February 2017 Newsletter
Police Chiefs and Prosecutors Release Blueprint for President’s Anti-Crime Agenda
Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration released a five-part agenda Monday outlining specific steps the new Administration can take to promote public safety. The group urged President Donald Trump to embrace policies that reduce incarceration rates while strengthening efforts to fight violent crime, after he issued several executive orders on crime last week.
In a statement announcing the agenda, the group’s founding chairman Ronal Serpas applauded the public safety focus of the president, and asked the administration to embrace the lessons of the past.
“Law and order comes best when we have smart policing. It need not be a synonym for unnecessary arrests, prosecutions, and imprisonment. We know that doesn’t make us safer,” said Serpas, the former New Orleans Police Superintendent. He penned the foreword to the report with former Dallas Police Chief David Brown, the group’s new co-chairman.
Fighting Crime and Strengthening Criminal Justice: An Agenda for the New Administration outlines five concrete steps President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions can take as part of a robust anti-crime agenda: prioritize fighting violent crime, enact federal sentencing reform, increase mental health and drug treatment, bolster community policing, and expand recidivism reduction programs in prison. The group also requested an in-person meeting with President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan to discuss public safety policies.
* White House Photo by Francisco Diez from New Jersey, USA CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Former Dallas Police Chief David Brown Joins Law Enforcement Leaders as Co-Chair
Brown (right) joins co-chair Ronal Serpas as the head of the group, which unites nearly 200 current and former police chiefs, sheriffs, federal and state prosecutors, and attorneys general from all 50 states to urge for a reduction in both crime and incarceration.
Brown has been a member of Law Enforcement Leaders since the group launched in October 2015 and was a 33-year veteran of the Dallas police department until his retirement in September. He rose through the ranks from a patrol officer to become the chief of police in 2010.
“We’re thrilled to have David join our leadership,” said Serpas. “He commands deep respect in our community after dedicating three decades to protecting the citizens of Dallas, where he developed a national reputation as a strong leader who prioritized strengthening police-community relations. His insight will be a great asset to our work advocating for commonsense policies that will help law enforcement reduce both crime and incarceration and, ultimately, make our communities safer.”
Oklahoma Task Force Releases Prison Reform Recommendations
A task force convened by Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) announced recommendations earlier this month aimed at tackling the state’s high prison population.
In its report, the task force recommended sentencing reforms for nonviolent drug offenses, expanding eligibility for parole, additional funding for substance abuse treatment and mental health programs, and more.
Task force members project the recommendations could reduce the number of people behind bars in Oklahoma by 7 percent over the next 10 years. Currently the state has the second highest incarceration rate in the country, and leads the nation in the incarceration of women.
Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration members sent two letters in support, one from an Oklahoma member — Norman Police Chief Keith Humphrey — and the other from members in surrounding states.
Fallin (pictured above) also highlighted criminal justice reform in her State of the State address, citing Law Enforcement Leaders’ support in her speech.
“There is unprecedented conservative support on this issue from groups such as the American Conservative Union and Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration,” she said. “Meanwhile, smart, conservative states such as Texas, Utah, Georgia, Kentucky and South Dakota are already headed this direction and these states have seen better public safety outcomes by pursuing similar reforms.”
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