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Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, testified today before the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations at a hearing entitled: “Challenges Facing Law Enforcement in the 21st Century.”
“I want to thank this Subcommittee for its recent work on bipartisan bills during this week, which is National Police Week,” Canterbury said.
“The law enforcement profession faces more challenges today and we’re in need of more support if we’re to succeed at keeping our streets and communities safe.”
National President Canterbury, who was the sole voice of the rank-and-file officers at the hearing, talked about the recent uptick in violence directed at law enforcement officers, citing a recent FBI study showing that 28% of fatal attacks on law enforcement were motivated by a hatred for police or by an extreme social or political agenda.
“The FOP has argued for some years that hateful vitriol, amplified by social media, is leading to violence directed at law enforcement officers and this report bears that out,” Canterbury said.
National President Canterbury also spoke about the importance of Federal programs that support law enforcement, including the hiring program administered by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Servies (COPS), the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants (Byrne-JAG) programs, and surplus equipment programs administered by a number of different Federal components, not just the 1033 program at the U.S. Department of Defense.
National President Canterbury also addressed the need to improve mental health and wellness programs for law enforcement officers at the local level and touted a bill the FOP helped craft, H.R. 2228, the “Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act.”
“We have done a great deal to better protect our officers from physical harm and now we need to do better about keeping them mentally healthy,” Canterbury said.