Any effort to rein in the drug war, stop warrantless surveillance or reform asset forfeiture laws will inevitably bring out fierce opposition from powerful law enforcement lobbyists. But not every cop opposes such reforms. In fact, you will find many police officers, sheriffs and deputies, corrections officers, federal agents, judges and prosecutors who take their constitutional oaths of office seriously and support criminal justice and public safety reforms.
The Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP) unites and mobilizes these law enforcement professionals in support of drug policy and criminal justice reforms. LEAP works to make communities safer by focusing law enforcement resources on the greatest threats to public safety. That means following local policing priorities, not serving as federal foot-soldiers in an unconstitutional national “War on Drugs.” The organization also promotes alternatives to arrest and incarceration and works to address the root causes of crime. Ultimately, the goal is to work toward healing police-community relations.
LEAP has over 5,000 members and a roster of 200 speakers across the country.
These speakers drive LEAP’s boots-on-the-ground activism. They support local and state criminal justice reform initiatives by educating policy-makers and the public. LEAP speakers appear in all kinds of settings, including TV ad campaigns, press conferences, panel discussions, conferences, legislative hearings and community meetings. They also contribute op-eds, provide media interviews, meet with editorial boards, join sign-on letters, and meet privately with legislators and local law enforcement.
The least visible but arguably most important thing LEAP speakers do is offer testimony at state legislatures. These law enforcement experts often testify during hearings in favor of legislation to reform drug laws, to require convictions before seizing a person’s assets, to limit police militarization and to stop warrantless surveillance.
I can’t overstate the importance of elevating a law enforcement voice to counter the establishment police lobbyists. It shatters the illusion that the law enforcement community marches in lockstep to support the drug war, police militarization, asset forfeiture and warrantless surveillance. It reminds legislators that there are law enforcement professionals committed to honoring their oath to protect and defend the Constitution, and serve and protect their communities.
LEAP experts counter the mainstream law enforcement narrative and provide a crucial alternative voice during the legislative process.
The Tenth Amendment Center is excited to develop a closer relationship with LEAP. Our goal is to help connect LEAP speakers with bill sponsors in state legislatures. These law enforcement experts will not only be able to help push legislation forward by testifying at committee hearings, they will also be able to advise legislators and help them craft tighter bills.
If you are a current or former law enforcement officer, LEAP could use your help. The organization is looking for experts to add to its roster of speakers in a number of states. If you are interested, contact LEAP Program Director Amos Irwin at Amos@LawEnforcementAction.org with a brief summary of your law enforcement background.
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