Orange County Convention Center
1:44 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Please. Thank you very much. You can sit. (Laughter.) It’s great to be with you. And I want to thank Chief Dekmar for that wonderful introduction and for your lifetime of distinguished service. A very special friend of mine.
I’m thrilled to be here in the great state of Florida, with the incredible men and women of law enforcement. On behalf of all Americans, I want to express our eternal gratitude for what you do every single day to protect our families, defend our streets, and take down criminals. And what you do is keep America safe, and nobody does it better than you. Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.)
And I also want to thank your amazing families. Because you know that, without them, you couldn’t do it. And they’re here. And they are indeed fantastic people. So thank you to the families. Appreciate it very much. (Applause.)
We are thrilled to be joined today by a true friend of law enforcement, Governor Rick Scott. And I will tell you that Rick has been incredible when it comes to law enforcement. Anytime you need funds from the federal government, he’s on the phone. “Mr. President, we need more funds.” “What’s it for this time, Rick?” (Laughter.) “It’s for law enforcement.” And I say, “You got them.”
And speaking of that — (applause) — oh, you got them. You got them. When law enforcement wants it — and they always — they’re reasonable. They want it. And what you do is so incredible.
So I just want to say, Rick is a tremendous governor, and he is your biggest fan. So thank you very much.
And also, another one of your big fans, I will tell you that, is Attorney General Pam Bondi, who is with us today. And thank you, Pam. Thank you very much, wherever you may be. She’s in this big room someplace. (Applause.) Thank you. Incredible woman.
Thank you as well to our Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for being here. Flew down together. The press wants to know, “What did you talk about?” (Laughter.) But we had a very good talk, I will say it. That became a very big story, actually, folks. (Laughter.) We had a good talk.
As Hurricane Michael nears landfall, we are working with state and local officials in Florida to take all necessary precautions. And we urge all residents to be prepared and to heed local officials. I told Rick Scott that we are ready for you. We have already briefed FEMA, and FEMA is getting prepared. And it looks like a big one. Can you believe it? It looks like another big one. But we’ve handled them well. We have handled them very well. And that includes the one that just left us in Florida. It never ends.
But we’re all prepared, and hopefully it won’t be as bad as it’s looking. It looked, to me — looked, a couple of days ago, like it was not going to be much. And now, it’s looking like it could be a very big one. So we’re prepared. And good luck.
Today, I also want to extend my very special thanks to Orlando Chief John Mina and the entire Orlando Police Department for hosting us in this great city. (Applause.) John. Where is John? Thank you, John. Great job. Great city. Safe city, too, John. Thank you very much. Great job.
I also want to thank the board of IACP, and congratulations to your incoming President, Chief Paul Cell. Where is Chief? (Applause.) Chief. Good, Chief. I have a lot of respect for the Chief; I know the Chief. That means I guess I have to be here next year, Chief. Is that right? (Laughter.) Looking like that, right? That’s okay. For you guys, anything I can do, I’ll do.
Very importantly — (applause) — I want to recognize our law enforcement partners from around the world who have traveled here to share their experiences and to strengthen the vital cooperation that we all practice together. We have great, great cooperation all over the world. We deeply value your friendship and your partnership, and thank you very much for being here. Thank you. (Applause.)
This year, we proudly celebrate the 125th anniversary of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. It’s a great group.
Today, I stand before you, as the President of the United States, to tell you that my administration will always honor, cherish, and support the men and women in blue. And we are proud to do it. (Applause.)
Working together, we have achieved extraordinary progress in the fight against violent crime. We understand that reducing crime begins with respecting law enforcement.
For too many years, we have watched politicians escalate political attacks on our courageous police officers. And I’ve never seen it more than over the last few years. It’s disgraceful.
Politicians who spread this dangerous anti-police sentiment make life easier for criminals and more dangerous for law-abiding citizens. (Applause.) And they also make it more dangerous for police. And it must stop, and it must stop now. (Applause.)
Before I took office less than two years ago, our nation was experiencing a historic surge in violent crime. In 2015, 2016, an additional 128,000 violent crimes were committed nationwide compared to the two previous years. That’s a tremendous number of additional crime. Over the same period, we witnessed the steepest two-year consecutive increase in murders in nearly half a century.
But we are turning that tide around very rapidly, as you all know in this room. We are taking back our streets from drug lords, gangs, and crimes. We are being tough. We’re being smart. By the end of this year, murders in major cities are estimated to drop by close to 10 percent from their levels in 2016.
And I have directed the Attorney General’s office to immediately go to the great city of Chicago to help straighten out the terrible shooting wave. We want to straighten it out. We want to straighten it out fast. There’s no reason for what’s going on there. (Applause.)
I’ve told them to work with local authorities to try to change the terrible deal the city of Chicago entered into with ACLU, which ties law enforcement’s hands; and to strongly consider stop-and-frisk. It works, and it was meant for problems like Chicago. (Applause.) It was meant for it. Stop-and-frisk.
