IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
January 29, 2008
Mr. Biden (for himself, Mr. Sununu, and Mr. Specter) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
To establish an awards mechanism to honor exceptional acts of bravery in the line of duty by Federal law enforcement officers.
This Act may be cited as the
Federal Law Enforcement Congressional
Badge of Bravery Act of 2007.
Congress finds as follows:
According to the Department of Justice, in the past 7 years, an average of 150 Federal law enforcement officers per year sustained physical injuries while dealing with an assaultive subject.
More than 70 Federal agencies employ Federal law enforcement officers but only 2 such agencies have an awards mechanism to recognize Federal law enforcement officers who are injured in the line of duty for acts of bravery.
In contrast to the lack of an awards mechanism for Federal law enforcement officers, the President awards the Purple Heart for military personnel wounded or killed during armed service, and most State and local police departments have commendations and medals for officers who are injured in the line of duty.
Formal congressional recognition does not exist to honor Federal law enforcement officers who are injured in the line of duty.
It is appropriate for Congress to recognize and honor the brave men and women in Federal law enforcement who are injured while putting themselves at personal risk in the line of duty.
Authorization of a Badge
The Attorney General
may award, and a Member of Congress or the Attorney General may present, in the
name of Congress a Congressional Badge of Bravery (in this Act referred to as
Badge) to a Federal law enforcement officer who is cited by
the Attorney General, upon the recommendation of the Congressional Badge of
Bravery Board, for performing an act of bravery while in the line of
An agency head may nominate for a Badge an individual—
who is a Federal law enforcement officer working within the agency of the agency head making the nomination; and
sustained a physical injury while—
engaged in his or her lawful duties; and
performing an act characterized as bravery by the agency head making the nomination; and
put himself or herself at personal risk when the injury described in clause (i) occurred; or
while not injured, performed an act characterized as bravery by the agency head making the nomination that placed that individual at risk of serious physical injury or death.
A nomination under subsection (a) shall include—
a written narrative, of not more than 2 pages, describing the circumstances under which the nominee performed the act of bravery described in subsection (a) and how the circumstances meet the criteria described in such subsection;
the full name of the nominee;
the home mailing address of the nominee;
the agency in which the nominee served on the date when such nominee performed the act of bravery described in subsection (a);
the occupational title and grade or rank of the nominee;
the field office address of the nominee on the date when such nominee performed the act of bravery described in subsection (a); and
the number of years of Government service by the nominee as of the date when such nominee performed the act of bravery described in subsection (a).
An agency head shall submit each nomination under subsection (a) to the Congressional Badge of Bravery Office by February 15 of the year following the date on which the nominee performed the act of bravery described in subsection (a).
Congressional Badge of Bravery Board
There is established within the Department
of Justice a Congressional Badge of Bravery Board (in this Act referred to as
The Board shall do the following:
Design the Badge with appropriate ribbons and appurtenances.
Select an engraver to produce each Badge.
Recommend recipients of the Badge from among those nominations timely submitted to the Congressional Badge of Bravery Office.
Annually present to the Attorney General the names of Federal law enforcement officers who the Board recommends as Badge recipients in accordance with the criteria described in section 4(a).
After approval by the Attorney General—
procure the Badges from the engraver selected under paragraph (2);
send a letter announcing the award of each Badge to the agency head who nominated the recipient of such Badge;
send a letter to each Member of Congress representing the congressional district where the recipient of each Badge resides to offer such Member an opportunity to present such Badge; and
make or facilitate arrangements for presenting each Badge in accordance with section 7.
Set an annual timetable for fulfilling the duties described in this subsection.
Number and Appointment
The Board shall
be composed of 7 members (in this Act referred to as the
members) appointed as follows:
One member jointly appointed by the majority leader and minority leader of the Senate.
One member jointly appointed by the Speaker and minority leader of the House of Representatives.
One member from the Department of Justice appointed by the Attorney General.
Four members of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association appointed by the Executive Board of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association.
No more than 5 Board members may be members of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association.
Board members shall be individuals with knowledge or expertise, whether by experience or training, in the field of Federal law enforcement.
Terms and Vacancies
Each Board member shall be appointed for 2 years and may be reappointed. A vacancy in the Board shall not affect the powers of the Board and shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.
The Chairperson of the Board shall be a Board member elected by a majority of the Board.
The Board shall conduct its first meeting not later than 90 days after the appointment of a majority of Board members. Thereafter, the Board shall meet at the call of the Chairperson, or in the case of a vacancy of the position of Chairperson, at the call of the Attorney General.
Voting and Rules
A majority of Board members shall constitute a quorum to conduct business, but the Board may establish a lesser quorum for conducting hearings scheduled by the Board. The Board may establish by majority vote any other rules for the conduct of the business of the Board, if such rules are not inconsistent with this Act or other applicable law.
The Board may hold hearings, sit and act at times and places, take testimony, and receive evidence as the Board considers appropriate to carry out the duties of the Board under this Act. The Board may administer oaths or affirmations to witnesses appearing before it.
Witnesses requested to appear before the Board may be paid the same fees as are paid to witnesses under section 1821 of title 28, United States Code. The per diem and mileage allowances for witnesses shall be paid from funds appropriated to the Board.
Information from Federal Agencies
Subject to sections 552, 552a, and 552b of title 5, United States Code—
the Board may secure directly from any Federal department or agency information necessary to enable it to carry out this Act; and
upon request of the Board, the head of that department or agency shall furnish the information to the Board.
Information to be Kept Confidential
The Board shall not disclose any information which may compromise an ongoing law enforcement investigation or is otherwise required by law to be kept confidential.
Except as provided in paragraph (2), each Board member shall be compensated at a rate equal to the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay prescribed for level IV of the Executive Schedule under section 5315 of title 5, United States Code, for each day (including travel time) during which such Board member is engaged in the performance of the duties of the Board.
Prohibition of Compensation for Government Employees
Board members who serve as officers or employees of Federal, a State, or a local government may not receive additional pay, allowances, or benefits by reason of their service on the Board.
Each Board member shall receive travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, in accordance with applicable provisions under subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code.
Congressional Badge of Bravery Office
is established within the Department of Justice a Congressional Badge of
Bravery Office (in this Act referred to as the
receive nominations from agency heads on behalf of the Board and deliver such nominations to the Board at Board meetings described in section 5(d)(2); and
provide staff support to the Board to carry out the duties described in section 5(b).
Presentation of Badges
Presentation by Member of Congress
A Member of Congress may present a Badge to any Badge recipient who resides in such Member’s congressional district. If both a Senator and Representative choose to present a Badge, such Senator and Representative shall make a joint presentation.
Presentation by Attorney General
If no Member of Congress chooses to present the Badge as described in subsection (a), the Attorney General, or a designee of the Attorney General, shall present such Badge.
The office of the Member of Congress presenting each Badge may make arrangements for the presentation of such Badge, and if a Senator and Representative choose to participate jointly as described in subsection (a), the Members shall make joint arrangements. The Board shall facilitate any such presentation arrangements as requested by the congressional office presenting the Badge and shall make arrangements in cases not undertaken by Members of Congress.
For purposes of this Act:
Federal Law Enforcement Officer
The term Federal law enforcement officer means a Federal employee—
who has statutory authority to make arrests;
who is authorized by his or her agency to carry firearms; and
whose duties are primarily—
the investigation, apprehension, or detention of individuals suspected or convicted of a Federal criminal offense; or
the protection of Federal officials against threats to personal safety.
The term agency head means the head of any executive, legislative, or judicial branch Government entity that employs Federal law enforcement officers.