FLEOA Opposes“Citizen Empowerment Act.”

FLEOA Opposes"Citizen Empowerment Act.”

Dear Chairman Issa and Ranking Member Cummings:

On behalf of the membership of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), I am writing to express our concern with H.R. 2711- the "Citizen Empowerment Act."

H.R. 2711 mandates that any employee of an Executive agency shall, before or at an initial in-person or telephonic interview, audit, investigation, inspection, or other official in-person or telephonic interaction with an individual, allow such individual to make an audio recording of such in-person or telephonic interaction at the individual's own expense and with the individual's own equipment. The federal employee must provide to the individual a verbal or written notice of the individual's rights under this section.

As written, the legislation contains general exceptions for situations where classified information, public safety or an on-going law enforcement investigation would be at risk. This language is necessary, and could even be strengthened, to ensure that federal law enforcement officers and the critical work they perform are not adversely impacted by this bill.

FLEOA strongly opposes any efforts to weaken or remove these exceptions.

When a federal law enforcement officer is conducting a criminal investigation via telephone, i.e. on a suspect of terrorism, the officer should not have to notify the suspect of the right to record the conversation and whether the officer is recording the conversation. Obviously, conventional wisdom tells us that any thought of conducting a successful investigation after disclosure of this type is impossible. There is no logical reason why criminal investigations shouldn't be exempted from the proposal.

Put simply, this legislation does not work in the context of federal law enforcement and does a disservice to the brave men and women who are asked to put their lives on the line to protect us from terrorists and criminals.

On behalf of the membership of the federal law enforcement officers Association, we will continue to stringently oppose any actions by Congress that lessens the ability of our Citizenship to remain safe and secure and jeopardizes the ability of federal law enforcement officers to continue to perform their sworn duties to protect them.

Please do not hesitate to contact me for further discussion on this important issue.

Frank Terreri
National Vice President for Legislative Affairs