The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Law Enforcement Calls for Policing Policies That Improve Community Relations

 Letter and Police Bill Votes Coincide With Police Week


More than two dozen current and former law enforcement officers sent a letter to Congress speaking out against bills currently under consideration that would increase incarceration rates and penalties. The American Civil Liberties Union also sent letters opposing the bills.

The House of Representatives is voting today on the Thin Blue Line Act (H.R. 115) to unnecessarily expand the federal death penalty to anyone who kills or attempts to kill a member of law enforcement. The death penalty is already a punishment for these crimes. On Friday, the House will vote on the Probation Officer Protection Act (H.R. 1039), which expands federal probation officers' authority to arrest individuals who are not on probation. These two bill votes coincide with national Police Week.

In their letter, more than 30 law enforcement officials wrote:

"We are deeply troubled by recent legislative and executive actions that support this divisive 'law and order' rhetoric and that chip away at our hard-fought efforts to sustain long-term trust between our communities and law enforcement agencies."

Kanya Bennett, ACLU legislative counsel, said:

"Law enforcement officials know that our country urgently needs police reforms that rebuild the relationship between the police and communities, as it is crucial for our public safety. Congress should advance policies that are supported by both law enforcement and the communities they serve. They should not cater to Attorney General Sessions and President Trump's misguided 'law and order' agenda."

The letter to Congress was signed by:
Analyst Richard Kennedy (Ret.), Central Intelligence Agency
Captain James Davidsaver (Ret.), Lincoln (NE) Police Department
Chief James Abbott, West Orange (NJ) Police Department
Chief Larry Kirk (Ret.), Old Monroe (MO) Police Department
Chief Norm Stamper (Ret.), Seattle (WA) Police Department
Commissioner George Kain, Ph.D, Ridgefield (CT) Board of Police Commissioners
Commissioner Terence Inch (Ret.), Hellam Township (PA) Police Department
Deputy Chief Stephen Downing (Ret.), Los Angeles Police Department
Deputy Sheriff Darren Ullmann, Cowlitz County (OR) Sheriff's Office
Detective Howard Wooldridge (Ret.), Michigan
Detective James Trainum (Ret.), Washington Metropolitan Police Department
Federal Probation Officer LeRoy Washington (Ret.), Hawaii
Former Detective and Deputy Sheriff Nick Morrow, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
Former Detention Officer and Deputy Marshal Jason Thomas, Prowers County, Colorado
Former Federal Corrections Officer Regina Hufnagel, Boston, Massachusetts
Former Police Officer Silvestre Tanenbaum, Carrollton (TX) Police Department
Former Probation/Parole Officer and Corrections Counselor Shelley Fox-Loken, Oregon
Former Special Agent David Long, U.S. Department of Labor
Hassan Aden, Police Chief (Ret.), Greenville (NC) Police Department
Lieutenant Commander Diane Goldstein (Ret.), Redondo Beach Police Department
Lieutenant Joanne Naughton (Ret.), New York Police Department
Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), Baltimore and Maryland State Police Department
Officer Brian Gaughan (Ret.), Davenport, Iowa and Chicago
Officer Jack Wilborn (Ret.), Glendale (AZ) Police Department
Officer Karen Hawkes (Ret.), Massachusetts State Police
Officer Nick Bucci (Ret.), New Jersey State Police
Ron Hampton, Community Relations Officer, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (Ret.); Blacks in Law Enforcement of America
Senior Patrol Officer Tim Johnson (Ret.), Madison (OH) Township Police Department
Sergeant Carl Tennenbaum (Ret.), San Francisco Police Department
Sheriff Jerry L. Clayton, Washtenaw County (MI) Sherriff's Office
Special Agent Ray Strack (Ret.), Department of Homeland Security, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

The law enforcement letter is available here:

A recent blog post on policing legislation being considered in Congress is here:

A letter discussing today's policing challenges is here:

This release can be found here:

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

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