And Rudy Giuliani, when he was mayor of New York City, had a very strong program of stop-and-frisk. And it went from an unacceptably dangerous city to one of the safest cities in the country — and, I think, the safest big city in the country. So it works. It’s got to be properly applied, but stop-and-frisk works.
The crime spree is a terrible blight on that city, and we’ll do everything possible to get it done. I know the law enforcement people in Chicago, and I know how good they are. They could solve the problem if they were simply allowed to do their job and do their job properly. And that’s what they want to do. So, Chicago, we’re going to start working with you, as of today. (Applause.) Thank you.
In the Fiscal Year 2018, my administration brought charges against more federal firearm defendants and more violent criminals than ever before in the history of our country.
And to help former inmates become law-abiding and productive members of society, we are also working on a prison reform bill — a very, very big and comprehensive one.
And the best thing that could happen, I think we’ve already done: We have record numbers of jobs right now in the United States. There has never been a time when more people are working in our country than right now. (Applause.)
And our unemployment numbers in almost every category are at record lows. They are record lows. African American — best in history. Asian American — best in history. Hispanic American — best in history. We are doing incredibly well as a — as an economy.
And that’s a great thing when you talk about people coming out of prison — unable to get a job, totally unable to get a job; it’s a hopeless situation. Now, they’re getting jobs — to a certain extent and to a large extent because we’re doing so well, and employers are forced to take people that they maybe wouldn’t have done.
And some of those employers call me and get back to me. And they say, “Mr. President, it’s amazing how good these people are.” And not all of them — not all of anybody or any category is going to be great. But tremendous response. And these people have been given a second or even, in some cases, a third shot at it. And they’re doing really well.
So the economy being so great, and the jobs picture being so strong — people are getting an opportunity, and they’re doing an incredible job. So I just want to thank everybody in law enforcement. I know you agree with me on this. It’s a great thing. (Applause.)
And in particular, I have to thank the IACP for working with us on this effort and for endorsing important prison reform legislation all over the country. And we’re doing federal legislation, but all over the country. You folks have been fantastic.
Every single day of my administration, we will stand for law, order, and justice. Just two days ago, the Senate confirmed a supremely qualified nominee who will be a faithful defender of the rule of law — (applause) — and will defend the United States Constitution — the newest Supreme Court Justice, Brett Kavanaugh. (Applause.)
And I will tell you, when I decided on Brett — and we have tremendous talent in our legal system. But I decided on Brett. I said, “He’s flawless. He’s a flawless person.” The best student. The best scholar. The great intellect. Incredible record over many years. And yet, he’s a young man.
I said, “Brett, congratulations. This is going to be a piece of cake getting you confirmed.” (Laughter.) “This is going to be so easy. It should go quickly, nicely. Don’t even worry.” He was so thankful. (Laughter.) He said, “Mr. President, it’s the greatest honor of my life — United States Supreme Court. The greatest of my life.”
So I haven’t heard him say that again to me, but I think he still believes it. (Laughter.) But he’s a great person, and it was very, very unfair what happened to him — false charges, false accusations, horrible statements that were totally untrue that he knew nothing about. Frankly, terms that he probably never heard in his life. He was this. He was that. He’d never even heard of these terms. It was a disgraceful situation brought about by people that are evil.
And he toughed it out. We all toughed it out together. And I have to thank the Republican senators that fought so hard for this because it wasn’t easy. And it was a great honor to be involved in this situation. A lot of people would have said, “Oh, let’s give it up. Let’s go a different direction.” We don’t give up. You don’t give up. We don’t give up. Just don’t do it. (Applause.) He’s going to be a great Supreme Court justice — watch. A great one. He will be a great one.
We will perform the swearing-in tonight at 7 p.m., at the White House. That’s very exciting. So I leave here, and I go home, and I swear in a man who will be a truly great United States Supreme Court Justice. That’s going to be my honor. (Applause.) Thank you.
And I’m going to tell him about the spontaneous applause. Before I even finished — you people. (Laughter.) Because you knew what I was about to say, but I didn’t even say it. And you started before I completed. So that’s the kind of — all over the country, I’m doing rallies, and people are loving that man and loving that choice. So I think we’re all going to be very happy.
In order to keep every American safe, we are also making officer safety a top priority. (Applause.) In 2016, an officer was assaulted in America on an average of every 9 minutes. Is this even believable?
Last week, seven officers were shot in Florence, South Carolina — incredible state. One was killed; numerous were really badly injured. Our hearts break for the family of fallen Officer Terrence Carraway. We pray for his loved ones and for the officers who are still recovering. When a police officer is assaulted or killed, it is a wound inflicted upon our entire nation. (Applause.) It is.
