U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder met today with Minister of Interior (MVD) of the Russian Federation Vladimir Alexandrovich Kolokoltsev. During the meeting, Attorney General Holder thanked Minister Kolokoltsev for the assistance by the Russian government relating to the investigation into the terror attack in Boston. They also discussed law enforcement cooperation between the two countries in areas including counterterrorism, transnational organized crime and child pornography. Both Holder and Kolokolstev agreed to continue to strengthen their law enforcement partnership against these shared challenges.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder met today with Indian Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde to discuss law enforcement cooperation between the United States and India as well as other matters of mutual concern, such as counterterrorism efforts by both countries. Minister Shinde is in the United States to participate in the U.S.-India Homeland Security Dialogue from May 20-21, 2013.
During National Police Week, the Justice Department participated in events across the country to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect and serve.
On Monday evening, Attorney General Eric Holder spoke at the 25th Annual National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Candlelight Vigil in Washington, D.C. He said that last year witnessed the fewest line-of-duty deaths since the 1950s, but that a single act of violence against a law enforcement officer is one too many. Attorney General Holder further noted:
“Especially this evening – as we gather in this place of honor, on this hallowed ground, to mark the 25th Annual Candlelight Vigil – I want to assure you that the courage, the fidelity and the heroic final actions of our fallen officers will never be forgotten. Every day – in cities, rural areas and tribal communities across the country – these individuals stood on the front lines of our nation’s fight against crime and violence. Each faced uncertain dangers, and a diverse array of threats, every time they put on their badge and uniform.”
On Wednesday, Attorney General Holder and Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs Mary Lou Leary announced several improvements to modernize and streamline the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program. Attorney General Holder stated:
“These fundamental improvements to the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program will help us cut through red tape – and ensure that fallen or injured officers and their families can get the benefits they need in a timely manner. These improvements are representative of the value that I, the women and men of the Justice Department, and our entire country, must always place on the work of our law enforcement officers. And, it’s emblematic of our commitment to standing with all who bravely serve our nation, especially in the toughest of times.”
U.S. Attorneys across the country also commemorated Police Week in their districts. U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz recently recognized 152 officials from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies for exceptional service at the U.S. Attorney’s annual Law Enforcement Public Service Awards Ceremony. The event followed just weeks after the death of MIT police officer Sean Collier, who was shot and killed on April 18th just days after the Boston Marathon bombings.
During the event, U.S. Attorney Ortiz praised law enforcement personnel and their accomplishments and recognized the demands placed upon them, saying:
“This work can be difficult, and at times, it may seem thankless. Please know that your efforts do not go unnoticed. What you have sacrificed – your personal safety, your precious time with your families – it is truly appreciated by our office, your agencies and the communities for which you have dedicated your esteemed service.”
U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York William J. Hochul Jr. spoke at the Police Memorial Service at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Buffalo honoring 94 federal, state and local officers killed in the line of duty and at a monument dedication ceremony in Clarence, N.Y. in memory of New York State Trooper Kevin Dobson who was killed in the line of duty in 2011.
Other U.S. Attorneys and their staff attended memorial services, parades, wreath laying and other special events commemorating Police Week in Los Angeles, Jackson, Miss., Cleveland and Dayton, Ohio, Providence, R.I., Knoxville, Tenn., Dallas, Charleston, W.V., among others across the country.
Also during Police Week, the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office held an open house in the Capitol Visitors Center for visiting law enforcement officers who wanted to learn more about the agency’s 2013 programs and resources. COPS staff was on hand to discuss federal funding opportunities, including the COPS Hiring Program, a competitive grant program focused on school safety, veteran hiring and homicide and gun violence reduction. Grant opportunities for the development of community policing strategies and funding for public safety enhancements in tribal jurisdictions were also highlighted.
Events continue this weekend and throughout the month, to honor those who serve and protect every community across the country. For more information, including a detailed schedule of events for National Police Week 2013, visit www.policeweek.org.
The following post appears courtesy of Mary Lou Leary, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs.
During National Police Week, the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) proudly honors the brave and dedicated officers who enforce our laws and protect our communities. Our streets and homes are safer because of their service — and we are acutely aware of the price that public safety officers sometimes must pay. Every single day, our nation’s public safety officers place themselves in harm’s way to protect our neighborhoods. Sometimes they are called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial Fund, on average, one law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty in the United States every 57 hours. Yet, our officers face those dangers with courage and a devotion to duty. We at the Department of Justice recognize our solemn duty to support and protect public safety officers as they answer this call.
Through OJP’s Body Armor Safety Initiative, we are working hard to ensure that protective gear, critical to law enforcement safety, is scientifically tested to meet the highest rigorous standards. Our Bulletproof Vest Partnership program has provided hundreds of thousands of bulletproof vests to state, local and tribal officers on the street. Last year, vests were directly attributable to saving the lives of at least 33 law enforcement officers. Twelve of them were wearing protective vests purchased, in part, with funds provided by this program – and in just the first three months of 2013, there have been 11 recorded incidents of deadly assaults on law enforcement officers who survived because of the vests they were wearing.
