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NAPO had a very successful year in 2019 moving legislative and policy priorities, including the enactment of two of the biggest priorities: the permanent reauthorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and the permanent repeal of the “Cadillac Tax”; NAPO priority legislation passed by the House or Senate in 2019 includes: Protecting America’s First Responders Act, Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act and Restoring Tax Fairness for States and Localities Act. NAPO is looking forward to building off the incredible momentum we gained in 2019 on these priority bills and seeing them signed into law in 2020; President Trump signed into law the National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act, which directs the U.S. Treasury Department to mint and issue up to 1.2 million gold, silver, and copper clad coins celebrating the National Law Enforcement Museum in Washington, D.C. Proceeds from the coins’ sale will provide a needed future stream of private funding for the Museum to ensure its permanence; Find out how your representatives and senators voted on NAPO’s priority legislation by reviewing NAPO’s Legislative Scorecard for the first term of the 116th Congress; and It’s the last chance to register for NAPO’S 32nd Annual Pension & Benefits Seminar to be held at Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, Jan. 26-28, 2020. Click on the link below to register. For more details on these are other legislative issues, click below on the Jan. 17, 2020 Washington Report.
Renderings Courtesy of National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund
By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor with excerpts from news media
The National Law Enforcement Museum needed another source of funding to pay off the $103 million in bonds borrowed to build it. That funding source was approved when President Trump signed the National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act into law in late December 2019.
The new law directs the Department of Treasury to mint and issue up to 50,000 $5 gold coins, 400,000 $1 silver coins, and 750,000 half-dollar clad coins that are emblematic of the National Law Enforcement Museum and the service and sacrifice of law enforcement officers throughout the history of the United States. The museum is located at 444 E. Street in Washington DC’s Judiciary Square.
Proceeds from the sale of the commemorative coins will help endow programs and exhibits at the museum. The legislation was supported by several national law enforcement organizations, including NAPO.
“This bill comes with no cost to the taxpayer – all funding will come from the sale of the coins to private citizens,” Rep. Bill Pascrell, sponsor of H.R. 1865, wrote in a co-sponsor request to Congress. “No funds will be distributed to NLEOMF until after the U.S. Treasury has recouped all of its costs for designing and minting the coins.”
Since the Washington D.C. museum opened in October 2018, funding projections for ticket sales have not met projections and repayment of the bonds was falling behind.
According to a March 2019 Bloomberg Businessweek article, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund reported a $6.1 million net loss in 2018, leading it to raise museum ticket prices and cut 12 percent of staff. The fund could keep operating over the next year, it reported in a February 2019 regulatory filing. However, investors were informed by the organization in January 2019 that it probably wouldn’t make interest payments on debt due in 2020, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.
Museum spokeswoman Robyn Small said in a March 2019 Washington Business Journal article the museum has met its obligation on outstanding A and B bonds, but did short pay a C bond.
The three-story, largely underground 57,000-square-foot facility dates back to President Bill Clinton’s administration, which approved the museum site in 2000. The museum landed several corporate sponsors and in 2016 construction began. One of the primary goals of the interactive, high-tech museum is to enrich the relationship between law enforcement and the community through educational journeys, immersive exhibitions, and insightful programs.
Museum attendance was projected at 420,000 paying visitors in the first year, but in its first three months, the museum had only brought in about 15,000 people at $21.95 per adult, according to the Bloomberg report. The projected figure was dropped to 300,000 in January 2019.
“We attribute the underpayment to an over estimation of attendance during our first quarter,” Small said in an email to the Washington Business Journal. “Since that time, we have re-evaluated our attendance projections and made some internal organizational changes.”
In 2019, the Museum offered special programs to draw in larger crowds. The Commemorative Coin Act is expected to fill the funding gap that remains.
“Proceeds from the sale of the commemorative coin will provide a much-needed funding stream to the non-profit National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund for educational outreach programs and the exhibits at the National Law Enforcement Museum,” Rep. Pascrell said during House consideration of the legislation.
Minting of the coins is slated to begin in January 2021 and end in December 2021. Details on how to purchase the coins will be publicized at the beginning of 2021.
