ON DAY THREE OF THE MAIN STREET EXPRESS TOUR, EDWARDS UNVEILS AGGRESSIVE AGENDA TO KEEP COMMUNITIES SAFE
In a sign of the campaign’s growing momentum, 38 law enforcement leaders from across Iowa announce their support for Edwards
Iowa City, Iowa – Today, on the third day of his Main Street Express bus tour across Iowa, Senator John Edwards unveiled an agenda to support law enforcement officials and keep families safe in their communities. To build One America where everyone can get ahead, Edwards believes it is critical that our citizens feel secure in their communities. Today, Edwards also received the endorsement of 38 Iowa law enforcement leaders, building on the growing momentum of his campaign. These leaders believe Edwards is the best candidate to win the White House and make a real commitment to keeping our communities safe. Edwards’ nine-point Keeping Our Communities Safe initiative includes proposals for putting more cops on the beat, providing resources to fight drug manufacturing and addiction, stopping the cycle of repeat offenses, helping at-risk youth and promoting gun safety while protecting gun rights.
“Crime in America is not an urban problem or a rural problem. It’s an American problem,” said Edwards. “We can’t build One America – where every has an equal chance to succeed – until we address this problem so that every one of us is safe – day and night – in our own communities. That means supporting strong and fair law enforcement in every community.
“I am honored to have the support of these law enforcement leaders. These men and women are on the front lines – serving our communities, protecting the public, and keeping America safe. As president, I will stand up for them every single day. And I will work to make sure all Americans are safe and secure and able to live go as far as their hard work and talent will take them.”
“John Edwards understand the importance of strengthening law enforcement so we can fight crime in American cities and towns, and help rural America deal with the devastating effects of meth abuse,” said Lonny Pulkrabek, Johnson County Sheriff and Edwards endorser. “John Edwards is the best candidate to win the White House and bring big change to America. I know that he will fight everyday to make sure law enforcement officials have the resources they need to keep our communities safe.”
The law enforcement leaders endorsing Edwards come from every part of the state and reflect Edwards’ commitment to reaching out to Iowans in all 99 counties. Edwards is the only candidate to visit and take questions from caucus goers in every county in Iowa twice. Their endorsement comes as Edwards is gaining strength in Iowa. He was recently endorsed by Congressman Bruce Braley.
Edwards’ nine-point plan for Keeping Our Communities Safe calls for:
Putting more cops on the beat: EdwarQds supports the COPS program, which helped hire 117,000 police officers and sheriff’s deputies, and believes legislation should be extended to hire 50,000 more officers. He also supports restoring funding for bullet-resistant vests, and will fund state and city initiatives to prosecute gangs, drugs and illegal guns.
Ridding rural America of methamphetamines: Edwards will invest in enforcing drug laws in rural areas, help states make meth ingredients more difficult to get, support the use of statewide electronic logbooks to track meth ingredient purchases and expand programs that successfully treat addicts.
Helping first responders and strengthening interagency cooperation and intelligence: Edwards will provide more funding to help local government meet the growing demands of emergency preparedness and will ensure that local law enforcement agencies receive the information they need to respond to terrorist threats.
Protecting gun rights and promoting gun safety: Edwards believes we can do two things at once: protect gun rights and promote gun safety. He supports renewing the assault weapons ban, strengthening the system of background checks on gun sales, and tracing guns used in crimes so we can make our streets and communities safer.
Supporting crime victims and ending violence against women: Edwards supports efforts to fully fund the Violence Against Women Act and will continue funding for programs supported by the Victims of Crime Act.
Helping at-risk youth: Edwards will help keep at-risk youth out of trouble with new initiatives for dropouts and support for after-school programs.
A criminal justice system for One America: Edwards will ban racial profiling in law enforcement and supports efforts to reform mandatory minimum sentences and to provide alternatives to imprisonment for non-violent, first-time offenders.
Stopping the cycle of repeat offenses: Edwards will help ex-offenders return to productive lives with literacy education, drug treatment and stepping stone jobs. He will also increase resources for overworked parole officers.
