6                     SPEAKING BEFORE
11              Wednesday, September 4, 1996
16        Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill
17              400 New Jersey Avenue, N.W.
18                   Washington, D.C.
1                  P R O C E E D I N G S
2               ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO:  Thank you
3     very much.
4               It is a special privilege for me to
5     be here with you today, because, as I was
6     growing up, as a small child, I lived in a town
7     called South Miami, about 20 miles down FEC
8     railroad tracks from Miami.  It was a different
9     world.
10               We rode the ponies down to the
11     market.  During gas-rationing, we could
12     substitute the pony and the buggy for the car.
13     And I still see, on the side of the road, the
14     path that my pony helped to forge.
15               When I came to Washington, this clerk
16     of the little town was still writing me notes,
17     encouraging me.
18               People that I had known all my life,
19     who are now scattered to other parts of the
20     country, were supporting me.
21               And all of that framework had arisen
22     in that little town of South Miami.
1               It has gotten a little fancier now.
2     And as I drive there when I go home, I think of
3     how times have changed.
4               But, then, I drive past my elementary
5     school, my junior high school, all really a
6     part of that town, and I know that it will
7     always be with me.
8               I came to Washington having
9     represented a large jurisdiction, but
10     remembering that town of South Miami.
11               And I have been committed to making
12     sure that the Department of Justice does not
13     forget the small towns, the townships, the more
14     rural areas of America, because the problems
15     are just as great there, when you consider
16     their magnitude in relation to everything
17     that's happening in the community.
18               And so, I have said, as we look at
19     grants, as we look at action, let us make sure
20     that we represent and work with all America,
21     not just the big urban cities.
22                    (Applause)
1               One of the points that most
2     immediately struck me, after I came into office
3     and started looking at nationwide trends, was
4     that we might well have an impact in urban
5     cities, because resources had been placed
6     there, commitments had been made.
7               But as I looked at what was
8     happening, we were achieving success in the
9     urban areas, and we were pushing the bad guys
10     either into prison or out into the more rural
11     areas.
12               And as I worked with others to
13     recommend to the President the nomination of
14     U.S. attorneys and talked to potential
15     candidates, I said:  "As Attorney General, I
16     want you to work with all of your district, not
17     just the big city in the district.  But I want
18     us to develop a district-wide plan that covers
19     the entire area, to make sure that the bad guys
20     don't feel like they have a safe haven because
21     they think that people will ignore them -- law
22     enforcement will ignore them in the smaller
1     towns."
2               In our whole anti-violence
3     initiative, it has been:  How can we form a
4     partnership with state and local law
5     enforcement?  How can we form a partnership
6     with that sheriff in that small county or the
7     police chief in a small town that may have one
8     or two policemen at the most?
9               Our whole effort has been to
10     recognize that you understand your needs and
11     resources better than we do in Washington.
12               I never liked it when the feds came
13     to town in Miami and said, "Now, this is what
14     we want from you.  And we know better what you
15     need.  And this is what you should be doing."
16               I often wished that they'd come and
17     say, "Now, just what are your needs?  And what
18     are the problems here?  And how can we help
19     you?"
20               And that's what I want to try to do
21     with all the jurisdictions across this country.
22               It also troubled me when I got
1     federal grant applications.  I thought: I went
2     to Harvard Law School, and I don't know how to
3     fill out these applications.
4                    (Laughter and applause)
5               Then I look at the various agencies
6     competing for grants, and the smart ones were
7     the ones that went and got grant writers.
8               And I thought, we're supposed to be
9     representing all of the people.  You shouldn't
10     have to have professional grant writers be the
11     key to your success in securing a federal
12     grant.
13               So, as we worked together, for
14     example, on the COPS Program, I wanted to make
15     sure that our systems and our processes were as
16     open and as accessible -- as easily accessible
17     as possible, and that you didn't need a degree
18     in grantsmanship to be successful.
19               I think we have seen some results.
20     When the 1994 Crime Act authorized funding of a
21     100,000 community police officers, we wanted to
22     make sure that the Nation's smaller communities
1     had realistic opportunities to participate in
2     this wonderful initiative.