For more information about the museum or to make a donation, visit https://lawenforcementmuseum.org/, call (202) 737-3400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor with excerpts from WJRT
When Montcalm County first responders arrived at the scene of a deadly head on collision on M-91 in October 2018, they had no idea who the unharmed toddler strapped inside the car seat was. As they scrambled to extricate the driver from her vehicle, they removed the child and, after evaluating her condition, worked to calm her.
Both were taken to Kelsey Memorial Hospital in Lakeview. The driver, later identified as local Tri County Schools kindergarten teacher Shelly Gilman, was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The toddler was Shelly’s 19-month-old granddaughter, Hudson. “She was later identified by someone working in the ER who knew the family,” said Montcalm County Sheriff Mike Williams. “Had that information been available to first responders that would’ve been very helpful. When you’re a first responder and you have a child in distress … that can be a comforting thing to refer to a child by their own name. That type of thing can be really impactful for people who are victims in these crashes.”
So when Sheriff Williams heard about the We Have a Little Emergency (W.H.A.L.E.) program a couple months later, his ears perked up. “I’m part of Stanton Rotary. We had a guest speaker who talked about the W.H.A.L.E. program,” Williams said. “This fit the exact scenario we had. In a nutshell, it’s a child car seat identification kit with a sticker that goes on the bottom of the car seat and stickers that go on the sides of the seat.”
W.H.A.L.E. provides emergency personnel with the child’s identity, emergency contacts and medical information.
Montcalm County Central Dispatchers, a POLC-represented unit, had their hands tied as far as reaching Hudson’s parents or other relatives and being able to obtain her medical history at the scene.
“Dispatchers are that lifeline for all the first responders,” Williams said. “Dispatch is helping facilitate any type of communication for people on scene and people elsewhere (such as family), so when they have a crisis at a scene … this is something that would help them do their job.”
“I’m excited for it because it’s really going to help dispatch, especially if there’s a (young) child,” said Amy Thomas, Montcalm County Central Dispatch 911 Director. “Anytime you have an accident like that you’ll have children that are scared. A lot of times, it’s really when the first responder feels helpless. It will expedite the process to find a guardian for the child.”
“Without (the W.H.A.L.E. program) there would be a lot of digging … trying to figure out who the registered owner is,” Thomas said. “When an accident happens, there’s a lot of other things going on. We have got to make sure you have all the rescue and ambulances you need.”
By having someone the child knows come and get that child in those critical situations, it frees up first responders to focus on helping the injured. “I’ve been in Dispatch for 20 years,” Thomas said. “It’s a really stressful thing. When first responders have this, it will take a lot of stress off the dispatch center to find someone quickly, especially for a child who is not able to talk.”
The kits are provided free to the public, but cost the department some money, so William’s reached out to Shelly’s husband, Bob Gilman, who kicked off the campaign with a $1,000 donation. Other community members have donated over $1,500. “He was very enthusiastic about doing this,” Williams said. “Shelly was a teacher in Sand Lake. She was very well known in the community and it was a big loss.”
W.H.A.L.E. kits are available at the Sheriff’s Office or Central Dispatch in Stanton. Montcalm EMS carry them, and the Sheriff’s Office is handing them out at festivals. Williams said he shared the kits with area departments, including Wyoming Police, another POLC-represented unit.
“I’ve sent a couple to people outside the county as well,” Williams said. “We’re trying to spread the word. The kits instruct parents what to do. There’s nothing to register. It’s just easy and a good information source if unfortunately, that need ever arises.”
For more information about W.H.A.L.E., email Sheriff Williams at email@example.com or call (989) 831-7590. You can also see more about the W.H.A.L.E. program on Facebook.
Today is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. Though it’s nice that a day has been set aside nationally to recognize the dedicated job you all do, PLEASE know that we here at the Police Officers Labor Council appreciate you all year long and we give thanks daily that you have placed your trust in us. Thank you for your service. Thank you for your dedication to doing the toughest job and Thank You for being YOU, our most valued members!
