For the most part, most cops are not too trusting of others. The nature of their job, the types of incidents they deal with and the criminals they encounter, in large part, account for that mindset. Wary of politicians and not overly confident of their political promises on the campaign trail that may later prove otherwise, cops are cautious concerning people they support and the causes they embrace.
The greatest allies any politician can have are members of the public safety community. Law enforcement officers are especially adept at reading people and situations, and they can instantaneously size up both. They quickly hone in on the sincerity of politicians’ promises, discern the essence of the philosophies they profess and readily recognize if the broad spectrum of public safety needs will be addressed and actually fulfilled.
For politicians who have already proven themselves in the public sector and, particularly, those who have previously served in a public safety or law enforcement capacity, they have a sharp edge in gaining the approval of cops nationwide. In fact, some of them even serve as exemplary role models for public service and inspire those around them to desire to excel and continue to pursue their professional ambitions.
A Proven Entity
Former Prince George’s County Maryland State’s Attorney, Glenn F. Ivey, is an ideal example. He served as the top prosecutor in the Maryland County within the National Capitol D. C. Region from 2002-2010. Prior to that, he was an Assistant U. S. Attorney in Washington, D. C., had extensive experience on Capitol Hill and was the Chief Legal Counsel to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, the Senate Whitewater Committee under Senator Paul Sarbanes, and Senior Legislative Aide to Congressman John Conyers. He was also the Chair of the Public Service Commission.
Ivey, as State’s Attorney, was approachable, and his door was always open to welcome his employees, cops from his jurisdiction as well as the surrounding region, other public servants within the criminal justice system and residents in the community. Extremely personable and down to earth, highly intelligent, street savvy, always willing to listen, as well as be fair and objective, Ivey quickly secured the confidence and trust of the law enforcement community. Cops recognize his sincerity. They realize that what they see is what they get with Ivey. In addition, his devotion to issues and the causes he sincerely believes in, coupled with his proactive efforts that accompany them, serve as demonstrable proof that he is a mover and a shaker in the public service sector.
A popular public servant with national recognition, Ivey chose not to run for a third term as State’s Attorney in Prince George’s County, Maryland. He set his sights higher and announced a run for the United States Congress in November 2011. Unfortunately, on January 11, 2012, he withdrew from the race due to inadequate fund raising in a tight economy. “With the April 3 primary fast approaching and the ever increasing costs of Congressional campaigns sky-rocketing, it would take a very substantial amount of money to get my message out to voters in two very expensive media markets. A tough economy and a compressed time frame have made it tough for my campaign to raise enough funds to move forward….While this has been a challenging endeavor, it has been a learning experience,” Ivey said.
“It’s easy to become cynical in the hustle and bustle world of 2012. Don’t lose your focus. Remember why you chose to enter law enforcement, a sense of duty, a commitment to public service and a chance to make a real difference. The same is true in the political process. Choose leaders who understand that police are the men and women who run towards danger and not away from it. Be involved with legislators who understand that effective laws make policing our communities better for all of us. Stay in touch with your political leaders so they know the importance of a new communications system, the need for more officers on the streets and on the Federal level, the ability to tap into resources such as labs, computers and databases,” says Ivey.
A Positive Impact
In his role as State’s Attorney, Ivey demonstrated his passion to make a positive impact in the arena of intimate partner and domestic violence. He established a dedicated Domestic Violence Unit (DVU) within his office formerly staffed with a Subject Matter Expert and other professionals to provide direct and immediate services to victims of domestic violence. He considered victims of domestic violence a priority of his administration, and he proved that throughout his tenure in office.
Inspired by a staff member of his DV unit, Ivey took the lead to initiate a move to repeal the Spousal Privilege Law in Maryland in which legally married domestic violence victims had a one-time option to drop charges — no matter how egregious or violent the case. He recognized the numerous pitfalls of this option that included the victim returning to a violent and potentially lethal situation, victim/witness intimidation factors, lack of offender accountability and, ultimately, having no positive impact on the community.
