Op-ed: Fitzpatrick: protecting families, safeguarding police

By Brian Fitzpatrick

One hundred and thirty-seven.

Brian Fitzpatrick

That is the number of police officers who were killed in the line of duty in 2015, including one officer in Philadelphia.

Remembering the fallen on National Police Week is a solemn reminder of the daily risks faced by those who protect us and the ultimate sacrifice paid by their families.

For those of us who had the privilege to serve in law enforcement, this week underscores the critical responsibility we have to keep our communities safe.

Our nation is under constant threat, unimaginable just a generation ago. Terrorism blurs the lines of traditional law enforcement as it is a foreign menace on domestic soil. It places every police officer and first responder on the front lines, as they protect our families here at home.

Having supported counterterrorism efforts as a former supervisory special agent in the FBI, my experience affords a unique perspective on the steps we can take to keep our families safe.

It begins with clearly defining our enemies and executing strategies to defeat them, not appease them. ISIS and their copycats must be eliminated.

Our foreign policy must be based on facts and logic, not political correctness. Containment will only embolden ISIS to spread their depraved ideology of hate and create other radicalized followers here at home.

By allowing military leaders, not politicians, to develop and implement our military strategy, those seeking to dispose ISIS to the dustbin of history will rise and be victorious.

We have allies in the Middle East who are ready, willing and able to take the fight to ISIS.  They need to know we have their back.

Cutting off the lifeblood of terrorism – money – is also another component to a comprehensive plan. Money enables extremists to self-finance and perpetuate their evil agendas.  Any nation or individual conducting business with our nation’s enemies must be held accountable.

Furthermore, we must reverse the misguided and dangerous Iran nuclear deal. The current Iranian regime will undoubtedly continue to pursue a nuclear weapon while using access to international commerce to fund terrorist groups worldwide.

Strategies like this can restore American leadership across the globe in a manner that advances our interests without putting our resources at risk.

Here at home, there is more to be done.

Our borders are not secure. It is well-documented that terror groups understand this weakness and attempt to exploit it regularly.

Through first-hand experience, it is abundantly clear that we must use all of the prudent and proven options available to police our border.

That includes securing the southern border through a physical barrier, constant aerial surveillance, an enhanced human intelligence program to intercept threats before they reach us, and the formation of a Federal Agent-National Guard Task Force to police our borders.

Law enforcement should be provided with all of the tools necessary to keep us safe. This is much more than simply purchasing traditional equipment and gear associated with policing. It means adopting the policies proven to stop terrorism, like information sharing.

Just as importantly, it means ensuring that all municipalities comply with our laws.

Case in point, several cities across the United States, including the City of Philadelphia, are in direct defiance of President Obama’s order to end their illegal policy known as ‘Sanctuary Cities.’

These cities refuse to notify federal authorities when a non-citizen living in the U.S. illegally is going to be released from police custody, even if that person is convicted of a violent felony, is an active gang member or suspected of being a terrorist.

Not reporting suspected terrorists to federal authorities is a recipe for disaster, particularly when it is potentially happening just a few miles away from our homes.

As a result of the national security and public safety agenda that I have put forward, I have earned the full support of our own Bucks County Fraternal Order of Police leadership.

These are the policies that will keep our families safe while also protecting our police officers and public safety officers.

It will be my honor to represent our community, and I will do my best to protect us in the future as I have done in the past as both an FBI special agent and federal prosecutor.

Please join me in this fight to take our values and priorities to our nation’s capital. ••

Brian Fitzpatrick is a candidate for Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional District.  He is a former FBI supervisory special agent from Bucks County.

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