Friday, December 09, 2005

Agreement on USA PATRIOT Act Reached; F.O.P. Calls on Congress to Swiftly Adopt the Measure Next Week

WASHINGTON, Dec. 9 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Chuck Canterbury, national president of the Fraternal Order of Police, applauded today's announcement that the House-Senate conference committee had filed its report on H.R. 3199, the "USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act."
"The USA PATRIOT Act has enabled law enforcement officers to use the same investigatory tools used in criminal cases against suspected terrorists seeking to attack our nation and its people, and unless these provisions are reauthorized before the end of the year, the ability of law enforcement to prevent future attacks will be considerably lessened," Canterbury said.
The conference report, which will be considered by both the House and the Senate next week, makes permanent fourteen (14) of the sixteen (16) provisions that, under current law, expire on 31 December 2005. The conference report also extends the law's "roving" wiretaps provision and the FBI's ability to seek business records with court approval in intelligence cases, but places a provision on both of these authorities that will cause them to "sunset," or expire, in 2009. The conference report also places a four-year sunset to a provision of the 2004 intelligence overhaul law that allows law enforcement to seek warrants against "lone wolf" terrorists not connected to a foreign power and would require that notice be given within thirty (30) days of the use of any delayed-notice search warrant execution unless facts justify a specific later date.
"We are satisfied with the final language of the conference report, and are particularly pleased that the sunset provisions which remain in the bill are set to expire in non-election years, which we hope will eliminate political considerations when the time comes for Congress to reconsider those issues," Canterbury said.
"We want members of both parties to unite behind this bipartisan compromise and pass this bill next week, so it can be signed by the President before its important provisions expire," Canterbury said, adding that the F.O.P. was calling on its members to contact their Senators and Representatives to ask them to support the conference report on H.R. 3199.
"We can never forget that our terrorist enemies are determined, resourceful, and patient," Canterbury said. "We must not allow them any safe haven within which to work and plot their next strike. All of us--whether we are police officers or members of a Neighborhood Watch Program--must work together to prevent future terrorist attacks. This is the only way to keep our country united against terrorism, our communities safe, and our nation free."
The Fraternal Order of Police is the nation's largest law enforcement labor organization, with more than 321,000 members.

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