Investing in in-custody substance abuse, mental health and education programs: Edwards will increase support for in-custody treatment and mental health programs and will help fund GED and literacy programs for those in custody.
Today marks day-three of Edwards’ Main Street Express bus tour across Iowa. Edwards is scheduled to make stops in Iowa City, Grinnell and Des Monies today, and tomorrow he’ll participate in the Des Moines Register Presidential Debate in Johnston, Iowa, followed with a community meeting in Indianola.
For further details, please see Edwards’ Keeping Our Communities Safe policy paper included below.
Iowa Law Enforcement Leaders for Edwards
Merle Sass, former Harrison County Sheriff
Stacey Oleson, Juvenile Court Liaison, Floyd County
Gerald Herburger, retired Policeman, Dubuque County
Dennis W. Anderson, Polk County Sheriff
Mark Pape, Jail Administrator, Jackson County
Duane Worthy, Jail Administrator, Des Moines County
Don Zeller, Linn County Sheriff
Dick Couffman, Jail Administrator, Keokuk County
Judson Frisk, Assistant County Attorney, Harrison County
Amy Campbell, Newton Parking Enforcement, Jasper County
Ron Wheeler, Clarke County Attorney
Ron George, Keokuk County Sheriff
Chad Roeder, Jailer, Jackson County
Anthony Jago, Iowa Department of Corrections, Page County
Steve MacDonald, Fremont County Sheriff
Randy Manning, Deputy Sheriff, Jackson County
Linn Hall, Iowa Department of Corrections 3rd District Director, Woodbury County
Allen Fry, Corydon Police Chief, Wayne County
Russ Long, Deputy Sheriff, Jackson County
Gary Benson, Urbana Police Chief, Benton County
Lonny Pulkrabek, Johnson County Sheriff
Dave Thompson, Benton County Attorney
Brendan Zeimet, Maquoketa Police Officer, Jackson County
Don Kirkendall, Wapello County Sheriff
David Helman, retired Federal Prison Warden, Henry County
Bernie Walther, Cedar Rapids Police Captain, Linn County
Gail Teter, Deputy Sheriff, Wayne County
Jim Robbins, Boone County Attorney
Russell Kettmann, Jackson County Sheriff
Denise Jago, Iowa Department of Corrections, Page County
Vic Conlee, retired Deputy Sheriff, Lee County
Jerry Michael, Detective, Benton County
Stephen Holmes, Story County Attorney
Melissa Anderson-Seeber, Chief Local Public Defender, Black Hawk County
Pat Wegman, Chickasaw County Attorney
Bill Kerns, Clarke County Sheriff
Rodney Ohrt, Deputy Sheriff, Cedar County
Carol McKee, Law Enforcement Center Matron, Davis County
Keeping Our Communities Safe
“Crime in America is not an urban problem or a rural problem. It’s an American problem. We can’t build One America – where every has an equal chance to succeed – until we address this problem so that every one of us is safe – day and night – in our own communities. That means supporting strong and fair law enforcement in every community.” - John Edwards
Crime continues to plague American cities and towns. Violent crime increased in 2006 for the second year in a row, reversing a long trend of lowering crime. Violent crime in metropolitan counties grew by 3 percent and murder in those counties grew by 6 percent. And rural areas continue to be affected by trends of crystal meth abuse and farm crimes. [AP, 6/2/2007; FBI, 2007; BJS, 2005; Christian Science Monitor, 10/24/06]
Today, John Edwards released his nine-point Keeping Our Communities Safe initiative to make Americans safer by fighting crime and strengthening law enforcement across the country. As president Edwards will put more cops on the beat, provide resources to fight drug manufacturing and addiction, stop the cycle of repeat offenses, help at-risk youth and promote gun safety while protecting gun rights.
