Chuck Canterbury, president of the National Fraternal Order of Police, will be nominated to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Politico reports. Canterbury has been under consideration for several months after the group supported a White House-backed sentencing reform bill. Canterbury’s support for the First Step Act caught its opponents off guard, as the police organization had opposed it. Though the legislation gained support from both sides of the aisle in Congress, police groups initially viewed it as too permissive and lenient on criminals. The organization eventually backed the measure — which was backed by presidential aide and son-in-law Jared Kushner — and it passed overwhelmingly last year.
The bill eased minimum sentences for certain drug offenses and increased rehabilitation programs. Its backers included unlikely allies, from the conservative Koch network to the American Civil Liberties Union. The ATF directorship has been a notoriously difficult post to fill after the National Rifle Association lobbied to make it a Senate-confirmed position. The NRA has lobbied against several appointees, leaving the post vacant at one point for seven years. The last director to serve not in an acting capacity was B. Todd Jones, who was confirmed in 2013 and left in 2015. He had served as acting director since 2011. In addition to leading the Fraternal Order of Police since 2003, Canterbury became a major in the Horry County Police Department in South Carolina after 26 years on the force.