May 15, 1998


"Our country's law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day to make our communities safe and healthy places to raise a family. Today, we must continue to do everything possible to empower and honor America's law enforcement officers."

-Vice President Al Gore
May 15, 1998

Today, Vice President Gore joins Attorney General Reno, Secretary Rubin, and Fraternal Order of Police ("FOP") President Gil Gallegos, to honor fallen police officers. In his remarks, the Vice President announces new legislative proposals to protect law enforcement officials and our families.

Taking Action to Protect Officers and Punish Criminals. The Administration remains determined to build on initiatives which have helped to reduce crime and protect those who enforce our nation's laws. Today, the Vice President announces three Administration initiatives: 1) a call for increased prison sentences for criminals who commit federal crimes while wearing bulletproof vests; 2) legislation to provide funding for the purchase of bulletproof vests for state and local police officers; and 3) endorsing the FOP's proposal to create a law enforcement medal of valor to honor those federal, state, and local law enforcement officers who fall in the line of duty.

Increased Sentences For Criminals That Wear Bulletproof Vests. President Clinton and Vice President Gore are calling for legislation that provides for sentence enhancement, including an increased maximum penalty and a minimum mandatory penalty, for any individual who commits a federal crime while wearing a bulletproof vest. The Administration is also calling on governors and state legislatures to pass similar legislation. More Bulletproof Vests for Law Enforcement Officers. The Administration supports the concept advanced in legislation sponsored by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO) and Congressman Peter Visclosky (D-IN) that would establish a federal grant program to help state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies purchase bulletproof vests for their officers.

A Law Enforcement Medal of Valor For Law Enforcement Officers. President Clinton and Vice President Gore are calling for legislation to create a law enforcement medal of valor to honor those federal, state and local officers who die in the line of duty, while also inspiring those men and women who continue to serve their country as members of the law enforcement community.

Longest Period of Decline in Violent Crime in 36 Years. Today's announcement adds to the work of the Administration in making America's streets safe for all people. Under President Clinton:

100,000 new police are being added to the street, already more than 73,000 new officers have been funded.

300,000 felons, fugitives and stalkers have been denied guns, since the President signed the Brady Bill into law.

60 additional categories of violent felonies are subject to the death penalty, including the murder of federal law enforcement agents.

the import of 19 deadly assault weapons has been banned.

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