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FLEOA Supports New Violent Crimes Legislation

July 16, 2014

The Honorable Dianne Feinstein
United States Senate
311 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Feinstein:

On behalf of the 26,000 members of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), please accept this letter as a strong show of support and appreciation for the introduction of the Gang Abatement and Prevention Act of 2014. I commend you for recognizing the need to strengthen our laws in order to combat the epidemic of violent crime and the organized gangs who commit it.

From the federal law enforcement perspective, investigating and prosecuting those who commit violent crime is our top priority. Violent gangs that taint our country’s sacred soil pose an imminent threat to the wellness of our citizenry, and they employ their vicious means to facilitate their illegal trafficking enterprises. This critical legislation will empower law enforcement and prosecutors by providing the means to dismantle violent gangs.

 

There are a growing number of domestic violent gangs, from outlaw motorcycle gangs, to street corner thugs posturing themselves as Bloods and Crips. While they pursue their illegal objectives, they leave pain and death in their wake. This legislation provides much needed penalties for recruiting minors into gangs, and exploiting them in racketeering enterprises.  Additionally, it increases the statute of limitations for prosecuting these violent crimes, which enables law enforcement additional time to penetrate these gangs.

 

As witnessed on the news, gangs employ extreme violence while "car-jacking” innocent people, and in addition to stealing property, they use this violent act as a means for initiating new gang members. This legislation aids law enforcement by eliminating the need to prove the gang member had specific intent to cause serious bodily injury to the victim. The act of carjacking in and of itself involves either violence or the real threat of it, and it shouldn’t matter what the gang-member’s mental end-game is.

 

This legislation also calls for the forfeiture of gang proceeds and property that are connected to the violent felonies they commit. By attacking a gang's assets, law enforcement has the means to dissolve an entire criminal enterprise versus arresting and prosecuting individuals.

Domestic gangs are active opponents of trafficking crimes, including drugs, guns and sex-slave trade. While these trafficking enterprises may have a business motive, they all use violence to accomplish their objectives. This legislation creates needed penalties for those who employ violence while engaging in drug trafficking. Additionally, it enhances sentencing ranges for those who commit violence, and will properly increase their incarceration periods.

This legislation also helps clarify the elements of a Hobbs Act violation to include gang members using violence while impersonating law enforcement officers. Violent gangs exploit a dangerous ruse of posing as law enforcement in order to gain entry into residences during home invasions. After gaining entry, they typically assault, intimidate and restrain their victims. It is critically important to create specific criminal penalties for gang members who impersonate law enforcement officers. We cannot allow these despicable thugs to undermine public confidence and trust in law enforcement.

 

Ultimately, the Gang Abatement and Prevention Act of 2014 will strengthen our laws dealing with violent crime, and enable law enforcement officers to better protect our public. The legislation wisely recognizes the need to combat violent gangs both from the recruiting stage, and from the financial end. I pledge FLEOA's unwavering support for this critical legislation, and will communicate the same to your colleagues. Thank you for your leadership on this priority public safety issue.

 

Respectfully,
Jon Adler
National President