And I have to say this, I don’t think you understand one thing: how much our country loves you and the job you do. You don’t hear it from them. (Applause.) You don’t hear it from them. They don’t tell you the real feeling. (Applause.) They don’t tell you the true feeling, but I know the true feeling. I know the true feeling. You don’t hear it from the media, but I can tell you, I know the feeling. And these people — the people of our country love you. So I just want you to know it direct.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you, Trump!
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you. I love him, too. He’s just not my type, I’m sorry. (Laughter.) He’s not my type. Thank you.
One of my very first actions as President was to direct my administration to take all necessary action to protect law enforcement from acts of violence against all of you.
We believe that criminals who kill our police officers should immediately, with trial — but rapidly as possible; not 15 years later, 20 years later — get the death penalty. (Applause.)
And importantly, we are also making sure you have the equipment you need to do the job. (Applause.) That’s why we are allowing local police to access surplus military equipment. (Applause.) And we’ve been doing this since the very first day of my administration, whereas others didn’t want you to have that equipment for very strange reasons. (Laughter.) They said it looked too tough, it looked too strong; it’s not a good look. You have people shooting at you, and they’re worried about your look. (Laughter.) Someday you’ll explain that one to me, please. I don’t quite get it. (Applause.) Explain it.
This equipment doesn’t only protect your lives and safety, it protects the lives and safety of every citizen that you serve. During Hurricane Harvey, surplus military equipment helped rescue more than 9,000 people. (Applause.)
We are also taking unprecedented action to help our local police fight the worst drug epidemic in our history — the opioid crisis — which took nearly 50,000 American lives last year.
We have secured the most funding in history to give you the tools and resources that you need to hunt down the traffickers, stop these poisonous drugs from coming into our country, and to save American lives.
In fact, today I’m announcing another $42.4 million for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program to attack this epidemic. (Applause.) This grant funding will go to more than 50 innovative projects targeting the greatest drug threats facing the United States.
And I will tell you that, last year in the budget — this year also — last year, we got $6 billion — $6 billion — to work on the opioid problem at every level, including people — really helping people that are in need of help.
Last year, we increased the average federal sentence for drug trafficking to its highest level since 2013. For the first time in years, we are ensuring there are real, tough consequences for those who flood our streets with deadly poison.
Thanks to your partnership, last year, our brave ICE agents seized 1 million pounds of narcotics, including almost 7,000 pounds of heroin and more than 2,300 pounds of fentanyl — saving thousands upon thousands of American lives. And this year, we’re way ahead of those numbers.
Last year alone, ICE removed nearly 130,000 criminal aliens from our country. And, as you know, my competitors don’t like that. They don’t like that. That’s the other thing you’re going to have to explain to me someday. Including thousands of vicious gang members and MS-13 predators. They’re gone. They’re gone. (Applause.)
Yet, these brave ICE officers have been subjected to shameless attacks by leading members of the Democrat Party, including outrageous calls to abolish ICE. And also, they’re not a big help to us in law enforcement. They don’t want to give us the kind of funds that you people are requesting. But you’re getting them anyway because we’re giving them to you. But they fight us at every turn. (Applause.) The Democrats fight us at every single turn. Whether it’s law enforcement or military, they fight us at every turn. But we win.
We condemn the vilification of law enforcement and law enforcement officers, and we stand proudly with the heroes of ICE, and Border Patrol, and law enforcement in general.
We also strongly oppose efforts from politicians to shackle local police departments and prevent them from cooperating with their federal partners. So let’s see whether or not Chicago — as an example, locally — accepts help. They need it. And we’ll straighten it out fast. We’re going to straighten it out fast.
I assume they want to straighten it out. Sometimes I think, “Maybe is it possible that they don’t?” But we’re going to be there. We’re going to try and help them.
Every day, these sanctuary city policies force the release of criminal aliens and gang members right back onto our streets, putting innocent civilians at grave risk — many people being killed.
I will fight every day for your right to cooperate with federal law enforcement and to protect your communities as you wish. And I know most of you in this room — I think probably everybody in this room — works brilliantly with our federal authorities. And it’s our honor to do it — including funding, by the way — including funding. Thank you. (Applause.)
Last week, my administration also provided historic levels of funding to improve school safety. Through STOP School Violence grants, we are giving local schools and police departments the resources they need to hire more officers, and train more teachers, and better detect and address early warning signs of mental illness before it’s too late. I made a lot of strides in the last year. (Applause.) Heavy funding — but you’ve made a lot of strides.
In every action we take, we are defending American safety and treasuring the extraordinary — I mean, we’re just helping as much as we can the extraordinary men and women who protect our communities.
Here with us today are all four nominees for the IACP Police Officer of the Year Award.
Officer Taylor Rust serves with the Plano, Texas Police Department. Good place. (Applause.) Where’s Taylor? Taylor. Where’s Taylor? Come on up here, Taylor. Run up here. They’ll let you up. Come on up. We’ll get all of them up. Come on. (Applause.)
A year ago, