3                      Speech of JANET RENO 
 4                         Miami, Florida 
 5                         July 21, 1997 
20              The speech of JANET RENO given at the National 
21    Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives 
22    (NOBLEE) Annual Conference, Hyatt Regency Hotel, 400 
23    S.E. 2nd Street, Miami, Florida, on the 21st day of 
24    July, 1997, at 1:36 p.m., before Susan Arant, RPR. 
 1                          S P E E C H 
 2                MS. JANET RENO:  Thank you, Chief Graham, 
 3    and thank you one and all, Sheriff Harrison, and all my 
 4    friends who have made me feel so welcome.  Wherever I 
 5    have traveled in this country, I have seen you in your 
 6    cities, and I have seen you in your offices and you do 
 7    this nation proud. 
 8                To the people who raised me in law 
 9    enforcement, it is really so wonderful to come home and 
10    to see people that I worked with now almost 20 years, 
11    and to think of some of the trials and tribulations we 
12    have been through, some difficult times together, and to 
13    know that if you keep trying, things continue to work 
14    out right.  And it's just a real privilege and an honor 
15    to be home with you today. 
16                All of law enforcement in this country 
17    that's dedicated to doing right has done so much in 
18    these last four years.  Violence is down significantly 
19    in many American cities and in our suburbs and in rural 
20    areas.  Juvenile crime is even beginning to come down 
21    even slightly.  But there's going to be more young 
22    people in this country in the next ten years.  And we 
23    also see drug abuse on the part of young people 
24    increasing. 
25                I think we've shown something in these four 
 1    years that's very important, and that is that 
 2    professional, caring, dedicated law enforcement 
 3    officials who work with others and who show common 
 4    sense, who look at the problem not as a Republican or as 
 5    a Democratic problem, not with a lot of rhetoric, not 
 6    just punishment on one side or prevention on the other, 
 7    but a common-sense approach to what's right can prevail, 
 8    can make a difference and make a significant difference 
 9    for this country. 
10                So I say, let's not sit back and say, "Oh, 
11    well, violence is down.  We can go home."  Let's take 
12    what we've learned in these four years and resolve to do 
13    it better.  Let us continue what NOBLEE has done so much 
14    to do, which is to build a trust and respect, the mutual 
15    trust and respect of police officer with young person, a 
16    police officer with fragile victim, a police officer 
17    with a person in the community who at first didn't trust 
18    police but because of somebody in this room started 
19    believing in police and started coming together with 
20    other citizens in the community to make a difference. 
21                NOBLEE has taken the lead in showing police 
22    officers and police departments how they can relate, not 
23    just to some people in the community but to everybody in 
24    the community, and become the glue that brings 
25    communities across America together.  We can do this 
 1    too. 
 2                And as we look at what we learned in these 
 3    four years, let us resolve again to believe with all our 
 4    hearts and to demonstrate very clearly that we can 
 5    prevail in law enforcement, while at the same time 
 6    protecting the constitutional rights of every single 
 7    American.  We can do it because for so many months and 
 8    weeks now you and other law enforcement officers across 
 9    this country have proven that we can enforce the law and 
10    do it the right way and make a difference. 
11                But let's not sit back.  Let's see what we 
12    can do better.  We've done some good things together. 
13    In our anti-violence initiative I asked federal law 
14    enforcement agencies not to worry about turf, not to 
15    worry about credit, but to reach out to state and local 
16    law enforcement across the land to see how we can share 
17    information, not as a one-way street but as a two-way 
18    street, federal government giving information and 
19    evidence to local government where they can prosecute 
20    the case better, cross-designating people when 
21    appropriate, but doing it based on what was in the best 
22    interest of the case and for best interest of the 
23    community and not due to credit. 
24                I propose that we step back a little bit and 
25    look at what we've learned and see how we can use these 
 1    lessons and to be more effective.  First of all, why 
 2    don't we just take each community and each city that we 
 3    represent and analyze what we've got.  Okay.  We've got 
 4    a violence problem.  Let's work with the Center for 
 5    Disease Control to understand what the nature of that 
 6    violence is.  Is it gang violence?  Is it domestic 
 7    violence?  Is it drug-related violence?  Let's 
 8    understand it and design our law enforcement response 
 9    with federal, state and local officials working together 
10    to effectively focus on the problem. 