Excerpted from National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund
Law enforcement 2019 line-of-duty deaths dropped 18 percent compared to the previous year, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
In 2019, 128 federal, state, local, tribal and territorial officers died in the line of duty as opposed to 157 officers in 2018, as reported in the 2019 Preliminary End-of-Year Law Enforcement Fatalities Report.
“While we’re certainly pleased to see a decline in the number of officer line-of-duty-deaths this year, the reality is that more than 100 officers lost their lives,” said Memorial Fund CEO Marcia Ferranto. “That means we’ve still got a great deal of work to do. We’ve been tracking this information for more than 20 years, and the loss of even one life is difficult, particularly when these brave men and women wake up every day to keep the rest of us safe.”
Firearms-related fatalities were the leading cause of death in 2019 with a total of 49, a 6% drop compared to 52 in 2018. Of the 49 fatalities, eight officers were killed responding to domestic or public disturbance calls. Seven officers were attempting to arrest individuals and another seven were killed while conducting investigative activity. Six were ambushed and another six were shot and killed responding to a robbery. Four officers were killed while serving felony warrants and engaging in tactical activity.
Most of these officer deaths involved handguns. Twenty-seven were shot and killed with a handgun; seven with a rifle and one officer was killed with a shotgun.
Traffic-related fatalities decreased 12 percent, with 43 deaths compared to 49 deaths in 2018. Of those, 13 officers were killed in crashes with another vehicle or fixed object. Twelve died in single-vehicle crashes, 14 percent less than the 14 officers killed in 2018 single-vehicle crashes. Seventeen officers were struck and killed outside of their vehicle, and one was killed in a motorcycle crash.
Line-of-duty deaths due to other causes decreased 36 percent. Thirty-six officers died of causes other than firearms- or traffic-related incidents in 2019, while 56 officers were killed by other causes in 2018. Job-related illnesses, such as heart attacks or strokes, accounted for 19 officer deaths, a decrease of 37 percent over the 30 who died in 2018. Twelve officers died due to cancers related to search and recovery efforts after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. One officer was strangled, one died in a fire-related incident, one drowned and two were fatally beaten.
Texas lost the most officers with 17 line-of-duty fatalities. New York had 11 deaths, followed by California with nine and Alabama with seven. Georgia, Illinois, and Tennessee each had six officer deaths. Florida and New Jersey each had five, followed by Louisiana, Mississippi, and Washington with four deaths each. Ohio and Colorado each had three officer deaths. Six other states lost two officers each and 13 states lost one officer each. Six federal officers, three territorial and four tribal officers were killed in 2019.
Of the fallen in 2019, 119 were male and nine were female with a median age of 43 years and average of 14 years of service. On average, each officer left behind two children.
There are 21,910 names of officers killed in the line of duty inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC, dating back to 1786. The statistics released are based on preliminary data compiled by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and do not represent a final or complete list of officers who will be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in 2020.
Click here for a complete copy of the preliminary 2019 Law Enforcement Fatalities Report.
In a significant victory for NAPO and our members, Congress repealed the “Cadillac Tax”, the 40 percent excise tax on employer-sponsored health plans, as part of the Fiscal 2020 appropriations agreement (H.R. 1865); In another victory for NAPO, the House passed the Restoring Tax Fairness for States and Localities Act (H.R. 5377) by a vote of 218-206. This bill would temporarily eliminate the cap on the state and local tax (SALT) deduction for tax years 2020 and 2021. The bill also includes the language of the Supporting America’s First Responders Act, which reinstates above-the-line itemized deductions for work-related out-of-pocket expenses for first responders; Congress passed the final Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations bills just in time to avert a government shutdown. The final appropriations agreement, which funds the government through the end of the fiscal year, was split into two bills, H.R. 1865 and H.R. 1158. H.R. 1865 included eight appropriations bills as well as a tax extender package and the repeal of the “Cadillac Tax” and H.R. 1158 covered the Defense, Homeland Security, Commerce-Justice-Science, and Financial Services appropriations; Don’t forget TOP COPS nominations are due by January 13th! Please take the time to nominate examples of outstanding police work for this prestigious award. We count on you, our members, to help us get the word about TOP COPS out and obtain nominations for officers nationwide; Don’t miss out on your chance to join NAPO for our 32nd Annual Police, Fire, EMS & Municipal Employee Pension & Benefits Seminar to be held at Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, January 26-28, 2020. For more information on these and other legislative initiatives, please click on the Dec. 20, 2019 Washington Report below and related links.
