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Remarks of Laurie Robinson, Assistant Attorney General
Office of Justice Programs

International Association of Chiefs of Police
Annual Conference
Plenary Session

Monday, October 25, 2010
Orlando, FL

       Thank you, Dan. I'm delighted to be here and to be sharing the stage with the Vice President, Director Mueller, Secretary Napolitano, and so many other leaders in law enforcement.

       I want to thank Dan, Mike Carroll, and the IACP for inviting me to address the General Assembly this morning. This is a great opportunity to reaffirm my agency's steadfast commitment to all of you - our state and local and tribal law enforcement partners. And I'm proud that our Bureau of Justice Assistance is a 2010 Badge Holder Sponsor of this 117th Annual IACP Conference in Orlando.

       The IACP's mission is clear - to work on a daily basis with its members here and around the world to improve public safety - and I am thrilled to say that OJP is your partner in this vital work every step of the way. I've had the opportunity to meet and confer with your President, Mike Carroll, a number of times during his tenure. We've had productive discussions about IACP's and OJP's priorities and it's clear to me we share the same goals. I look forward to continuing that cooperative work with IACP this coming year under the leadership of incoming President Mark Marshall.

       And I'm also pleased to see my old friend, Dan Rosenblatt. I'm sure many of you know Dan worked for OJP's predecessor agency, the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration - so he knows us well. It's been a huge pleasure to work with Dan over these many years. I can't say enough about what an asset Dan is to IACP and to the law enforcement community in this nation. Not only is he a strong advocate for policing in America, but he really understands how things work on the federal level - and I'll tell you, I know this from every day I go to work, that's no easy feat to understand Washington! Dan Rosenblatt, you are a treasure!

       I also want to thank IACP for your generous support of my nomination last year for Assistant Attorney General. I know it's not common practice for you to endorse candidates for my position, and I just want to express how grateful I am - both professionally and personally. Thank you.

       As Dan mentioned, this is my second stint as OJP's Assistant Attorney General - and I well remember the partnership we developed with IACP back in the 90s. We held a number of joint summits on key issues like family violence, hate crime, and youth violence, and we worked together on a landmark use-of-force study. Those efforts reflected OJP's strong commitment to working in partnership with IACP on behalf of public safety.

       Last year, we renewed that commitment under President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Attorney General Holder. Under the Attorney General's leadership, the Department of Justice is working to restore our close relationship with state and local law enforcement. As he said at this conference last year, "it is our profound duty to band together, to work together, to struggle together, and to support one another in every possible way."

       I'm proud that the Office of Justice Programs plays a critical role in providing that support - whether through training and information resources or through the funding we provide under JAG/Byrne and other programs that support your work in law enforcement.

       But we at OJP know that, by ourselves, we can't meet the needs of the nation's law enforcement community. That's why our partnership with IACP is so essential.

       We've worked closely together on numerous issues that are vital to the safety of communities and the safety of law enforcement personnel. Issues like:

  • Responding to respond to offenders with mental illness;
  • Reducing officer injuries;
  • Building the capacity of small agencies;
  • Reintegrating officers returning from military service; and
  • Improving recruitment practices.

       Thanks to IACP's guidance and expertise, I think we've been able to help address real needs in America's law enforcement community.

       We take our responsibility to state, local, and tribal law enforcement seriously. That's the centerpiece of our mission. The funding we provided you under the Recovery Act is just one facet - although an important one - of the work we've done to support you.

       But funding isn't our only role. One of my priorities is to give you solid information about "what works". We're learning more and more about effective policing practices, and much of that information comes from your on-the-ground-experience. But there's also a lot we know from solid research. In OJP, we're working across the agency to make that research accessible and useable for you. This shouldn't be an academic exercise; we want to provide you information that can help you do your job better.

       I think we're at a crossroads right now in America in dealing with public safety. We know crime is down - remarkably - in recent years because of your efforts. But, as you know, there are still great challenges - youth violence, drugs, violent street crime, and the looming threat of terrorism - and you're having to cope with these at a time of budget cuts at virtually every level of government.

       At the same time, we've learned a tremendous amount over the last decade - from both research and on-the-ground experience of practitioners - about how to successfully address crime. We know better how to have a tangible impact to make communities safer, whether the neighborhoods of Detroit, the rural areas of Arkansas, or the tribal communities of New Mexico.

       I'm convinced that all of us, working together - IACP, state, tribal, and local law enforcement, and your federal partners - can meet the challenges we face.

       OJP is proud to be your partner in that endeavor now - and in the future.

       Thank you so very much.


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