A picture of Representative Norma J. Torres
Norma T.
Democrat CA 35

About Rep. Norma
  • Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers Reform and Improvement Act of 2015

    by Representative Norma J. Torres

    Posted on 2015-12-08

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    TORRES. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

    Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 3842, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers Reform and Improvement Act of 2015.

    Mr. Speaker, H.R. 3842 amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to provide specific authorities for the Director of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers, or FLETC. I am proud to join Mr. Carter in introducing this very important legislation.

    FLETC, established in 1975 and transitioned from the Treasury Department to the Department of Homeland Security in 2002, provides Federal and other law enforcement agencies with high-quality, cost- effective training. Training is carried out by a group of experienced instructors who use modern facilities and standardized course content at locations in Georgia, Maryland, New Mexico, and South Carolina.

    FLETC also has a unique relationship with the Maritime Law Enforcement Training Center at the Port of Los Angeles, where together they have developed comprehensive maritime security training for State and local agencies. Together, this partnership between FLETC and the Port of Los Angeles helps ensure our local law enforcement get the training they need to protect America's critical ports and waterways, particularly important at a port that accounts for more than 40 percent of the goods that enter the United States.

    H.R. 3842 was reported favorably from the Homeland Security Committee with bipartisan approval last month.

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to note that, during the committee's November 4 markup of H.R. 3842, members unanimously adopted three Democratic amendments to the bill.

    The first amendment underscores FLETC's responsibility to conduct acquisition activities in accordance with existing law and regulation, which include both a requirement that FLETC's Director evaluate contractors' integrity and business ethics in performance of previous contracts and vests FLETC's Director with the responsibility of ensuring that a fair proportion of contracting dollars are awarded to small businesses.

    The second amendment authorizes strategic partnerships between FLETC and local law enforcement agencies, including the existing partnership between FLETC and the Maritime Law Enforcement Training Center operated by the Port of Los Angeles.

    This amendment also authorizes FLETC to work with the DHS National Protection and Programs Directorate to make training available to security professionals in the private sector, particularly those involved with protecting critical infrastructure.

    The final amendment authorizes FLETC's Director to detail employees to various components in the Department to assist in the development of critical Departmental programs and initiatives.

    The urgency to pass this bill has only grown in the last week. Last Wednesday a shooting just outside of my district, in an area I represented as a State senator, in California, San Bernardino County, affirmed that our local law enforcement are our first line of defense in the fight against terror. We must ensure that they have the most up- to-date training as possible.

    I know firsthand how important this kind of coordination is between all levels of enforcement. As a 911 dispatcher for nearly 20 years, I can't tell you how important it is to ensure that our first responders have the tools and resources they need to keep us safe.

    Earlier this year I held a roundtable meeting with local law enforcement, the FBI, Homeland Security, and other Federal officials to discuss emergency coordination and emerging threats to our communities. As a part of this discussion, our local police stressed the [[Page H9040]] need for additional resources and better information sharing and training to combat these threats.

    During last week's attack, we saw San Bernardino law enforcement respond effectively to protect our community, but there is so much more we can do. If our Nation is to address the threat of future attacks, we must ensure that law enforcement personnel throughout the Nation not only have the tools they need to do so, but also the training, to effectively address the diverse terrorism landscape.

    With this in mind, Mr. Speaker, I would commend this bill to the House for consideration.

    Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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