Department of Justice Seal





AUGUST 24, 2000




ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: (Spanish) So see, I don't speak Spanish very well, but I try. (Spanish)

I would like to acknowledge the efforts of Ed Rios and Jessie Cantera. You have been wonderful to work with in terms of HAPCOA and we appreciate it very, very much. We have an extraordinary opportunity in America right now. The economy is good. Crime is down eight years and a row. We can move forward and do so much more. We can reduce the crime level even more or we can become complacent and watch it start back up.

I think this is the time to grab the opportunity to continue our efforts against violence and so reduce it that we will never see it returned to the level that we have known it. I've been there. I've been a state attorney in Miami. I've watched the crime rate come down and thought we've done it. We've done it. And then it comes back up because some substance such as crack, which we don't know very much about, has suddenly inflicted itself on the community.

How can we work together? How can we use the tremendous, tremendous resources in terms of people who care, dedicated professionals that represent HAPCOA? How can we bring the partnerships that you've helped to create across the country to bear on this problem?

I think we have got to put on our hat as problem solvers and start looking at what our problems are. I remember how we did it. We did it based on what's the next case coming in the door?

We were just struggling to keep our head above water to get the cases prosecuted, to get convictions. But we didn't have time to look at the problems in the community and say what can we do to prevent the problems? What can we do to solve the problems?

And I suggest to you that the first thing we have got to do is make clear that with the tools of technology that we have today we can take a community, a jurisdiction, collect the arrest forms, the incident reports, the 302s, the 6's, put those in a computer, have analysts who know what they're doing, who are trained to tell us what that data is saying and we can come out with information that will be absolutely vital, first of all, to prioritizing our limited resources and secondly to seeing how we can solve the problem.

Is it one neighborhood? If so, let us plan for that neighborhood on a long-range basis using intelligence derived from community police officers who've gotten to know that neighborhood. Is it the major drug organization? If you've done this right, you'll be able to tell which the major organization is rather than following the lead that takes us to number six or seven organization.

Then we can come together, the federal, state and local authorities, and design plans as to who can do what best. The local police agency may say, look. We can handle this one. Why don't you take this one which cuts across three different jurisdictions? But we can do so much if we work together, if we use information, if we compile it in a way that it can be used. And then if we train people to do it right.

We can do so much if we look to see what the problems are in terms of the community. Yes, we can take out that big drug organization. But you know as well as I do what's going to happen unless we solve the problem a little bit further. There's going to be a huge vacuum. But the next drug organization is just going to march into unless we develop weed and seed programs and other initiatives in that particular area that filled the vacuum before the drug dealers get there. And it's going to require reinforced enforcing just to remind people that we're not going to cede that ground back to the drug dealer.

One of the issues I think HAPCOA can help us address is the need to build trust. There is nothing so wonderful, and I will always remember standing in the great hall at the Department of Justice as two young men who had come from Rocksberry, Massachusetts stood with the President of the United States and turned to him and said, Mr. President, these two guys -- referring to two community police officers -- have saved us. They have kept us out of trouble. They have become mentors. One of them explained that he was on his way to college next year because of these men. Another explained what he was going to be doing.

You have a particular ability to reach out and be a role model and give somebody something positive to look up to and a belief that they can do it if only they try hard enough. And it is going to be so important. Just think of what the population figures in this nation are going to look like. The projected growth rate over the next ten years of Hispanic males between the ages of 15 to 29 will increase rapidly. The number between 15 and 17 will increase by 38.4 percent, those between 18 and 24 by 26.4 percent.

Think of what the opportunity you have at the end of the ten years. There can be distrust between communities and the police officers who serve those communities. There can be antagonism. There can be that young men that says I don't trust them. Or there can be the young men who talk as those young men did about what community police officers have done for them. And you can reach out to this increasing Hispanic population that will contribute so much to this nation.

I would like to challenge you in ten years, wouldn't it be wonderful if the Hispanic population, the young males, had developed a tradition of trusting police officers and looking up to them and seeing them as examples of what they could become? I happen to know that so many of you have reached out through mentoring efforts and otherwise to provide that helping hand.

But you can help shape America and shape attitudes towards law enforcement by what you do in these days ahead. It is an exciting opportunity, but mentoring well done is a wonderful, wonderful opportunity to do it. How you do it, just make sure that you have that understanding of what young people need and what they tell me they need is somebody to understand how hard it is to grow up in America today, somebody who can give them a pat on the back when they deserve it and a figure to kick in the pants when they need some firm talking to.

Again and again, young people tell me I just need somebody to talk to, somebody who cares, because my parents are working or my single mother is trying to make ends meet. You all can help shape America and attitudes towards law enforcement. And I urge you to do it.

One of the areas that is going to be most important is what are we going to do about the people coming back from prison between 400,000 and 500,000 people a year will return from prisons in the next five years. That is an astronomical number. They can come back, go to the apartment over the open air drug market where they got in trouble in the first place and start right back into a path of crime. Or they can come back with community support with recognition that they have done their time and they have an opportunity to do something positive now. And they can get on the road to a productive future.

