FLEOA Urges NFL to Reconsider Off-Duty LEO Carry

December 2, 2015

Mr. Roger S. Goodell
National Football League
280 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10017

Dear Commissioner Goodell:

On behalf of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), which represents 26,000 members from 65 federal agencies, I am writing you to once again express our extreme concern and
opposition to the National Football League's (NFL) policy that prohibits all "off‐duty" law enforcement officers (LEO) from carrying a concealed weapon inside any NFL stadium.  In light of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, we are very concerned that your policy places our members, and that of the public, in harm’s way without the ability to defend ourselves.

One of the NFL’s unfounded concerns is that off‐duty law enforcement officers carrying their weapons would be consuming alcohol and create a potential problem. It is apparent that the NFL is unaware that all law enforcement agencies, at the municipal, state and federal level, specifically prohibit the consumption of alcohol while carrying their weapon unless serving in an authorized undercover capacity during an authorized undercover operation.

It appears that the NFL is also overlooking the fact that, even while off‐duty, law enforcement officers face dangers as a direct result of the criminals they deal with while on duty. This policy places law enforcement officers in danger from retaliation attacks from criminals who will now know officers/agents are unarmed. The NFL should recognize that federal law enforcement officers carry their weapons to protect themselves and the public, and we even carry "off‐duty" in one of the most secure areas in the United States ‐ commercial aircraft.

FLEOA recognizes that while the current NFL security and armed law enforcement personnel are indeed well trained and capable, the simple math and ratio of cop to fan is against them. We understand the obvious concern of "blue on blue” incidents. However, rather than simply stall out at a perceived problem, why not apply some thought to overcoming it? To address this issue, the NFL could adapt a system used by several stadiums in different sports venues. These stadiums have all armed LEO personnel come through one designated entrance and log where they are seated. Additionally, LEO’s can be issued a color bracelet or "sticker of the day” to negate any potential problems that could occur.

FLEOA does not dispute the NFL's right to restrict firearms access under LEOSA, but having that right does not equate to that being the logical and prudent decision when addressing the safety of the fan base and law enforcement. Perhaps the NFL should take a closer look at the congressional intent of LEOSA and consider that we need to be better prepared for future terrorist acts committed against our homeland. Given the high profile status of professional sports, and the overwhelming number of fans in relation to security at a stadium, it stands to reason that the NFL would want to enhance the security presence by encouraging off‐duty LEO's to carry.

There have been hundreds of cases of fan violence at sports events both inside the venue and
outside in the immediate vicinity. There have also been recent terrorist attacks at sporting events across the world, and all professional sport venues continue to be targets of opportunity for terrorists and other violent criminals. The addition of well trained and armed off‐duty LEO’s will only enhance security at your events from the lowest threat level up to and including a planned terrorist attack. There is strength in numbers, and not in paralyzing liability concerns.

The vulnerability of professional sporting events remains at an all‐time high for terrorist attacks. The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association respectfully requests that the NFL reconsiders our request and rescind this policy, which would ultimately place the American public at a greater risk. Please do not hesitate to contact me (, 202-293-1550) for further discussion on this important issue.

Respectfully yours,

Larry J. Cosme
FLEOA Executive Vice President