National Sheriffs' Association Newsletter: Capitol Watch
March 6, 2012
Vol. 8 Issue 2
On Capitol Hill

March is expected to be a busy month for Congress as the House and Senate resume legislative business.


This week, the House is slated to consider several non-controversial bills on the Floor. The Senate will resume discussions of a transportation reauthorization bill.


Additionally, both the House and Senate will be holding FY2013 budget hearings on various funding sources as they work to craft FY2013 Appropriations bills.


The House and Senate will be in session for most of March, except for the week of March 12when the House will recess for a district work week.


In This Issue
D Block Becomes Law
President Obama Unveils FY2013 Budget Proposal
Senate Holds Hearing on Bulletproof Vest Partnership
FY2012 COPS Hiring Application Period Now Open
REMINDER: Hatch Act Legislation Cosponsors Needed
Secure Communities Activated in New Jurisdictions
D Block Becomes Law

After years of hard work from the public safety community, legislation containing the allocation of the D Block to public safety passed Congress on Friday, February 17and was signed by President Obama on Tuesday, February 22. D Block legislation was included within the larger payroll tax extension legislation.


After weeks of negotiations, payroll tax extension conferees developed a compromise in regards to D Block legislation. The major provisions include:

  • Reallocation of the D block of spectrum to public safety
  • Providing $7 billion for network construction
  • Does NOT require the give back of 700 MHz narrowband spectrum; however, it would require public safety to give back other spectrum in the T band in 9-11 years. There will be funding available to help public safety relocate to the 700MHz spectrum from the T band. Additionally, those on the T band will need to begin migration from the T band in 9 years and completely moved in 11 years.
  • Establishes a governance model that would create an independent board under the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).  The FCC would set technical requirements and guidelines to ensure interoperability. States could choose to construct the network on their own but would be required to coordinate their efforts with the FCC and the board to ensure interoperability.
  • Provides for an estimated $15 billion in revenue from spectrum auctions that could be used as an offset for other provisions in the bill.  These would be voluntary incentive auctions of broadcast spectrum.


NSA, along with the PSA (Public Safety Alliance), were thrilled with the word of a compromise and were pleased with the final outcome of the public safety provision language included within the payroll tax extension compromise.


The passage of legislation to allocate the D Block to public safety and provide the funding necessary to create and implement a nationwide public safety interoperable wireless broadband network is a monumental achievement for public safety nationwide. NSA sincerely thanks all of the sheriffs and their staff who have tirelessly reached out to their Members of Congress and urged their support for D Block allocation.

President Obama Unveils FY2013 Budget Proposal 


On February 13, President Obama unveiled his FY2013 Budget Proposal. The President Budget's Proposal provides an outline to Congress on what the Administration recommends in regards to program funding for a given fiscal year.


Department of Justice (DOJ)

In regards to law enforcement funding under the Department of Justice (DOJ), most programs saw an increase in proposed funding over the enacted FY2012 levels, including Byrne JAG and COPS Hiring. Also, COPS Meth funding was actually included within the President's Budget Proposal - whereas last year it had been zeroed out. The funding level is proposed at the FY2012 increased level of $12.5M. Unfortunately, the FY2013 budget proposed significantly slashing SCAAP funding from the enacted FY2012 level of $240M to $70M - a decrease of $170M. NSA will be working with Congress to ensure that final SCAAP funding for FY2013 mirrors or is closer to $240M FY2012 level.


Furthermore, the FY2013 proposed budget does provide $4B in immediate assistance for the retention, rehiring, and hiring of police officers in FY 2012, as requested by the President in the American Jobs Act. The proposed budget states that preference will be given for those states and localities where programs/policies are in place that focus on the recruitment of post-9/11 veterans for law enforcement positions.


Below, please find the proposed numbers for the Department of Justice.



  • Byrne JAG: $430M ($413M AFTER carve-outs)
    • CJ Reform: $6M
    • State/Local Terrorism Training: $2M
    • State/Local Help Desk: $4M
    • VALOR Initiative: *5M
  • Byrne Competitive: $25M
  • Byrne CJ Innovation Program: $20M
  • SCAAP: $70M
  • Border Prosecution: $0
  • Problem Solving Courts: $52M (will include drug and mental health courts)
  • Drug Courts: $0 (included within prob. sol. courts)
  • Mentally Ill Offender Act: $0 (included within prob. sol. courts)
  • Bulletproof Vest Partnership: $24M
  • Justice Information Sharing & Technology: $8M
  • Byrne Discretionary: $0
  • COPS Program Total: $289.6M
  • COPS Hiring: $257.1M ($227M AFTER carve outs)
    • Tribal Officers: $15M
    • Community Policing Development: $15M
  • -COPS Meth: $12.5M
  • -COPS Hiring as in American Jobs Act: $4B

Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)

FY2013 Budget Proposal also proposes $200M for the HIDTA Program (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas). HIDTA funding is located under the Executive Office of the President, Office of National Drug Control Policy. HIDTA received $232M in FY2012*


Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

The proposed funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for FY2013 is significantly problematic. The President's FY2013 budget proposes combining the grants under funding for state and local programs (excluding the Emergency Management Performance Grants and Firefight Grants) to create a National Preparedness Grant Program. This would mean that instead of dedicated funding for SHSGP, UASI, LETPP, Citizen Corps, Emergency Operations Center, etc., all programs would compete under one centralized funding source. Additionally, the President's Budget Proposal also calls for no funding for Operation Stonegarden.


