Police Union Offers a Blueprint for Trump

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Photo courtesy Wikkipedia

If President-elect Donald Trump and his Attorney General-designate, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), need advice on what they can do in the criminal justice arena during Trump’s first 100 days, the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) is providing it.

The 330,000-member union, the most prominent law enforcement group that supported Trump during the election campaign, has issued a two-page list of executive actions and legislation the new administration can pursue starting next January.

The FOP supports many items on the agenda, but the document does not represent a “wish list” for the group, says executive director Jim Pasco. Rather, he said, it is a prediction of items that Trump and Sessions, along with other federal agencies, may tackle when they take office next year.

Top item on the list is rescinding President Obama’s 2015 order limiting federal surplus equipment that had long been provided to law enforcement. Criticism of the “militarization” of U.S. police increased in reaction to the police response to rioting after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson in 2014.

The Obama order bars federal agencies from providing local police items like tracked armored vehicles, weaponized aircraft and vessels of any kind, grenade launchers, high-caliber firearms and ammunition and bayonets. Some law enforcement officials defended acquiring this kind of equipment for use in controlling rioters.

Another set of items on the FOP list involves ending federal aid to “sanctuary cities” that provide documents like driver’s licenses and other photo identification to those who are in the United States illegally. The FOP does not support the sanctuary city concept but it would oppose any Trump action to deny federal aid to such cities. “We do not support the withholding of public safety funds as a hammer,” Pasco told the Washington Times.

The FOP notes that Trump could expand the so-called 287(g) program in which state and local law enforcement agencies help enforce federal immigration laws.

Also largely as a result of the furor over Ferguson, President Obama named a task force on 21st-century policing that issued a lengthy report last year that the president’s administration is promoting around the nation.

Trump and Sessions could “de-prioritize” pursuing any or all of the group’s recommendations, the FOP says.

The FOP supported many of the task force’s recommendations but opposed others. For example, the union said it would be “needlessly bureaucratic” to have independent agencies such as special prosecutors investigate all cases in which police are accused of wrongdoing.

Trump and Sessions could order the 93 U.S. Attorneys who handle federal prosecutions around the nation to “prioritize violent crimes” and seek the death penalty in cases involving the murder of a law enforcement officer, the FOP says.

Given Trump’s “law and order” campaign theme, it would not be surprising for Sessions to change the priorities of federal prosecutors to stress violent crimes.

Many street crimes can be prosecuted either by federal or local officials, depending on the law that is invoked. In a widely cited program called Project Exile, the U.S. Justice Department has encouraged local authorities to refer cases involving violations of gun laws to federal investigators, because federal law provides for mandatory minimum prison sentences for many such crimes.

The FOP suggests that Trump can reverse what the union calls the ban on racial profiling by federal law enforcement agencies, a prohibition that dates from the presidency of George W. Bush.

By executive order, Trump can end the Obama administration’s ban on future contracts to use private prisons for federal inmates and immigration detainees. That seems likely given the president-elect’s statements praising private corrections facilities.

Trump could reverse the recent warming of U.S.-Cuba relations until “cop-killers harbored there” are returned to the U.S., the FOP says.

FOP suggests that Trump will pursue legislation in two criminal justice categories his opening months.

An “End Illegal Immigration Act” would establish a two-year mandatory minimum prison term for those who illegally re-enter the U.S. after a deportation, and a 5-year mandatory term for those with felony convictions who illegally re-enter the country.

The FOP also suggests a “Restoring Community Safety Act” that includes a “task force on violent crime” and an increase in federal funding for local law enforcement.

Trump and Sessions won’t act on every item the FOP listed just because the union endorsed him, but it seems likely that the FOP and the president-elect do see eye to eye on many issues.

When the FOP endorsed Trump in September, its president, Chuck Canterbury, said the Republican “has seriously looked at the issues facing law enforcement today.” The FOP noted that Trump had answered a questionnaire from the union, but Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton refused to do so.

Ted Gest is president of Criminal Justice Journalists and Washington bureau chief of The Crime Report. Readers’ comments are welcomed.


2 thoughts on “Police Union Offers a Blueprint for Trump

  1. FOP,
    While I understand what you initially organised for in the beginning (helping fallen officers and their families) I must say that over the years you have taken a detrimental stand against this nation, and citizens of it as a whole. In this demand letter (for lack of a better term) you are challenging our President elect Donald Trump to act outside of his constitutional bindings by asking for military equipment to be supplied to the police departments at the tax payers expense.
    “The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the United States of America.[1] The Constitution, originally comprising seven articles, delineates the national frame of government. Its first three articles entrench the doctrine of the separation of powers, whereby the federal government is divided into three branches: the legislative, consisting of the bicameral Congress; the executive, consisting of the President; and the judicial, consisting of the Supreme Court and other federal courts. Articles Four, Five and Six entrench concepts of federalism, describing the rights and responsibilities of state governments and of the states in relationship to the federal government. Article Seven establishes the procedure subsequently used by the thirteen States to ratify it.