11                Let us, if it is guns, design systems that 
12    can get guns out of the hands of young people and make 
13    sure they are in the hands of only those who belong to 
14    have them.  Let us make sure that we continue to make 
15    the Brady system work by responding to the request for 
16    gun checks, because we have seen already what difference 
17    that act can make in keeping guns out of the hands of 
18    people who have been convicted and don't belong to have 
19    them. 
20                Let us make sure as we diagnose a community, 
21    let's look at what we have in terms of information about 
22    drug usage.  The justice system is producing some very 
23    fascinating information, and it will be expanded to 75 
24    cities through the new Adam program that is developing 
25    that will give us a chance to even more accurately 
 1    understand what's happening with drugs.  Is it 
 2    methamphetamines?  Is it crack?  Is it heroin?  How is 
 3    it organized?  Let us analyze together and then design 
 4    plans that can focus on the type of problem that we are 
 5    dealing with.  Is it a hate crime?  Let us look at the 
 6    statistics.  Let us encourage reports.  Let us see what 
 7    patterns exist and let us send a clear message that we 
 8    will not tolerate hate in this nation. 
 9                Let us not pull the wool over our eyes.  Let 
10    us understand the threats that this nation faces and 
11    that we have seen.  Let us understand the nature of 
12    terrorism and how it might develop.  But we need in 
13    order to do that, we need to insure that there is a 
14    partnership between the federal government, who has so 
15    much of the information, and state and local 
16    authorities.  Sometimes we have information that is 
17    absolutely essential to preventing problems before they 
18    develop. 
19                And let us understand that in this world 
20    today there are new terrorisms.  Attacks on the 
21    information infrastructure can bring whole cities to 
22    their knees.  Let us be prepared in terms of the 
23    equipment and knowledge to defend and prevent whenever 
24    possible and to apprehend if not successful. 
25                And then let us inventory our resources. 
 1    What do you have in your city?  Each city has a better 
 2    understanding of your needs and resources than we do in 
 3    Washington.  I never liked the Feds coming down and 
 4    telling us what to do or what we needed or what we 
 5    didn't need or what our problems were.  I always 
 6    thought, why don't they come down and listen to us and 
 7    then tell us what they have and let's see how we can 
 8    build a partnership.  Let us understand what we have in 
 9    terms of enforcement, in terms of prevention and then 
10    let us build a comprehensive plan based on the diagnosis 
11    we've made that enables us to respond as effectively as 
12    possible. 
13                What do we need?  One of the things that I 
14    think is imperative as we focus on youth violence and on 
15    juvenile crime in this country is an understanding that 
16    we can make a difference.  I go talk to young people.  I 
17    try sometimes to go to a detention facility to talk to 
18    young people who have been in trouble. 
19                The sheriff was saying serious offenders 
20    that are in her jail, they're all echoing a common 
21    thing:  What could have been done to keep you out of 
22    public in the first place?  Something to do in the 
23    afternoon and evening that was constructive and 
24    positive, and some adult who understands how hard it is 
25    to grow up in America today, who can give me a pat on 
 1    the back when I need it and give me a firm talking to 
 2    when I need it.  But most of all, an adult who will 
 3    treat me with respect and enable me to grow with 
 4    self-respect and dignity. 
 5                These young people have extraordinary wisdom 
 6    because some of them have been in that detention 
 7    facility once or twice.  And they tell me that's what 
 8    you could have done to prevent it.  Now what you can do 
 9    to keep me from getting back in here is make sure I have 
10    a platform upon which to return to the community that's 
11    not a part of the open-air drug market where they got in 
12    trouble in the first place. 
13                Let us use the wisdom of the young people 
14    and the wisdom that is in this room to design a juvenile 
15    justice system that prevents the crime and to give the 
16    young person who has gotten caught in the web of crime 
17    an opportunity for a safe and positive future.  Congress 
18    is currently focused on the Juvenile Justice Bill.  It 
19    is a balanced bill, as the President presented it, but 
20    we must all work together to make sure that there is 
21    funding for courts, that there is funding for 
22    prosecutors, that there is funding for prevention 
23    programs for those afternoon programs for conflict 
24    resolution programs, for mentoring programs with trained 
25    mentors that can make a difference and give our young 
 1    people a chance to grow in a strong and positive way. 
