National Law Enforcement Summit On Crime In 2017
On October 18th, the nation’s leading police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors, and attorneys general from across the country gathered in the nation’s capital for a National Law Enforcement Summit on Crime. Hosted by Law Enforcement Leaders, this Summit convened police and prosecutor officials to discuss a coordinated response to recent crime trends while presenting a law enforcement-approved agenda to policymakers.
Crime remains at historic lows. But the country faces new public safety threats, such as an increase in opioid use, uptick in murders in some cities, and tensions in police-community relations. The voice of law enforcement is critical to inform the best responses to these crime challenges.
In recent years, conservatives, progressives, and law enforcement leaders have come to agree on the need to reform the criminal justice system so that we reduce both crime and unnecessary incarceration simultaneously. As we face new crime challenges together, we must avoid past mistakes and embrace modern, effective strategies.
This Summit gave voice to the perspective of the men and women on the front lines of the fight to keep our country safe on what those policies should be. Prominent law enforcement discussed their views on why overly-punitive policies are counterproductive to public safety, and profiled the work they have done in their localities to advance more modern strategies.
- Click here to view the event program.
- Click here to see the press release.
- Click here to read Founding Chairman Ronal Serpas’ welcome remarks.
- Click here to read our Steering Committee’s letter to President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
- Learn more about Law Enforcement Leaders here.
As reported on Washington Post, our coalition of police chiefs, sheriffs, and prosecutors from the nation’s biggest cities implored the Trump administration on Wednesday not to return to the “lock ’em all up” crime-fighting policies of the 1980s and 1990s and focus limited resources on fighting violent crime, not on low-level drug offenders.
“The measure isn’t how many people we put in jail,” said Ronal Serpas, former superintendent of the New Orleans police and the founder of the Law Enforcement Leaders. “The measure is whether the right people are put in jail. And that’s the people we’re afraid of, not the people we’re mad at.”
“I believe our country is at a crossroads,” Former Attorney General Eric Holder said, quoted by The Guardian. “We run the risk of igniting another drug war that will fill our jails.” The former attorney general’s views were echoed by conservatives at the event, such as Mark Holden, the senior vice-president and general counsel of Koch Industries. The Guardian reports that the billionaire Republican mega-donors, have been vocal proponents of criminal justice and policing reform.
The Hill quotes Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, “We’re all calling on you, our state and local leaders, to be our banner on this [criminal justice reform],” who told law enforcement leaders at the National Law Enforcement Summit on Crime in Washington, D.C. Yates also encouraged law enforcement leaders to “hopefully persuade” President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions on the issue of criminal justice reform.
“We are grateful to the Trump Administration for prioritizing the cause of fighting crime and violence. They have consistently supported our mission, and acknowledged the difficulties and dangers of our profession. We stand ready to work with the White House and Justice Department on constructive policies to advance public safety,” said Ronal Serpas, Founding Chairman of Law Enforcement Leaders and former Superintendent of the New Orleans Police Department. “As members of law enforcement, we do not believe that public safety is served by a return to tactics that punish without strong purpose. From decades of experience on the front lines, we have learned first-hand that these responses are ineffective to reduce crime. There is an alternative to these counterproductive policies. That’s what we are here to discuss today.”
“Few voices are more vital to the criminal justice debate than those of the men and women we entrust to protect our communities,” said Mark Holden, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Koch Industries. “Today, the nation’s most respected law enforcement leaders laid out tactics that their decades of experience have shown will best reduce crime and unnecessary incarceration. The Administration and Congress should heed their valuable advice. Koch Industries views bipartisan criminal justice reform as a moral, fiscal, and conservative issue, and remains committed to advocating for comprehensive reform.”