3               And I got a great deal of skepticism.
4     People would say, "I know you say you're going
5     to make sure that small towns and small cities
6     are represented, but I've heard that before."
7               But that is why half of all the COPS
8     grant funding was dedicated to law enforcement
9     agencies serving towns of 150,000 and smaller.
10               In addition, we developed COPS FAST,
11     which is Funding Accelerated for Smaller Towns.
12     Under this initiative, expedited grant
13     procedures were available for law enforcement
14     agencies serving towns with fewer than 50,000
15     residents.
16               Under COPS FAST, remembering my
17     frustration with grants, the Department made
18     available a one-page, fill-in-the-blank form,
19     which dramatically simplified the task of
20     applying for funding.
21               I understand that in many of the
22     communities we represent, the local officials
1     serve sometimes on a part-time basis and that
2     they consider this application one of the most
3     sensible forms they've ever gotten from
4     Washington, because it's something that can be
5     filled out, that's straightforward, and that
6     makes sense.
7               The response has been tremendous.
8     When I visit small towns, either in person or
9     by telephone, it is really rewarding to have
10     mayors and chiefs of police say, "This makes
11     sense."
12               We developed an 800-number so that
13     people could call in and get their questions
14     answered.
15               I took some of the calls, and it was
16     wonderful to have people say, "It's so nice to
17     have somebody on the other end of the line that
18     can answer the question in a straightforward
19     sort of way and tell you just what to expect."
20               We really try to make sure that we
21     are responsive to the small towns, to the
22     groups across this Nation that have a sense of
1     community and should never, ever be left out.
2               The impact of community policing has
3     been wonderful:  To have that police chief tell
4     me, "You gave me one officer, just one officer,
5     but it has made all the difference."  To have
6     citizens tell me the same thing.
7               And what I would appreciate from you
8     is not just the praise, but what we can do to
9     be more responsive, to be more effective, and
10     to really meet the needs of towns across this
11     Nation.
12               One of the areas of concern that is
13     most important to me is the problem of family
14     violence.
15               Long ago, as a prosecutor in Miami,
16     when I first took office, I sent an intern to
17     the medical examiner's office to find out why
18     people had been killed in Dade County for the
19     previous 20 years.
20               Forty percent of all homicides where
21     the assailant had been identified were related
22     to domestic violence.  And we developed a
1     domestic intervention program that became one
2     of the models in the country.
3               It has a taken a long time to get
4     judges and police officers and even the medical
5     community on board in recognizing domestic
6     violence as one of the great issues that we
7     face.  But it is so true.  And it is everywhere
8     in this country.
9               In Iowa I was on a 15-town and city
10     hookup.  They have an interactive hookup that's
11     quite something, and I've been on it twice now.
12     And on each occasion, from the small towns,
13     comes the same word as from the large cities:
14     Domestic violence is probably one of our major
15     crime problems.
16               And so, with the passage of the Crime
17     Act, we focused on distributing monies
18     through the Violence Against Women Act.
19     Significant monies would go to states across
20     the Nation, to be distributed throughout
21     communities.  And again, we wanted to make sure
22     that the smaller towns were not neglected.
1               Why is it so important?  I look at it
2     this way.  Violence is a learned behavior.  The
3     child who watches his father beat his mother
4     comes to accept violence as a way of life.
5     Unless we eliminate violence in the home, we
6     are never going to eliminate it in the streets
7     and in the schools of America.
8               And it is important that the smaller
9     communities have equal access to those monies.
10     Thus, it is a requirement of our grants
11     program, both the STOP Program, which is the
12     major state program, and others, that
13     previously underserved populations, be served
14     as part of the overall state planning effort.
15               We will be announcing, probably by
16     the end of this month, some rural grants to,
17     again, address the issue of domestic violence.
18               As an example of how these monies are
19     being used, Iowa used some of its STOP money to
20     hire three advocates to serve domestic violence
21     victims in 11 rural counties that had never had
22     advocates before.