 2                I look forward to joining with you in this 
 3    effort in these next few days to make sure that we 
 4    remember the best and our most precious possession, our 
 5    children.  But as we have indicated, the drug usage on 
 6    the part of young people is increasing.  How do we stop 
 7    that?  As we take the information that we have about our 
 8    communities, as you reach out to the U.S. Attorney, to 
 9    the FBI facts, the DEA facts, the ATF facts, and design 
10    plans focused on your community and what its needs and 
11    problems are, let us figure out how we join together in 
12    a comprehensive effort that focuses on all the drug 
13    dealers. 
14                I sometimes think if you count from one to 
15    ten, the Feds will handle ten, nine, eight and seven. 
16    Local law enforcement will handle one, two and three. 
17    And I sometimes think four, five and six float around 
18    and attach themselves to everybody else.  Let's make 
19    sure we get four, five and six together.  And let us 
20    send the message to the traffickers and the middle-level 
21    distributors that there are going to be stiff, firm 
22    penalties that fit the crime and that we are going to do 
23    it in an effective and comprehensive way. 
24                But let us also recognize that there are a 
25    lot of people who are arrested for drugs who got the 
 1    drug problem.  And it doesn't make any sense to send 
 2    them to jail or to send them to prison or to rotate them 
 3    through the system only to receive probation if they 
 4    don't get any treatment and if we just perpetuate the 
 5    revolving door. 
 6                Let us work together to develop a coherent 
 7    plan of firm punishment for the distributors, for the 
 8    traffickers and a carrot-and-stick approach for the 
 9    users that says, "Look, we'll work with you or you can 
10    face a sanction.  Take your choice."  We started that 
11    here in 1989 in a drug court system that has now spread 
12    across the country.  There was one drug court.  About 
13    eight years ago when I came to Washington I think there 
14    were about ten.  There are now hundreds across this 
15    land.  And we can build on our experience, learn to do 
16    it better, and make sure that we provide treatment that 
17    will interrupt the cycle of violence. 
18                However, in any such system, the punishment 
19    must be fair.  If it's not, people don't believe in it. 
20    They don't have confidence in the judicial system, and 
21    it erodes the effectiveness of anything that we try to 
22    do. 
23                In 1986 Congress established a ratio between 
24    cocaine base, known as crack, and cocaine hydrochloride, 
25    known as powder.  Our ratio of 100 to 1.  Today, under 
 1    federal law, a first offender who sells five grams of 
 2    crack must usually be sentenced to imprisonment for five 
 3    years.  The same offender who sells five grams of powder 
 4    in the federal system will usually only be sentenced to 
 5    imprisonment for about ten months.  That's six times the 
 6    sentence for the same quantity. 
 7                I believe that there are differences in the 
 8    impact of crack and powder have on communities across 
 9    this land.  Crack is clearly associated with more 
10    violence, and I think that those who sell it ought to be 
11    punished more harshly than those who sell powder.  But I 
12    don't think that a sentence six times higher is 
13    appropriate. 
14                I am hopeful, very hopeful, that we will 
15    soon be able to propose a rational solution to this 
16    problem and that it will be one that NOBLEE can support. 
17    We look forward to working with you in this effort.  I 
18    want it to be one which is fair and which the community 
19    believes is fair, yet one which also imposes fair, stiff 
20    penalties that fit the crime.  I think as we work 
21    towards solutions in law enforcement it is imperative 
22    that we work towards making sure that all of Americans 
23    believe the system is fair. 
24                While the streets are safer and fewer people 
25    are being murdered, victimized by other serious violent 
 1    crimes, the incidence of hate or bias motivated crimes 
 2    is far too high in this nation.  The FBI reports that 
 3    there were 7,947 reported hate crimes in America in 
 4    1995.  I suggest that that number is low, for the 
 5    victims of hate crimes are often afraid or don't want to 
 6    report it. 
 7                I think we can take the same lesson we have 
 8    learned in our partnerships in other areas and apply 
 9    them with equal vigor and dedication to the whole focus 
10    on hate crimes in this country.  Let us develop a 
11    systematic outreach to the community so that people know 
12    who to call, where to call.  Let us develop systematic 
13    outreach to victims so that they will not be afraid to 
14    report the crime and that they know that they will find 
15    support when they do report it.  Let us make sure we 
16    provide for victim assistance programs and restitution 
17    programs that can make a difference. 
