Eric H. Holder, Jr.

NAPO Top Cops Event With the President

The White House - Washington, DC

October 21, 1999

Mr. President, Senator Biden, Representative Stupak, it is my great pleasure to welcome my NAPO colleagues Tom Scotto and Bob Scully, and the Nation's Top Cops, to the White House.

Mr. President, we stand here today after experiencing the seventh straight year of declining crime rates. We have the privilege of being joined here by the men and women, the rank-and-file of law enforcement, who have worked so hard on the front lines to make our communities safer places to live. You have provided the leadership and the tools. But, it is the men and women arrayed behind us and the over 700,000 law enforcement officers they represent, who have been the real cause for our success. By putting their lives on the line day in and day out on our nations streets, they have made America a much safer place.

Mr. President, nobody has provided more leadership than you and Vice President Gore. Your commitment to put 100,000 new police officers on America's streets is a reality. We have already made grants to fund those 100,000 new officers and, in time, communities will hire and train those officers and they will be out patrolling our streets. The Community Policing concept has allowed police officers to get out into their neighborhoods and is helping them to create new, stronger bonds with the members of the communities they are sworn to protect.

Senator Biden, and Representative Stupak, all America thanks you as well. You led the fight in Congress to enact the historic COPS program which funds these officers, the legislation which funds the Violence Against Women Act, and which provides for tough but smart crime prevention measures.

However, we cannot rest on the success of the past. We must continue to take the next critical steps toward reducing crime in this country even further. If we relent for one minute, if we become complacent, we could see these crime rates return to their pre-1993 levels.

Mr. President, you have called on Congress to fund 30 to 50 thousand more community police officers, five thousand new local prosecutors who will work out in the community with those officers, and to provide the funds for new technology which can better protect these brave men and women. These steps will be vital if we are to continue our efforts of further reducing crime in this country as we enter the new millennium.

Mr. President, you have listened to law enforcement and the partnership which you have built has shown results. Our families and our communities are all safer today than they were when you came into office and for that, America thanks you.

It is now my distinct honor to introduce a man who has worked so tirelessly to make America a safer place to live, Representative Bart Stupak.