1               Fifty-nine percent of the COPS money
2     focused on domestic violence has gone to
3     communities under 150,000, a total of a little
4     over $27 million.
5               So it is important that we continue
6     to focus in every way that we possibly can.
7               But one of the problems continues to
8     exist.  There may be shelters for battered
9     spouses in the major urban areas.  It may be 50
10     miles away.  But in a small town 50 miles
11     across the state, there will be no shelter, the
12     victims won't want to leave, they will be
13     afraid, they won't know where to go or what to
14     do.
15               We've got to develop transportation
16     systems and mechanisms that make sure that
17     victims across America are served regardless of
18     where they are.
19               The same would apply, for example, in
20     child abuse investigations.
21               I was fortunate as a prosecutor to
22     have a great urban public hospital right at my
1     back door, so that when a child came in with an
2     injury of unknown origin and someone said,
3     "Well, he fell out of bed," I had the best
4     pediatric forensic specialist who could say,
5     "That break was not caused by falling out of
6     bed.  That break was caused by a sharp blow
7     with a blunt object."
8               It is so difficult if you're 100
9     miles away or 150 miles away from that type of
10     expertise.  And we would like to work with you
11     in developing better mechanisms through
12     tele-medicine and other means of using modern
13     technology to make sure that that expertise is
14     brought to the more -- the smaller areas across
15     America.
16               If we work together, if have the
17     benefit of your suggestions, if we understand
18     your needs and resources better, it can make a
19     difference.
20               And, thus, I would ask you, don't
21     just sit there and fume at Washington and say,
22     "Hmm, they're not listening."
1               Here's somebody that's listening.
2     And if you have suggestions about the
3     Department of Justice can do to be more
4     responsive, let me know.
5               It's Department of Justice, 10th and
6     Constitution, 20530.
7               You say, "I don't think you really
8     get all your mail."
9               I don't get all my mail.  But I'm
10     very -- I try very hard to make sure that I
11     hear from community leaders across this Nation,
12     wherever they are; remembering that you know
13     your needs and resources better than I do, and
14     I need to support you in every way that I can.
15                    (Applause)
16               I remember that little town of South
17     Miami -- how the teachers related to the gas
18     station man and how everybody related to Coach
19     Turiffio (phonetic), our coach who everybody
20     loved; how it was truly a community.
21               And I have been committed to doing
22     everything I can to use the Department of
1     Justice in the right way to help rebuild
2     community; and to help, in instances where
3     children and families are at risk, to reweave
4     the fabric of community around those at risk.
5               I recently heard from Dyersburg,
6     Tennessee.  I hadn't yet known that I was
7     coming here.  And when I got the news that I
8     would be here, I thought: I'm glad to be able
9     to report on something that we're doing right
10     and hopefully suggest that it might serve as a
11     model.
12               Dyersburg, Tennessee, is a town of
13     about 40,000, located in the south central part
14     of the state.
15               Three years ago, the Dyersburg Police
16     Department began an aggressive
17     community-oriented policing strategy to address
18     high-crime activity in and around the city
19     public housing area.  Gang activity was a
20     particular problem.
21               As a result of that strategy, calls
22     for services were ultimately reduced, and
1     pedestrians felt free to walk in areas that had
2     previously been the scenes of gun violence.
3               But according to the Dyersburg Police
4     Department, the police did not achieve the
5     results on their own.  They did it in
6     partnership with the whole community, working
7     together through a community-oriented police
8     steering committee that is made up of citizens
9     of Dyersburg.
10               Spurred by their success in community
11     policing, Dyersburg leaders decided to seek a
12     Department of Justice designation as an
13     officially recognized Weed and Seed site.
14               As many of you know, Operation Weed
15     and Seed is a key Department of Justice
16     community-based public safety effort.  The
17     Republicans started it, the Democrats have
18     carried it on.  It's a good bipartisan program
19     and shows you that we should be fighting crime
20     not with partisan politics, but with common
21     sense of people working together.