We're developing reentry programs at the Department of Justice in conjunction with state and local law enforcement and with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Our dream, and this is my dream, is that churches, private not for profit groups, community centers and others, when a young person is sentenced to say five years in prison will volunteer to be that mentor, that sponsor of that young person, while they are in prison and when they return from prison.

They will communicate with them, urge them to participate in every program they can in terms of job training, in terms of advancement for themselves. They will identify and try to spell out for prison officials the job opportunities that exist in the community. They will look for alternate housing sits. They will prepare that person for the chance to come back with a chance of success.

Police can be a vital force in this effort. You can be the person that instead of the fellow looking and saying, oh, my God. The cops. He will say, oh. That's Officer So and So. Or that's Chief So and So. Or that's Major So and So. I met him the other night down at the community center. He seemed like a nice guy. Maybe I should go talk to him about what I should do next. I've reached the end of my road and I can't get a job and I don't know where to go. You can be a powerful force if you reach out to that young man and provide a re-entry path. That will give him a chance to succeed.

But with all the challenges that we face at home, this conference focuses today on an extraordinarily important issue -- technology. Ladies and gentleman, if a man can sit in a kitchen in St. Petersburg, Russia and steal from a bank in New York, we've got some things to be doing.

We've got to develop a network around the world that will help us bring that person to justice and help secure restitution if it is at all possible to do that. We're going to have to work out a system of legets and other country representatives that will provide us a network around the world for liaisons to build the relationships that are important in tracking down the cyber criminal. We're going to have to have the capacity in every department for 24 hour day, 7 day a week functions that will permit us to contact people around the world and be available to them to trace the cyber crook, the cyber criminal, the cyber intruder. It's fascinating to see what happens when you suddenly see this intrusion. And then you start tracing it back. You trace it to country A. But they just bounce it off country A to confuse you. So you end up in country B. And they have taken you around the block to again confuse you.

Some of these criminals are very sophisticated, even if they are 17 years old. Some of these criminals may turn out to be terrorists of different ages. And we have got to be prepared, whether it be for cyber stalking, for fraud, for terrorism, for just hackers who want to have a good time.

What are the challenges? Our first challenge is to encourage enough people to come into law enforcement and into prosecution that have the technological know how to match wits with these criminals.

And to do that, I think we're going to have to really push to develop opportunities through what I call the cyber ROTC. I hope that we can have a good system in place shortly that will encourage young people to participate in a program that would permit them to get a four year college degree, bachelor's degree, in return for three years service to the government, seven or eight years for a master's degree, ten years for a Ph.D. But let us devise means for encouraging people to participate in these programs and to provide the expertise that is so vital.

I think this is one of the single most difficult problems we face. How do we get people trained and prepared? That then focuses on who's in the department now, who is in the agency now. Let us try to identify through aptitude tests and otherwise people who have the aptitude for cyber issues and let's see if we can't develop training programs around the country that share expertise, that don't duplicate, so that we use our resources as wisely as we possibly can.

But then we've got to focus on equipment. Dwight Eisenhower warned the nation in his farewell address that there was an industrial military complex out there that might well control much of the development of America. We've got to watch out for the industrial law enforcement and corrections complex that would like to sell us the latest computer every year and suggest to us that the computer they sold us last year is already obsolete. In some instances, this is going to be true.

As command personnel, you are going to have to struggle with city managers, mayors, attorneys general and otherwise to figure out how we afford this. How do we get the latest equipment while at the same time affording it? Again, I think it's going to require sharing as we have never shared before.

With Quantico, we're a regional forensic lab or other facility sharing in an organized way. The latest equipment as I envision it instead of having a state crime lab with the most expensive piece of equipment that they use in only five percent of the cases.

We would have one central focus for that special piece of equipment that we could all share. It would save money in the long run and then permit an investment in types of equipment that will service all.

But let me tell you what the biggest problem is. Industry hasn't trusted us in law enforcement. They think we are out to regulate everything and out to intrude on people's privacy, out to give people a hard time.

I sat back after trying to persuade them that was not the case and thought, oh, my goodness. It's going to take a catastrophe to convince them that they're going to need law enforcement. Well, fortunately it didn't take a catastrophe. It just took the denial of service attacks last spring. And they certainly began to sit up and take notice and realize that they needed law enforcement.

I volunteered in a meeting we had with them at the White House to host a conference between law enforcement and industry to see what we could do to become better partners, because the interoperability and the interconnectivity of the net makes it clear that the public and private sector, if we are to succeed in law enforcement in cyber crime, are going to have to work together as never before.

Mr. Weaver, you have pointed out how important cooperation has been. It is going to be vital in this effort. Then we're going to have to realize what these people suddenly were telling us. I don't know who to call. It takes too long. Nobody calls me back. I get shifted from one agency to another. Nobody knows what to tell me. And I suddenly thought, oh, my God. I'm listening to a victim in the criminal justice system in a robbery case describe the run around that they got from one of my prosecutors. We've got to do something about this.