OJP’s National Institute of Justice – the department’s research and development arm – supports standards and testing to ensure this protective equipment meets the highest industry standards.
OJP’s VALOR Initiative, administered through the Bureau of Justice Assistance, gives public safety officers critical training to identify and prevent potentially deadly encounters and emerging threats. The VALOR Initiative has trained thousands of officers, who continue to make a difference in their communities and neighborhoods.
And when tragedy does strike, we provide support to officers’ families, friends and departments. The Public Safety Officers Benefit Program (PSOB) provides death and education benefits to survivors of fallen law enforcement officers, firefighters, and other first responders and public safety officers, and disability benefits to officers catastrophically injured in the line of duty. Through our partnerships with organizations such as the Concerns of Police Survivors, the Officer Down Memorial Page, and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, we actively reach out nationwide to increase survivors’ awareness of PSOB programs and to help them apply for and receive the benefits they deserve.
OJP is committed to its partnership with state, local, and tribal justice systems, and honored to provide the innovative leadership, critical research, and essential funding to support the men and women who risk their lives for our nation’s safety.
The following post appears courtesy of Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West and Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs Mary Lou Leary.
The images that emerge from animal cruelty cases are both difficult to look at and impossible to turn away from. We don’t encounter animal cruelty every day, but the Justice Department has charged at least 190 defendants with animal cruelty offenses during the past six years, and has assisted state and local prosecutors in many others. Some of these cases involved flagrant abuses of show horses, complex underground dog fighting schemes, and stolen animals sold for medical research. Just last month, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas charged the ringleaders of a multi-state dog fighting scheme with felony animal fighting. More than a dozen federal, state and local agencies helped with the investigation and rescued 79 dogs.
Since we know there are established links between animal cruelty and different types of violent behavior, including domestic violence, child abuse and elder abuse, today we had the unique opportunity to host a listening session on the intersection between animal cruelty and public safety. We were joined by experts from a wide range of disciplines, including federal and state prosecutors, forensic scientists and veterinarians, judges, law enforcement officers, as well as representatives from the elder abuse, domestic violence, children services and animal welfare fields. Today’s listening session also drew wide interest across the department – from our own research and policy advisors, to our criminal prosecutors and civil litigators.
Both in scale and scope, this conversation was the first of its kind in the department. It is part of a broader dialogue that we will continue to have about preventing animal cruelty and better understanding its intersection with interpersonal violence and organized crime.
For example, investigators have documented child abuse cases where the perpetrators threatened to kill the child’s pet in order to enforce the child’s silence and compliance. Surveys of domestic violence shelter residents reveal that batterers sometimes harm or threaten to harm pets as part of their strategy for controlling the behavior of family members. And research suggests that acts of animal cruelty committed by young people may predict violent behavior in the future. Intervening to address animal cruelty may be key to changing patterns of conduct for positive long-term effects.
Through raids and criminal prosecutions, we have also learned firsthand that certain forms of animal cruelty – such as dog and cockfighting – can be part of a highly organized interstate criminal industry that not only harms animals, but also threatens public safety. Dog and cockfighting ventures frequently attract other criminal activities, including drug trafficking, unlawful possession of firearms, illegal gambling, stolen vehicles and property offenses, and child endangerment.
We still have more to explore and learn about these connections, and our Office of Justice Programs’ Animal Cruelty Working Group has been working to do just that.
The following post appears courtesy of Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs Mary Lou Leary.
We are very pleased to announce the results of an important report from the Department of Justice and the Council of State Governments (CSG), highlighting 17 states that have successfully cut corrections costs while reducing recidivism and improving public safety. As you may know, over the past 20 years, state spending on corrections has shot up from $12 billion in 1988 to more than $52 billion in 2011. Declining state revenues and other fiscal factors are straining many states’ criminal justice systems, often putting concerns about the bottom line in competition with public safety.
This new report, Lessons from the States: Reducing Recidivism and Curbing Corrections Costs Through Justice Reinvestment, summarizes the experiences of states participating in the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) and shows that evidence-based strategies can improve public safety and reduce recidivism, even in an era of reduced resources.
The initiative analyzed statewide crime and corrections data, looking for ways to help officials redirect public funds from expensive prison building projects to more cost-effective programs aimed at ensuring greater public safety. Based on these analyses, states have put in place legislation and policies which encourage use of risk-based decision making, increase services and support for victims, target grants to law enforcement and establish state-wide standards and training for probation agencies.
In North Carolina and Ohio, for example, JRI analyses led to legislation that focuses resources on high-risk offenders and conserves prison space for the most serious criminals. Kentucky enacted a law that requires 75 percent of state supervision and treatment expenditures to be evidence-based by 2016. An analysis in Hawaii found deficiencies in the collection of restitution for crime victims and prompted the state to revise its restitution collection infrastructure.
Through the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, we’re helping state leaders become smarter and tougher on crime and employ data and research to wisely use scarce resources. This approach has shown that states don’t have to choose between safe communities and fiscal solvency. Both are possible.
Read the report and find more information on the Justice Reinvestment Initiative here at www.justicereinvestment.org.