    Since the Constitution came into force in 1789, it has been amended twenty-seven times[2] to meet the changing needs of a nation now profoundly different from the eighteenth-century world in which its creators lived.[3] In general, the first ten amendments, known collectively as the Bill of Rights, offer specific protections of individual liberty and justice and place restrictions on the powers of government.[4][5] The majority of the seventeen later amendments expand individual civil rights protections. Others address issues related to federal authority or modify government processes and procedures. Amendments to the United States Constitution, unlike ones made to many constitutions worldwide, are appended to the end of the document. All four pages[6] of the original U.S. Constitution are written on parchment.[7]

    According to the United States Senate: “The Constitution’s first three words—We the People—affirm that the government of the United States exists to serve its citizens. For over two centuries the Constitution has remained in force because its framers wisely separated and balanced governmental powers to safeguard the interests of majority rule and minority rights, of liberty and equality, and of the federal and state governments.” (Wikipedia)
    Article I, Section 8 – The Legislative Branch – “To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years; To provide and maintain a Navy”

    Article II, Section 2 – The Executive Branch – “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States”

    The powers of the individual Branches of government concerning the United States Military are clearly out lined in the Constitution. The separation of those powers concerning their duties and responsibilities are precise and distinct to each Branch.Article II which covers the governmental responsibilities of both Houses of Congress distinctly places the responsibility of provision for and maintenance of the military specifically in the duties of the United States House of Representatives and Senate.

    Congress therefor provides funding, for every aspect of military existence from operations to equipment. The specific responsibility , ” raise and support Armies,” and , “provide and maintain a Navy, ” are specifically out lines in Section 8. Additionally appropriating funding for this provision is stated as not to exceed a period of, “two years, ” without review by the Congress for the appropriation of funding.

    The actual use of the military Constitutionally is the sole responsibility of the Executive Branch and specifically The President of The United States as Commander in Chief. Article II, Section 2 specifically states that , “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States.”As Commander in Chief, the President is the appointed governmental head of the military and as stated in the Constitution he, ” he may require the Opinion, ” of Department Heads in his responsibility as Commander in Chief, but he alone is the sole Constitutionally appointed officer of the government for the military and responsible for the military, “when called into the actual Service of the United States.”

    The total misconception that Congress also has responsibility for military action is found nowhere in the Constitution. The sole responsibility of the Congress for the military is provision and maintenance. They have no authority to create or implement strategy, deployment, or any other command decision. The Congress can as a course of action to limit the command capability of the President cut funding to the military but have absolutely no Constitutional responsibilities concerning any command decisions or strategy for the use of the military.

    The President as Commander in Chief commands all decisions concerning use of the military in defense of the United States as part of his Constitutional oath to, “defend and protect the Constitution.” He does have to request from the Congress any and all funding for use of the military whether in war or in peace. The Constitution does not require the President at any time to consult with or receive authorization from the Congress for matters of strategy, deployment or any other commander decision when using the military in , “actual Service of the United States.”

    The authorization in declaring war is given by Congressional authority but once given whether in an actual official declaration of war or in a use of force resolution, the President then under his authority as Commander in Chief authorizes and delegates all command decisions as need be for military action.

    Any attempt by the Congress to micro-manage military action through legislation would first face a Presidential VETO. Then if that VETO were to be over turned the legislation would face a Supreme Court challenge in which the Court by strict Constitutional standards would be compelled to over turn because of the clear and distinct Separation of Powers in the Constitution concerning military operations and especially the use thereof in, “actual Service of the United States.”

    The only Constitutionally legal action that the Congress can take in ending the use of the military is through their authority of provision. They do have the Constitutional authority do de-fund military action which would force the Commander in Chief to end military action since he could no longer supply the Soldiers, Seaman, Marines and air Force with the necessary means to fulfill their duty in defense of The United States.

    Any other action by the Congress to attempt to control any aspect of the military other then funding is in direct violation of the Constitution and therefor under United States law illegal.” (The Constitution Series)
    So please note that the use of “military and equipment” is illegal to use on or against American citizens unless the United States of America is duly declared as a active military zone. So with the aforementioned articles of the Constitution of these United States of America the Fraternal Order of Police is here by knowingly and actively breaking the very laws that are the treads of you very foundational existence.
    So at this time I Troy Allen Riddle of Baytown, Texas here by demand a letter of explanation of intent, to explain why the Fraternal Order of Police is unconstitutionally breaking the law by sending this letter of demands to our President elect Donald Trump.

  2. Just what we need, private jails. Incubators for the worst abuses in prison housing in the history of the United States. Plus a good little business for those with an interest of incarcerating low-level offenders.

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