that the Senate Committee on the Judiciary considered and favorably reported S. 125, the “Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) Grant Program Reauthorization Act,” and S. 665, the “Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act,” by voice vote.

“These two bills are key pieces of the FOP’s Officer Safety Agenda, which we outlined earlier this year, and we’re so grateful to Senator Leahy for all of his work on both bills, but especially the BVP,” Canterbury said. “And of course, we sincerely appreciate Chairman Grassley’s making good on his word to move these bills early in the year. Without his efforts, it was likely both bills would have been pushed off until next month.”

The Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) grant program provides matching Federal funds to State and local law enforcement agencies allowing them to purchase or upgrade the soft body armor worn by their officers. More than one million vests have been bought through this program, which has greatly increased the safety of officers on the beat. The legislation favorably reported by the Committee today would reauthorize the program through 2020.

The “Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act,” would provide for local, regional, and national dissemination of time sensitive information that would help apprehend a suspect accused of killing, kidnapping, seriously wounding, or who may pose an imminent and credible threat to a law enforcement officer.

The Interim Report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing recommended the establishment of a National Blue Alert System and the re-authorization of the BVP program.

The Committee considered both bills on a single vote and four Senators requested that their vote be recorded as “Nay.” They are: Senators Jeffry L. Flake (R-AZ), Michael S. Lee (R-UT), David A. Perdue (R-GA) and Jefferson B. Sessions III (R-AL).