With lawmakers wrapping up their last session day of the year before heading home for the holidays, the House and Senate sent a 10-bill package of Internet and sports betting legislation to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer who is expected to sign them into law; The House and Senate have passed, and sent to Gov. Whitmer, a deal that was struck between Republican legislative leaders and Gov. Whitmer that brings almost to a close the ongoing dispute over the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 budget. In addition to the $573.5 million in restored spending contained in two supplemental bills (SBs 152 and 154) Gov. Whitmer agreed to give the Legislature a 30-day heads up if the state Administrative Board attempts to move money around with departments (HB 5176), which gives the Legislature the ability pre-emptively to act; Michigan Secretary of State is launching new self-service stations, replacing 93 existing kiosks and adding 57 more for a total of 150, according to Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. New stations will be located in grocery stores, including Kroger and Meijer and customers will pay a technology fee of $3.95 for every vehicle renewed at a self-service station; Legislation (HB 5041) has been introduced by Rep. Tyrone Carter (D-Detroit) that would allow for stop-arm camera systems to be added to school buses to photograph or video the license plate numbers of cars that pass illegally while students are loading or unloading; Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist has signed into law legislation (SB 174) that would require egg producers to make sure all Michigan egg-laying hens are in cage-free systems effective December 2024; and Gov. Whitmer is urging the Legislature to pass legislation that would pause the implementation of the Medicaid work requirements in Michigan until the federal courts determine whether or not they are legal. But Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey in quick response to her request told reporters, “Nope, not necessary.” For more information on these and other legistlative issues, please click on the December 2019 Karoub Report below.
Please join NAPO for the 32nd Annual Police, Fire, EMS & Municipal Employee Pension & Benefits Seminar to be held at Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, Jan. 26-28, 2020. Participate in discussions on the pressing topics that are affecting your pension fund and benefits. Click on the Registration Brochure below for more information; NAPO is working with Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) House Ways and Means Committee staff on efforts to increase the cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions and reinstate above-the-line itemized deductions for work-related out-of-pocket expenses for first responders; A recent Oregon Supreme Court ruling regarding officer inquiries during traffic stops limits officers to questions “reasonably related” to the purpose of the traffic stop or that have “an independent constitutional justification”. Under this ruling, officers cannot ask unrelated questions during a traffic stop unless the officer can justify them on other grounds; With an increasing number of states and localities banning or considering banning law enforcement’s use of facial recognition technology, NAPO has joined with national law enforcement organizations to oppose legislative efforts to impose any moratoriums or bans on the ability for federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to use this technology in support of public safety. For more information on these and other legislative issues, please click on the Dec. 9, 2019 Washington Report and related links below.
Don’t let your TOP COPS nominations get lost in the holiday shuffle! The January 13th deadline for nominations will be here before you know it.
Please take the time to nominate examples of outstanding police work for this prestigious award. NAPO counts on members to help get the word out about TOP COPS and obtain nominations for officers nationwide. Join NAPO in honoring America’s Finest by nominating a case today.
Click on the nomination form below, which must be postmarked or faxed to (703) 684-0515 by Jan. 13, 2020. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact NAPO’s Director of Events Elizabeth Loranger at firstname.lastname@example.org or (703) 549–0775.
2020 marks the 27th year NAPO has hosted the TOP COPS Awards®. The TOP COP Awards® Dinner will take place Thursday, May 14, 2020 at MGM National Harbor Hotel & Casino, coinciding with National Police Week.
With your help and partnership, the TOP COPS Awards® will continue to be a tremendous success!
Photos courtesy of MLEOM The newly constructed Michigan Law Enforcement Officers Memorial dedication ceremony was held in July. The panels are removable so future names of Michigan Officers who die in the line of duty can be added to the monument.