18                And let me share with you in that regard a 
19    warning of a minister with whom we met in June as we 
20    analyzed the results of one-year activities in the 
21    church arson task force.  He said you all have done a 
22    good job and we appreciate what you have done, but you 
23    have forgotten one group of people.  You have forgotten 
24    the young people in our churches who have been so, so 
25    affected, so hurt by seeing their church burn. 
 1                As we look at hate crimes, let us not forget 
 2    the young people who are the witnesses to these crimes 
 3    and reach out to give them support and confidence to 
 4    deal with the tragedy of these crimes.  Let us make sure 
 5    there is a two-way street.  I used to get my back up a 
 6    little bit when we were doing a very good job of 
 7    investigating a hate-crime case only to hear that the 
 8    Feds had come to town and they were going to take it. 
 9    And I wondered what they were going to do with it. 
10                Sometimes they poked around for a while and 
11    then they were gone, and they didn't come back.  What I 
12    think we have got to do is make sure that doesn't 
13    happen.  Sometimes the case is more appropriately 
14    prosecuted in federal court because there are federal 
15    civil rights statutes that provide for enhanced 
16    penalties. 
17                Congress and the President have enacted 
18    enhanced penalties for hate crimes.  What we should do, 
19    the U.S. Attorney, the local police, the FBI, the chief 
20    of police, is sit down and figure out who can do what 
21    best, how we can exchange all information and how we can 
22    do it the right way.  We have got to make sure that when 
23    victims speak out, we act.  The eyes of minority 
24    communities are upon the system.  If a person is 
25    assaulted because he is black, a swastika painted on the 
 1    house of a Jew, or a person that's beaten up because he 
 2    is gay, and the victim reports that crime and nothing 
 3    happens, the victim's initial fear will have been 
 4    vindicated. 
 5                We must make sure that we pursue these cases 
 6    and no matter how small, treat them with the concern and 
 7    the resources they deserve.  We must make sure the 
 8    penalties imposed by our courts reflect our outrage at 
 9    the hatred that motivated the crime.  When we come 
10    together and when we marshall our resources as a nation, 
11    we can be so effective and we can make such a 
12    difference. 
13                Look at the church arson initiative.  These 
14    fires have been the source of considerable pain among 
15    the communities that have lost their houses of worship. 
16    The President made it a top priority to investigate and 
17    to prosecute those responsible for these crimes to 
18    prevent, whenever possible, future damages at houses of 
19    worship and to help communities and congregations in 
20    their efforts to rebuild and to heal. 
21                We have deployed over 200 ATF and FBI 
22    investigators around the country to investigate these 
23    arsons.  The national church arson task force has 
24    responded to these crimes by bringing federal resources 
25    to bear.  I am delighted to see Rose O'Keefe, head of 
 1    our Community Relations Service here today and Mr. 
 2    Atkins as well.  The Marshall service was involved.  But 
 3    most of all my message was let us not go in and do it 
 4    ourselves.  Let us go in partnership with state and 
 5    local law enforcement and do it together. 
 6                We are committed to expending the necessary 
 7    resources, the time and effort to solve these crimes, 
 8    and we are going to keep on working on it until we bring 
 9    the people responsible for them to justice.  Our efforts 
10    are paying off.  We have investigated over 400 arsons 
11    since January of 1995.  And with state and local 
12    departments involved, we have made arrests of 187 
13    defendants in connection with fires at 136 of those 
14    houses of worship.  This is double the general arrest 
15    rate for arsons. 
16                The reaction to these fires has been 
17    universal outrage across this nation.  These effects are 
18    rightly seen as a threat to our common sense of 
19    sanctuary.  They have generated a tremendous response 
20    from our community, a solidarity among followers of many 
21    faiths, along with donations and countless volunteers to 
22    help rebuilding and to prevent further tragedy.  It is a 
23    wonderful experience to hear a young teenager talk with 
24    pride over a trip to the South to help rebuild one of 
25    the churches attacked and to hear her talk of the 
 1    welcome that was given in that community. 
 2                This past year I drove down a little old 
 3    dirt road in South Carolina with the President of the 
 4    United States to see the site of a church that had been 
 5    burned.  Only a magnificent oak tree, which had half 
 6    covered the church, still stood.  But then we went 
 7    further on down that road to dedicate the new church. 
 8    The people of that community, black and white, came 
 9    together to speak out against the hatred that has fallen 
10    that fire. 