22                    (Applause)
1               Weed and Seed is neighborhood-focused
2     and seeks to address public safety issues in a
3     balanced way that includes appropriately
4     aggressive crime suppression efforts that are
5     anchored in community policing.  But it also
6     includes the development of crime prevention
7     activities that can positively engage youth in
8     their after-school hours.  And it focuses on
9     building economically viable and healthy
10     communities.
11               Dyersburg was designated as an
12     officially recognized Weed and Seed site
13     earlier this year.  And the people of that
14     community have continued to do wonderful things
15     with that designation.
16               A police substation has been opened
17     in each of the two Weed and Seed neighborhoods.
18     When gang members burned down one of the sites
19     while it was under construction, the community
20     banded together to rebuild it.
21               Other important efforts are also
22     under way as part of this project.
1               Weed and Seed in Dyersburg is working
2     closely with the city's Habitat for Humanity
3     affiliate to build new homes in one of the Weed
4     and Seed neighborhoods.
5               Weed and Seed leaders are working
6     with church leaders and educators to make GED
7     courses available for neighborhood residents.
8     And they are using the substation as the place
9     to get the training.
10               The Weed and Seed also serves as the
11     focal through which children and youth programs
12     are coordinated -- such as, for example,
13     something as simple as taking the children not
14     too far away to the zoo in Memphis, something
15     that kids in that area might not otherwise ever
16     have the opportunity to do.
17               There is so much that we can do if we
18     work together.
19               Large cities such as Boston are
20     finding the same to be true.  And we're going
21     to be putting out a booklet shortly, just
22     analyzing what one city can do when it starts
1     identifying what it can do if it brings schools
2     and parks and recreation and police and the
3     churches and interested citizens and neighbors
4     together in one coordinated effort.
5               If we get coordinated, what should we
6     be trying to do?
7               I think raising children is the
8     single most difficult thing I know to do.  In
9     1984, a friend died leaving me as the legal
10     guardian of her 15-year-old twins, a boy and a
11     girl.  The girl was in love.  And I've learned
12     an awful lot about raising children in the last
13     12 years.
14                    (Laughter)
15               It takes hard work, intelligence, a
16     lot of love, and an awful lot of luck.  But it
17     is one of the most rewarding experiences in the
18     world.
19               And I've applied some of the
20     knowledge I've gained.  If you're firm and fair
21     and let them know you love them, it's going to
22     be okay.  If you're not firm and give a little
1     bit, they're going to take a mile.
2               If they don't know that you love them
3     after you've punished them, they're going to be
4     angrier.
5               And we should be about raising our
6     children in the same way, to deal with the
7     problem of youth violence, which has been one
8     of the major issues of this country in the last
9     10 years.
10               We should make sure that we have
11     strong and able parents.  Developing parenting
12     skills courses in schools might be one way to
13     do it, or working with churches to do the same.
14               Those first three years of life are
15     the most formative time in a child's or a
16     persons's life.  That's when the concept of
17     reward and punishment and a conscience is
18     developed.
19               Fifty percent of all learned human
20     response is learned in the first year of life.
21               Communities banning together to make
22     sure that our children have appropriate child
1     care can make such a difference.
2               But even in our towns, there are too
3     many children adrift, alone, and unsupervised
4     in the hours -- afternoons -- after school,
5     oftentimes in the evening, as parents are
6     struggling to work to make ends meet.
7               We've got to make sure that we
8     coordinate our communities and utilize our
9     resources to provide a fabric of support for
10     our children, to make sure they have good solid
11     "educare," that they come to schools that are
12     pretty wonderful.
13               I remember the names of all my
14     teachers, and it is so wonderful when I get a
15     note from one of them that says, "Attagirl,
16     Janet."
17               I can still remember them encouraging
18     me along the way.  Now their daughters and
19     granddaughters are all becoming doctors and
20     lawyers.  I think it's high time we remind the
21     world of how important our teachers are.
22               There is something wrong with the
1     Nation that pays its football players in the
2     six-digit figures and pays its school teachers
3     what we pay them.