Moreover, Ivey understood that cops could potentially become jaded after sitting in court for hours awaiting their case to be heard only to have the victim exert the privilege. Subsequently, within a short time span, the same officers would receive a call for service to respond to the same household for the same victim and, again, would repeat the same process. Proactively, Ivey had legislation developed, obtained necessary sponsors and he, as well as key staff members, testified before the Maryland General Assembly in support of the bill. Though it did not pass, on more than one occasion, Ivey tenaciously pursued the fight until he left office.
He also actively participated in the development and evolution of “Project Safe Sunday” that was held yearly during Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October. Ivey recognized that the faith community was lacking knowledge about key issues surrounding domestic violence. He was also aware that many domestic violence victims in various congregations attended church and were reachable with a pertinent message. Additionally, when victims did have the courage to approach their pastors requesting assistance, Ivey understood they were often sent home with nothing other than a comment to live with it ‘for better or worse.’ Consequently, through “Project Safe Sunday” Ivey and his staff became very proactive with efforts to provide training to pastors in the region about critical domestic violence issues that would enable them to reach out to victims through sermons, enable them to offer more practical and appropriate advice and provide information on necessary referral sources for their safety.
Ivey’s passion to make a difference for domestic violence has not faded and, if elected to Congress, he plans to continue to be a voice for victims of domestic violence and for providing law enforcement officers the tools o f the trade (i.e. body armor) that they need to not only respond to DV calls but other dangerous calls as well. His vision includes enhancing “Project Safe Sunday” to a national network. “It would take off; you don’t need extra money from the government. Share the expertise, the trial and error hit of it and get the information out there,” Ivey says.
Ivey also recognizes the need to streamline federal and state prosecutions. “Sometimes, it can be challenging — you have federal and state law enforcement working on the same case,” Ivey says. He understands the voices of prosecutors are not represented. Equally important, Ivey understands that, oftentimes, victims are an unrepresented voice. Consequently, he perceives the ongoing need for and importance of victims’ rights.
A Strong Advocate
“From crime scene to courthouse, I have worked closely with police and prosecutors to seek out justice for victims. As an Assistant U. S. Attorney and elected State’s Attorney, I have an intimate knowledge of how the criminal justice system works. I believe I have earned the respect of rank and file law enforcement. By prosecuting cases that were difficult both forensically and politically, I have gained the trust of police leadership. My ability to make difficult decisions based on the facts and openness to hear all sides of an argument will allow me to advocate effectively for the law enforcement community. I believe my balanced approach to law enforcement will be an asset in Congress,” Ivey says.
Ivey is a strong advocate for officer safety, and he takes no lenient stance on cop killers. “Law enforcement professionals and first responders risk their lives every day. We should honor their service and their lives by seeking out the strongest punishment possible when bad guys kill or hurt those who protect us,” Ivey says.
Ivey has a compelling work ethic and strong passion for the tenets of law enforcement professionals across the country. His desire to become a prosecutor and enter the public safety sector was not an accident. “I knew from an early age that I could make a difference. But it wasn’t until later that I realized victims of crime needed someone to stand up for them. It was the sexual assault of a friend while I was at Harvard Law School that solidified my pursuit of justice for victims, putting me on the path to be a prosecutor. My first hand experience with leaders on Capitol Hill showed me that we can truly be responsible for and responsive to the needs of the people — this is, in large part, why I am running for Congress,” Ivey says.
Ivey has proven to be a public servant of genuine quality whose direction is motivated by a true sense of justice and doing what is right. His work ethic, his professional conduct, and his demonstrated behavior have proven that he is fair, objective, and he does not compromise his principles, integrity or character for anything that is less than honorable. Though he will not be currently involved in the political process by seeking higher office as he planned, he will not lose sight of the vitally important role of law enforcement officers in communities across the nation. As an ardent advocate for victims of crime and passionate about making a concrete and positive difference in significant areas of public safety, Glenn Ivey is the closest thing a former prosecutor and politician can be to a “cop’s cop.”