11                Haters are cowards.  When they are 
12    confronted, they will often back down.  It is so, so 
13    very important for all America to speak with one 
14    consistent voice at the first sign of hatred, at the 
15    first sign of bigotry, and speak out loud and long 
16    against it.  And there is a sense of community, not just 
17    in that South Carolina town, but in all America. 
18                Because as I walked down off the platform 
19    following the President, a lady burst through the rope 
20    lines and gave me a great big hug and she said, "Janet, 
21    I haven't seen you since Miami when I used to see you 
22    and your mama marching in the Martin Luther King 
23    parade." 
24                And she said, "I used to run out and give 
25    you a hug in the parade."  And for those of you who are 
 1    not from Miami, my mother and I would regularly march 
 2    the whole length of the Martin Luther King parade.  And 
 3    mother would say, "What's that they're yelling?"  And it 
 4    was "Child support, child support."  Because as the 
 5    State Attorney I collected child support. 
 6                And this lady who greeted me said, "You got 
 7    child support for my children, and I have never 
 8    forgotten you, and I am so glad I can give you another 
 9    hug now."  And then she turned and said, "These are the 
10    two you got child support for."  And I looked up.  And 
11    there were two young men, grown young men. 
12                There is a sense of community and a spirit 
13    of togetherness in this country that we must build on. 
14    We must not let the divisive rhetoric of today destroy 
15    that spirit.  We must tell those people that power each 
16    other and fuss, "We can disagree, but we can work 
17    together to resolve those disagreements to make a 
18    difference." 
19                But there is another challenge that we all 
20    face.  A little over two years ago I went to Oklahoma 
21    City on the Sunday following the bombing.  I watched the 
22    people of Oklahoma City come together with people from 
23    all over the country.  And it became clear that this was 
24    not just a hate crime in its traditional sense, but 
25    terrorism in a terrible sense that we had to confront. 
 1                Again, let us stand back and understand the 
 2    threat.  Let us together, state and local law 
 3    enforcement working with the federal government, take 
 4    sensible steps to know what can be done to prevent it, 
 5    how to exchange information, and how to deal with the 
 6    issue in a comprehensive way.  But we have new tools now 
 7    that stagger the imagination and convert vanity to 
 8    prayer. 
 9                When a young man can sit in a kitchen in St. 
10    Petersburg, Russia, and with his computer steal from a 
11    bank in Miami, we got problems.  One might even say the 
12    gun will be obsolete in ten or fifteen years.  Now, all 
13    of you have been to basic law enforcement and advanced 
14    law enforcement training and continuing law enforcement 
15    training on how to use a gun, but not that many of us, 
16    including me, would know how to deal with that hacker in 
17    St. Petersburg, Russia.  And that same hacker, if he 
18    were more intent on more damage, the information 
19    infrastructure could give us a run for our money.  We 
20    must be prepared. 
21                And then in these years to come I look 
22    forward to working with NOBLEE to develop our knowledge 
23    of cyber crime and the tools to match cyber crime that 
24    can prepare us for the next century.  It's going to 
25    require expertise and equipment of tremendous cost.  But 
 1    if we share and if we work together, if we build a true 
 2    partnership where state and local law enforcement is on 
 3    the front line and federal law enforcement is acting 
 4    according to principles of federalism and what's right, 
 5    I think we can make a difference. 
 6                It is a special moment for me to stand here 
 7    today.  Chief, you made mention of the fact that I am 
 8    the first woman Attorney General of the United States. 
 9    Today the first African-American Deputy Attorney General 
10    is in office for his first full day.  I look at what he 
11    has done as U.S. Attorney in the District of Columbia. 
12    I watched what law enforcement has done across this 
13    country to bring us together, not to divide us, protect 
14    us, not hurt us, to build a greater, safer and better 
15    America.  On behalf of all Americans, I thank you from 
16    the bottom of my heart for the work you do day in and 
17    day out for your agencies, for your communities and for 
18    this nation. 
19                     (Speech concluded at 2:05 p.m.) 
 1                          CERTIFICATE 
 2              I, Susan P. Arant, a Registered Professional 
 3    Reporter, do hereby certify that I was authorized to and 
 4    did stenographically report the speech of Janet Reno, 
 5    and that the foregoing pages, inclusive, constitute a 
 6    true and complete record of my stenographic notes. 
 7              IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand 
 8    this 22nd day of July, 1997. 
10                              ----------------------------- 
11                                  Susan P. Arant, RPR