I think it is going to be incredibly important. And we cannot develop a boilerplate. Because you may have a sergeant or a lieutenant in one of your departments that is an absolute whiz and he's the best person in the valley. He knows how to do it better than anybody else. And he may be the key person that organizes law enforcement in your area. Or it may be an FBI agent who's specially skilled. You'll have to tie in with the National Infrastructure Protection Center at the FBI to make sure that we are again linked and that resources are available to everyone.

But we're going to have to make clear for our communities, our state and our nation, who is the contact point, where do you go, how do you get into the system, what should you expect, what will you need, what should you do to properly prepare for a conversation about how I was victimized by a cyber criminal.

If we realize that some of these efforts are just simple human contact, human communication, human caring, we'll come a long way towards bridging the gap between law enforcement and this industry.

But that's not going to be enough. Think about what the world will seem like about ten years from now. You will have cyberstalkers halfway around the world and in some country whose name we can barely pronounce terrorizing someone here. You will have someone stealing from a little old lady's bank account because he has stalked her as a boiler room using the Internet. You will have so many different types of crime.

And you will hear the same answer that you probably hear from some attorneys general and local prosecutors. I'm sorry, we can't extradite. It costs too much money.

We've got to think of a new world and see what we can do to develop the capacity to try cases through virtual trials if you will halfway around the world so that through video communication, a witness testifies in France for a crime committed in Miami. We've done some of that. We've got to test to see what can be done under our constitution.

But if we are going to be effective, if we are going to prevent fraud, if we are going to let people know that they will be held accountable, we've got to use technology as we have never used it before.

But then we've got to recognize that there are other issues. What would happen if a French detective was investigating a Frenchman who had never left France. He got a search warrant for his computer only to discover that this Frenchman was a customer of America Online and the Data was stored at Dulles or near Dulles. Does the French search warrant apply in the United States?

These are some of the questions that we've got to ask. What happens if a Maryland prosecutor has a subpoena or a search warrant for records in Baltimore? Only to discover that it's stored someplace else in this country? We're going to have to work together to develop legislation that provides for an effective effort that will give us access to this data.

There are so many questions. There are beginning to be answers. And there are answers because of HAPCOA and what you do. The fact that you have this conference, that you're focused on this issue, is so encouraging. And in the time I have remaining as Attorney General, I look forward to working with you to advance this effort in every way that I can.

Finally, I would like to say since this will be the last time I speak to you as Attorney General. I'm going to at the end of this term get in my little red truck and drive across the nation and explore the places that I visited and didn't get a chance to really explore because I had to be back in Washington. Or talk to people that I didn't get a chance to talk to long enough because I had to be back in Washington.

But I can't tell you how impressed I am with all that you do in your communities and in your various jurisdictions. I have seen policing at its best. I have seen people do some incredible work in terms of solving individual crimes, in terms of building partnerships, in terms of community prosecution and community identification of problems.

I have also seen extraordinary Americans. I think back to the people of Oklahoma City the Sunday after the bombing. The strength and the spirit that was evidenced there was the evidence to me of the greatness of this country.

I've seen young people overcome tremendous odds. I've seen people serve heroically as law enforcement agents. I have seen, however, people come to the Department of Justice, ministers of justice, prime ministers from emerging democracies in Eastern Europe and around the world. They come with stars in their eyes and they look so excited when they're first here.

And then they start talking about the problems that they face, how you build a court system, how you build a civilian controlled law enforcement authority. What do you do about prosecution? How do you control your jails? How do you eliminate corruption that's already taken hold before you can get your law enforcement apparatus in place?

You realize how fragile democracy is. We must cherish it. We must never take it for granted. And you who are on the front line leading law enforcement are the greatest, greatest force for good. I salute you and just want to let you know I admire you so much and that I admire your work so much.

Let us look forward to ten years from now when I sneak in and sit in the corner and you're talking about how you built the bridge to the young Hispanic who have come to this country seeking a future and that bridge has been built with trust, with confidence, with cooperation, not just between law enforcement, but between law enforcement and the citizens it serves. Thank you ever so much. [applause]

SPEAKER: So again, thank you very much for the opportunity to MC. I'm going to turn this back over to Edmund Rios.

MR. RIOS: -- community policing, handgun safety and we are very proud to have partnered with you and the support that you have given us. I want to thank you. (applause) And before I give Madam Reno a token of our appreciation, I would also like to acknowledge the female members of HAPCOA. Can you please stand up? Don't be shy. Please stand up. (applause) Thank you. On behalf of HAPCOA, the Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association, Madam Reno, we would like to present to you this certificate of appreciation for your support that you have given to HAPCOA for the issues and concerns in the Hispanic community.

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: Thank you, very much. (applause)

MR. RIOS: And as you mount your truck, your red truck, and I would say it's unfortunate but that was a decision you made. And we would like you to take with you one of our bags and HAPCOA shirt. So as you go driving through this country of the United States and all the states they'll know that you are a member of HAPCOA. Thank you.

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: Thank you. (applause)

MR. RIOS: Ladies and gentlemen, this country is a better and safer place because of the leadership of Janet Reno. And I think we will all --

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