December 2015 Newsletter
Law Enforcement Leaders in National Spotlight
Law Enforcement Leaders are speaking out in the media to shape the conversation about the country’s incarceration crisis. Co-Chair Ronal Serpas appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered to discuss FBI Director James Comey’s remarks on rising crime and on MSNBC to speak about policing and criminal justice reform, noting that “We know that we can reduce arrest and we can reduce incarceration at the same time. And we have plenty of evidence and stories to show it.” Politico repeated Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck’s call for adequate re-entry programs: “It does no good in my estimation to arrest for these offenses over and over and over again with no place for them to go but back onto the street to continue that cycle,” while New Haven Police Chief Dean Esserman talked to The Atlantic about repairing police-community relationships. Read additional coverage at CBS, CNN, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Slate, Time, and others.
Since Law Enforcement Leaders’ launch in October, its ranks have grown to over 150 members. New members include former New York State Supreme Court Appellate Justice and former U.S. Attorney Salvatore Martoche, San Antonio, Texas Police Chief William McManus, and Oregon District Attorney John Hummel. View the full membership here, or click here to become a member.
Members Push for Reform in Their States
In advance of the 2016 legislative sessions, members have been vocal about the need for change in their home states. San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman and former San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne opined in the San Diego Union Tribune about the impact of Proposition 47, a ballot measure which reduced penalties for some drug and property crimes. Gloucester Police Chief Harry Earle appeared on Philadelphia CBS to highlight his office’s program providing drug counseling to low-level offenders, and Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland published an op-ed in The Pearland Journal urging more funding for alternatives to incarceration such as drug treatment and job training. Portland Maine Police Chief Michael Sauschuck unveiled a new program to help tackle rising opiate use, modeled after the Seattle LEAD program which connects drug offenders with treatment. And former U.S Attorney Timothy Purdon appeared on the Mike McFeely Show to discuss how North Dakota can reduce its prison population.
Members also spoke out at events around the country, including the bipartisan Operation Reform summit in Florida and a meeting with Grammy-winning musician John Legend and his group #FreeAmerica on reforming prosecutorial practices.
Leaders Meet with Key Federal Policymakers
Law Enforcement Leaders is meeting with top political leaders to advance its reform agenda. As several key criminal justice bills, such as the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act and the Sentencing Reform Act, make their way through Congress, the group’s leadership will meet with critical members of the House and Senate to urge adoption of sentencing reform. Fourteen former U.S. Attorney members, including former Virginia U.S. Attorney Timothy Heaphy and former Texas U.S. Attorney Matthew Orwig, wrote a letter to Rep. John Boehner and Sen. Mitch McConnell advocating for tailored drug sentencing, increased earned time for offenders enrolling in drug treatment or job training, and meaningful supervision of ex-offenders upon release. And former Alabama U.S. Attorney G. Douglas Jones spoke to Salon about reducing federal mandatory minimums, explaining “More incarceration is not necessarily the safest way to do things.”
The group’s leadership also met with the policy directors of the major Democratic and Republican presidential candidates to advocate for the group’s policy priorities.
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