COPS Conference 2012 -- Mary Lou Leary

Uploaded by TheJusticeDepartment on 08.01.2013


Mary Lou Leary: Thanks Barney.

Barney, you told me there would be no music this year.
[ Laughter ]

Thank you so much Barney, and I'm delighted to be here and
to see all of you.
I see so many friends from law enforcement in this
audience, particularly Cathy Lanier, sitting right up front
Because I was a prosecutor in Washington, D.C., for many
years, and I learned just about everything I know about
investigating a case, prosecuting a case, talking to people
who don't want to talk to you from the police officers at
MPD, so I'm grateful.
And, I'm thrilled to be here with Barney and with the
Deputy Attorney General Jim Cole.
Thanks Barney, to you and to your staff, not just for this
conference, but for everything you do for law enforcement
every day.

The COPS Office has been a vital partner to the Office of
Justice Programs, and both of our agencies are fully
committed to working together to meet the needs of law
enforcement now, and as we go forward.

I was a former acting director of the COPS Office, so I
want to applaud each and every one of the COPS Office staff
members for the work that you do.
COPS has really made some significant, real contributions
to policing, and I'm thrilled to see that work continue
under Barney's leadership.

Let me commend each of you, our nation's law enforcement
leaders and officers, and all of our other partners in
public safety.

Thanks to you and to your counterparts across this country,
crime rates continue to drop.

And, considering what you face in terms of budget
constraints and staffing constraints, that is truly

As you know, this year's conference focuses on evolution
and change in the policing profession.
And to say that this is a time of great change for law
enforcement is a major, major understatement.

Technology, for instance, it's now indispensable in
preventing, responding to, investigating, and solving

Data, research, they are informing day-to-day public safety
strategy in a whole new way.

And the scope of law enforcement responsibility has
expanded enormously, and that continues.

The profession looks so different today from the way it
looked when COPS first opened its doors 18 years ago, and
some of you will remember that.

But while the landscape has changed significantly, some
challenges remain the same.

And among the biggest challenges that we face are the
threats, sometimes deadly threats, that law enforcement
officers encounter on a daily basis.

The statistics on the number of officers who are injured
and killed in the line of duty are not just troubling, they
are unacceptable.

I believe, and the Department of Justice believes as well,
that just as you work hard to protect us every day, we have
an obligation to do everything in our power to protect you.

You'll note that this conference is offering several
sessions on the subject of officer safety.

So, you'll have an opportunity to hear about some of the
work we're doing to fulfill that responsibility.

Personally, I will never forget the many, many funerals
of police officers that I attended when I was an assistant
U.S. Attorney here in Washington, D.C.

And, particularly searing, is the memory of the first time
that, in my career, one of our officers was just gunned

And, Cathy, you may remember that, the officer, sitting at
a red light in a neighborhood where there are a lot of
clubs and things like that.

He's waiting for the red light to change and someone came
out of a club, held a gun up to his head, and just fired

No previous exchange, not even any eye contact.

I will never forget that.

And every time we talk about our responsibility to keep our
officers safe, I'm reminded of that incident.

So we are active partners with the COPS Office in the
Officer Safety and Wellness Group at the Department.

And there are several, just really a wide array of programs
and endeavors, that we are undertaking through the Officer
Safety and Wellness Group.

OJP's Valor Initiative has trained over 5,200 officers,
to help them identify and prevent deadly encounters and to
improve their survivability.

And one of the ways that we learned about what should go
into that curriculum is that we had researchers interview
these guys who actually have been involved in officer

"Why did you choose that officer?"

"What was going on?"

"What drew your attention to this particular officer?"

We learned a lot.

And we based our curriculum on what we learned from them.
We've had great feedback about how helpful that curriculum
We continue, as you know, to administer the Bulletproof
Vest Partnership and the Body Armor Safety Initiative.

Last year we awarded more than $24 million to help 5,000
jurisdictions purchase 188,000 protective vests.

And in 2011, and the first 6 months of this year, 47
officer lives were saved because of bulletproof vests.

Twenty-four of those officers were actually wearing vests
that were purchased with federal funds.

We're also doing a lot of research to support officer
safety and wellness.
And OJP continues to provide funding through our Byrne/JAG
program, of course, to help law enforcement officers do
their jobs well and do their jobs safely.

This year we will award more than $295 million to support
state and local criminal justice efforts.

So, it's all about training, equipment, funding, and
sharing information that the COPS Office and OJP are
working together to protect law enforcement officers, to
help them ensure their own safety on the job.
And believe me, we will not fall down on that

We also want to make sure that you have the support and
the confidence of the folks in the communities that you

Barney has been a huge proponent of community involvement
in crime prevention and crime reduction efforts.

And he is very keen on strengthening the relationships
between you, law enforcement, and your communities.

We share that interest and that passion.

Key to that is earning the community's trust.

And that hinges on making sure that what law enforcement is
doing is perceived as -- we use the word "legitimate" -- in
the eyes of the community.

Staff from our office is working with the COPS Office on
this issue, which is called Procedural Justice and Police

And, COPS is now working with Professor Tom Tyler of Yale
to help develop and pilot test a training curriculum for
officers on procedural justice.

Tom Tyler's an amazing guy, and you'll have a chance to
hear from him during the course of the conference.
Don't miss that.
It's quite remarkable.

So, we'll be working, then, with the Police Executive
Research Forum to take that curriculum and use it as part
of an effort to improve the perceptions of law enforcement
in minority communities.

I know that this kind of issue is a huge concern to police
chiefs and sheriffs across the country.

So I'm very pleased that so many departments are interested
in that issue, and I feel very honored that we've been able
to partner with COPS to address it.

OJP also generates a lot of information that is very
useful to law enforcement.

I think that the critical question here is,
"How do you get that information out there to folks
in a way that is accessible, digestible?"

You are busy practitioners and you
don't have time to be reading journals and studies.

So, we take that very seriously, and my view -- one of the
most serious obligations that we as feds have -- is to get
the information out there in a useful way.

So, last year at the Office of Justice Programs we
launched a website, and it's called

And, on that website, you'll find a compendium of over 200
programs that have been evaluated and rated, based on the
evidence that proves that they work.

So, you know, you always see that phrase, "evidence-based
practice" -- evidence-based this and evidence-based that --
when you apply for your grants.
You're going to want to be thinking about what is
evidence-based that I could implement in my community.

This is a great resource for you to use to find programs
and practices that actually have been proven to work.

And you can go as deep as you want into that database;
if you want to read the methodologies and so on,
you can go that far.

If you want just a quick and dirty, useful summary so that
you can get an idea of whether you might want to learn more
about that, you can do that too.

So I hope that you'll find useful, and
if you don't find the kind of program that you need on the
site, please go back because we're adding new programs
every single week.

So, providing this kind of information, strengthening
relationships, helping to protect officers -- these are all
the ways that we in OJP are trying to meet our
responsibility to you.

I'm lucky to have Barney as a partner in that work, and
most of all I'm really, really proud to have the
opportunity to work with each and every one of you.

In spite of the challenges that you face -- and they are
significant -- you have managed to make our communities
safer and better places to live, and you have made our
justice system stronger.

I know that you do this at incredible sacrifice to
yourselves and to your families, and I thank you from the
bottom of my heart.