Jonathan Thompson, ED and CEO of the National Sheriff’s Association, explains in a Hill op-ed this morning why law enforcement needs Jeff Sessions as the next leader of the Justice Dept. because he “has shown that he understands and values the resources law enforcement needs,” and can rebuild the important partnership between these two groups:
Jonathan Thompson, ED & CEO of National Sheriff’s Association
January 2, 2017
Every day members of the law enforcement community come to work prepared for anything. They understand that they are the thin blue line between a safe public and criminal activity — and each moment presents a new challenge.
Law enforcement understands the dangers of protecting their communities and go to work each day knowing they might be shot for their communities’ safety. This past year saw the highest number of law enforcement fatalities in five years including 21 that were ambushed, shot and killed.
Over the past few years’ law enforcement has been missing a key component to succeed in their jobs — federal government support.While law enforcement is asked to do more and more with the ever-changing world of terrorism and public safety, the current administration has rolled-back much of the progress achieved through decades of effective policing through qualitative and quantitative resourcing. In return the nation’s crime rates have risen faster than at any time in our modern history.
While the mood toward law enforcement at the federal level has degraded we now see how out of touch this administration has been with the public. The dialogue between the administration and those charged with protecting us has grown outright hostile, making their jobs even more difficult and dangerous.
While this administration’s support is lacking, public support for law enforcement remains very high.
An October Gallup poll showed that three in four Americans have a “great deal” of respect for local law enforcement, the highest rate in 50 years. Americans understand the important role sheriffs, deputies and officers play in criminal justice and have confidence they will do their jobs fairly.
Of our nation’s institutions law enforcement ranks near or just below the nation’s military.
Not the media, Congress, schools, or the current administration have this level of support.
Law enforcement is gratified by the support and with a new executive branch administration comes new promise. Law enforcement knows that we have a federal partner with the nomination of U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions to be Attorney General of the United States.
The Senate must confirm Sen. Sessions because law enforcement and the citizens they protect needs his expertise, dedication and honor at the Justice Department.
The nation’s sheriffs and deputies know Sen. Sessions will support them because throughout his career he has been a crime fighter who seeks justice fairly. As a U.S. attorney and Alabama attorney general, he successfully pursued and prosecuted violent criminals, corrupt politicians and white collar criminals.
During his service on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sessions has shown that he understands and values the resources law enforcement needs to do our jobs.
He worked with Democrats and Republicans to pass important legislation like the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 that rectified disparities in sentencing for drug crimes and the Fugitive Sex Offenders Act in 2012 which helps law enforcement track down fugitive sex offenders.
He likewise worked in a bipartisan fashion to reauthorize the Victims of Child Abuse Act.
Sessions supports solutions important to sheriffs and the law enforcement community. He understands the importance of the 1033 Program that provides excess, protective resources and equipment law enforcement needs to carry out their duty.
He understands that the immigration system is broken and law enforcement is stuck in the middle without a plan. Sen. Sessions agrees that jails should not be the home for Americas mentally ill and wants to work with law enforcement to reform the mental health system.
Sheriffs and deputies wake up each day knowing their lives may be in danger to keep our communities safe and protect the rule of law. They look forward to having an active ally in Attorney General Sessions to support them and do whatever necessary to make America safe.
Jonathan Thompson is the Executive Director and CEO of the National Sheriffs’ Association.