By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor with excerpts from MLEOM.org
When a Michigan police officer dies in the line of duty, they are recognized by fellow officers, family, friends and the news media, but now their memories will live on in another way as their names are added to the newly constructed Michigan Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Monument (MLEOM) in Lansing.
Nearly 500 people came out for the reveal of the state’s long awaited law enforcement memorial coined “The Sentinels,” near Veterans Memorial Park, at the corner of Allegan Street and Butler Boulevard in downtown Lansing July 27, 2019.
Family members of fallen officers, members of the law enforcement community, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and the public joined the Michigan Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Monument Fund Commission for the monument dedication ceremony.
Lefty, the granddaughter of Michigan State Police (MSU) K9 Gero, sits in front of one of the 10 illuminated panels at night. MSU Captain Mary Johnson worked with Gero as a K9 Officer. Lefty posed near Johnson’s brother’s name, fallen Michigan State Police Trooper Rick L. Johnson.
The ceremony included a reading of 588 fallen officers’ names, which are inscribed on 10 sentinels.
To locate a particular officer’s name at the memorial, visit the MLEOM website and click on Fallen Officers. Names are arranged alphabetically by department on the website. Within each department, the names are in chronological order by their end of watch date. Each name listing includes their sentinel number and whether the officer’s name is on the east or west side of that Sentinel.
The “Sentinel” design by David Milling, of David Milling & Associates/Architects of Ann Arbor was modified in 2017. It includes 10 sentinels – 4’ X 8’ metal panels engraved with the names of fallen officers – ‘standing vigil over the memories of those lost.’
“It’s amazing and phenomenal. We really appreciate that this has finally come to be,” said Michigan State University Police Captain Mary Johnson, an MLEOM Commissioner. “People are going there to reflect and find the names of people they know and have worked with.”
For Johnson, the name she was looking for was her brother’s, Michigan State Police Trooper Rick L. Johnson. Trooper Johnson’s end of watch was May 6, 2000. The 35-year-old died shortly after he was struck by a car during a traffic stop on I-94 in Van Buren Township.
“Every time you go down there it’s like a reunion because you run into people you know,” Captain Johnson said. “It’s such a great purpose. There’s so many people going down there to use that as a place to remember and come to some peace. They’re still dealing with the loss of the people they worked with … and family members.”
MLEOM Commission Chairperson Lin Emmert’s son, Grand Haven Department of Public Safety Officer Scott Flahive’s name is also on one of those Sentinels. Officer Flahive was 28-years-old when he was shot and killed Dec. 13, 1994 after stopping a vehicle containing an escapee from the Ottawa County Jail.
“It looks awesome, particularly at night, as the panels are lit from within,” Emmert said.
The monument project began after Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed PA 177 into law in 2004, creating the Michigan Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Monument Fund. In early 2018, Gov. Snyder signed a supplemental appropriation for a $1.18 million grant to build the Memorial Monument, pushing the 14-year fund-raising efforts past the goal needed to begin construction.
The first line of duty officer death recognized is Deputy Marshal Charles Ring of Saginaw PD in 1864. Over 200 Detroit Police Officers names are inscribed, including three who died in 2018. Detroit Police Lieutenants and Sergeants Association made a $1,500 donation at the dedication ceremony, where each of the fallen officers’ names were read.
Construction is nearly complete with some landscaping and lighting to be finalized, however, donations will continue to be needed for site maintenance.
“New names will need to be added, and that is an expensive project because the panels need to be removed with heavy equipment in order to add names,” Emmert said. “We’d also like to have an on-site and/or online way for people to locate their officer(s).”
The Commission is also looking into the possibility of an educational/historical component housed in the Library of Michigan across the street from the memorial.
To donate online with a credit card, visit www.mleom.org, then go to DONATE and click on DONATE NOW or call 517-241-4083. Make check or money order donations to Michigan Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and mail to: Michigan Dept. Technology, Management, & Budget/Financial Services, Cashiering Unit/Law Enforcement Memorial, P.O. Box 30681, Lansing MI 48909-8181.
For more information about the memorial monument, visit www.mleom.org.
The Michigan Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Monument can be seen day or night.