The National Preparedness Grant Program is proposed to focus on the development and sustainment of core capabilities as outlined in the National Preparedness Goal. The President's budget also states that particular emphasis will also be placed on capabilities that pose the greatest risk to the security and resilience of the U.S., as well as those that can be utilized to address multiple threats and hazards.



  • State Homeland Security Grants: $0
  • Urban Areas Security Initiative: $0
  • MMRS: $0
  • Citizen Corps: $0
  • Transportation & Infrastructure Protection: $0
  • Driver's License Security: $0
  • Emergency Operations Centers: $0
  • Operation Stonegarden: $0
  • National Preparedness Grant Program (NEW): $1.54B

PLEASE REMEMBER: the President's Budget Proposal is simply an outline for Congress to follow, which it rarely does. Congress typically develops their own funding levels within the various appropriations bills.


NSA will be working with our law enforcement partners to ensure appropriate funding for critical law enforcement programs under both DOJ and DHS for FY2013 as the appropriations process moves forward. We will continue to keep you updated as the appropriations process moves forward in Congress.

Senate Holds Hearing on Bulletproof Vest Partnership

On February 15, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) Program. Testifying at the hearing were: Burlington (VT) Police Chief Michael E. Schirling; Mr. David Maurer with the GAO (Government Accountability Office); and Mr. Chuck Canterbury, President of the FOP.


The purpose of the hearing was to discuss the important role that the BVP Program plays in helping ensure law enforcement agencies are able to purchase life-saving vests for their officers. Additionally, during the hearing, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) announced his intention to introduce legislation to reauthorize the BVP Program in the coming weeks. The program is slated to expire at the end of 2012.  


Additionally, NSA President Sheriff Paul Fitzgerald, on behalf of NSA, submitted a statement for the record on the importance of the BVP Program. A copy of Sheriff Fitzgerald's statement can be found at, on the Government Affairs page, under Legislative Issues/Congressional Testimony.
FY2012 COPS Hiring Application Period Now Open


On March 1, the application process opened for the FY2012 funding cycle for the COPS Hiring Program (CHP). The CHP funding can be used to rehire a laid-off officer, prevent a lay-off, or hire a new officer.  Agencies electing to hire new officers will be required to hire a veteran.  Due to the limited funding that is available this year, ONLY those applicants that submitted applications for funding under 2011 CHP will be considered for funding under 2012 CHP. If an agency submitted an application last year under 2011 CHP, but did not receive funding, that application was placed in a "pending" status, and carried forward into FY 2012 in anticipation of additional hiring funds being made available. 


Applicable agencies will have until 7:59PM EDT on Thursday, March 22, 2012, to submit application updates. There will be approximately $111 million available for the COPS Hiring Program this year.  Additionally, Congress did not waive the cap on grant awards, which is statutorily set at $125,000 per position over the three-year grant period.  Additionally, Congress did not waive the local match, which is statutorily set at 25%.  Limited waivers of the cap and match will be granted and the waiver process is explained in the application materials your members will receive.


For further questions regarding the FY2012 CHP funding and application process, please contact: or Additionally you may also call 1(800)421-6770 between 9:00AM and 5:00PM Eastern Time.
REMINDER: Hatch Act Legislation Cosponsors Needed 

SHERIFFS:Please continue to reach out to both your U.S. House of Representatives Members and U.S. Senators and encourage them to cosponsor HR498 & S1562. The more support we have for the legislation, the easier the bill will be to move! 


For a sample letter of support and fact sheet on HR498 or S1562, please contact Stephanie Garlock at or 703-838-5316. Also, to find out if your Members of Congress are already cosponsors, please contact Stephanie.


Secure Communities Activated in New Jurisdictions 

On February 22, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deployed Secure Communities in several new jurisdictions across the country. Secure Communities was activated for: 7 jurisdictions in Connecticut (Hartford, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London, Tolland, Windham), the remaining 2 jurisdictions in Maryland (Baltimore City and Montgomery), and the entire state of New Jersey. ICE is currently working to deploy Secure Communities in all jurisdictions in the United States by 2013. Additional information about Secure Communities can be found at:
INFORMATION NEEDED: Data on Byrne JAG Funding 

The Byrne JAG Program is up for reauthorization this year, as the program expires at the end of September 2012. As such, the House Judiciary Committee has begun to look at the program and reauthorization.


NSA, along with our law enforcement partners, are working closely together to ensure the concerns of law enforcement will be taken into consideration as the House Judiciary Committee moves forward in terms of reauthorization.


As such, it will be critical to have information from sheriffs on aspects of the Byrne JAG program. NSA would ask sheriffs to please let us know:



  1. What does your office use Byrne JAG funding for?
  2. What problems are you experiencing when applying for Byrne JAG funding? Is the grant process difficult? If yes, what specifically is problematic with the grant process?


As a side note, is there a specific purpose area, such as mental health or rural law enforcement that you would like to see a funding source for under DOJ? If yes, please explain the area and what you would use it for.


The information that you provide will be vital to helping in the Byrne JAG reauthorization process. If you could please e-mail your answers and information to: as soon as possible, we would be greatly appreciative.


Additionally, please feel free to contact Stephanie Garlock at 703-838-5316 if you have any questions.

News & Updates
Save the Date!
NSA 2012 Annual Conference
June 16-20, 2012
Gaylord Opryland
Nashville, TN

For more information, go to

If you have any questions, please contact
Stephanie Garlock at or (703) 838-5316.
Connect With Us
Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView our profile on LinkedIn