Put More Cops on the Beat: Edwards supports the COPS program, which helped hire 117,000 police officers and sheriff’s deputies – including more than 700 in Iowa – and brought down the crime rate. Legislation extending COPS is currently stuck in the Senate. Edwards believes the legislation should be extended to hire 50,000 more officers and he will restore funding for bullet-resistant vests. He also supports funding for state and city initiatives to prosecute gangs, drugs and illegal guns, while supporting effective youth intervention and crime prevention programs. Edwards will also support steps to encourage community policing and build trust between police officers and the communities they serve. [Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 11/26/2007; Boswell, 2007; Brookings, 2007; GAO, 2005]
Rid Rural America of Methamphetamines: Many areas of rural America are facing the devastating effects of meth abuse. It can be easily, quickly, and cheaply produced and is highly addictive. Iowa still ranks third in the country in treatment admissions for meth per 100,000 population, but federal funding for anti-drug programs in Iowa has been cut by 50 percent during the past five years. Edwards will invest in enforcing drug laws in rural areas, help states make meth ingredients more difficult to get, support the use of statewide electronic logbooks to facilitate information-sharing about the purchase of meth ingredients across jurisdictions and expand programs that successfully treat addicts such as the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment program for prisoners. [Des Moines Register, 9/19/07]
Help First Responders and Strengthen Interagency Cooperation and Intelligence: Our first responders are our first line of defense for homeland security. Yet we need to do far better to stand up for those who stand up for us. Edwards will provide more funding to help local government meet the growing demands of emergency preparedness. Police on the front lines need better warning information, more security clearances, and improved access to newly-combined federal watch lists. Edwards will apply all available federal resources to ensure that local law enforcement agencies receive the information they need to respond to terrorist threats.
Protect Gun Rights and Promote Gun Safety: Edwards hunted when he was young and believes that the Second Amendment protects the rural way of life that he grew up with. He believes that law-abiding citizens should be able to own firearms to protect themselves and their families, enjoy sport shooting and take part in the time-honored tradition of hunting. At the same time, we've all seen the terrible consequences when guns fall into the hands of criminals and those who may pose a danger to themselves or others. We can do two things at once: protect gun rights and promote gun safety. To protect Americans, he supports renewing the assault weapons ban, strengthening the system of background checks on gun sales, and tracing guns used in crimes so we can make our streets and communities safer.
Support Crime Victims and End Violence against Women: Edwards supports efforts to fully fund the Violence Against Women Act, which provides resources for crisis centers, domestic violence shelters and continuing education to law enforcement and the courts, and will continue funding for programs supported by the Victims of Crime Act. He also supports legislation that allows crime victims and survivors to take time off from work to make court appearances and get help with safety planning, allows survivors to access unemployment benefits if forced to leave their job because of abuse, and that prohibits employment and insurance discrimination against survivors.
Help At-Risk Youth: Edwards will help keep at-risk youth out of trouble with new initiatives for dropouts and support for after-school programs. He will create multiple paths to graduation such as Second Chance schools for former dropouts and smaller alternative schools for at-risk students. He will also keep at-risk students in school with the Striving Readers literacy program and one-on-one tutoring and invest in afterschool programs that keeps kids off the streets and help parents balance work and family while offering children additional time for learning. Edwards has a special commitment to afterschool education. He and his wife Elizabeth started two free afterschool computer centers, the Wade Edwards Learning Labs (the WELLs), in North Carolina.
A Criminal Justice System for One America: We still have two criminal justice systems in this country. Iowa has the highest ratio of blacks to whites in its prisons of any state in the country. Edwards will ban racial profiling in law enforcement. He also supports efforts to reform mandatory minimum sentences and to provide alternatives to imprisonment – such as drug courts – for non-violent, first-time offenders. [Des Moines Register, 7/19/07]
Stop the Cycle of Repeat Offenses: Edwards will help ex-offenders return to productive lives with literacy education and drug treatment and stepping stone jobs. He will increase resources for overworked parole officers and backs greater community oversight and support for former offenders so that people leaving prison don’t go back to crime. He also supports strict oversight for probationers and parolees with certain, swift and graduated accountability and punishment for probation and parole violations.
Invest in In-Custody Substance Abuse, Mental Health and Education Programs:
Offenders and accused individuals with drug problems, mental illnesses
or both are overwhelming state and local correctional facilities.
Edwards will increase support for in-custody treatment and mental health
programs that have bee proven to be effective and provide resources to
help overburdened local government provide GED and literacy programs for
those in custody.