4                    (Applause)
5               But if we have the best schools in
6     the world and support from citizens and from
7     parents, we have got to, then, make sure that
8     there's something for our children to do
9     afternoons and in the evenings.  And it is
10     exciting to see what communities are doing to
11     develop volunteer programs.
12               I just got a clipping from my
13     hometown newspaper about police officers who
14     were taking kids at risk under their wing and
15     providing opportunities for them on weekends
16     and afternoons.  Each one of us can make a
17     difference.
18               I am convinced that if we provide a
19     mentor for a young man or woman at risk with
20     whom they can relate, we can make a difference,
21     a mentor who can ensure supervision and
22     somebody to talk to and a pat on the back when
1     it's deserved.
2               If we teach our young people how to
3     resolve conflicts without knives and guns and
4     fists, we can make a difference.
5               I have been participating, as part of
6     a pro bono program, in a citizens dispute in a
7     school dispute settlement program where
8     teachers are learning how to settle disputes
9     amongst kids.
10               It is so exciting to see how this can
11     be a learned skill, how the light bulb just
12     goes on in a person's face when they say, "Oh,
13     I hadn't thought of that.  Yeah, I could try
14     that, and I bet I could have resolved that
15     problem."
16               Truancy prevention is such an
17     important effort.  For that police officer in
18     your town who picks up the kid, what's he going
19     to do with him if the parents are working?  How
20     do we work together?
21               We have tried to reach out to the
22     Department of Education, the Department of
1     Health and Human Services, and, in a
2     partnership between the three agencies, provide
3     an information system that can let you know
4     what to do and who to call to find out about
5     truancy prevention programs, mentoring
6     programs, conflict resolution programs.
7               The number is 202-307-5911 --
8     202-307-5911.  They might have other
9     information that can help you, too.  And if we
10     back up -- I told them that giving out the
11     phone number, I would make sure that we tried
12     to be as responsive as possible.
13               If we are not responsive, I want to
14     know about it.
15               Because I am firmly convinced that if
16     we look at this not as a bureaucracy, not as
17     just a series of programs, but people working
18     with people across this Nation, with us
19     providing you with whatever expertise we have,
20     and you putting it to good use in the community
21     you know, we can truly, truly make a
22     difference.
1               I have been Attorney General for a
2     little over three and a half years.  It has
3     been one of the most extraordinary challenges
4     that anybody could have and one of the most
5     wonderful opportunities to serve this Nation.
6               I have visited small towns, and I've
7     walked down the streets of huge cites.  I've
8     seen America at its very best.  And I've seen
9     America in its most trying times.
10               I have never, ever believed so deeply
11     in this Nation's ability to forge a strong and
12     positive future for our children.
13               I think it was best seen in Oklahoma
14     City following the tragedy of April the 19th,
15     1995.  I went there with the President the
16     Sunday after and watched the people of Oklahoma
17     City come together with people from around the
18     Nation who had come to help.
19               They came together to speak out
20     against the violence that had spawned that
21     blast from hell.  They came together to help
22     survivors and victims begin to heal.  They came
1     together to support law enforcement every step
2     of the way, in its effort to hold people
3     accountable the right way.  And it came
4     together to speak out for this Nation.
5               I've gone back to Oklahoma City
6     twice, and the spirit is still as strong.
7               Victims and survivors have come to
8     visit me in the Department of Justice, and
9     their spirit is still as strong.
10               That spirit that I have seen so
11     consistently in Oklahoma and around this
12     Nation, as I have talked to people who went to
13     help out there, is the spirit that made this
14     Nation great.
15               It is a spirit reflective of towns
16     and cities, of farms and suburban areas.  It is
17     a spirit of people who care and can reach out
18     to join together to give this nation a strong
19     and positive tomorrow.
20               Thank you for all that you do to make
21     a difference.
22                    (Applause)
1                    (Whereupon, the speech of
2                    ATTORNEY GENERAL JANET F. RENO
3                    was concluded.)
4                      *  *  *  *  *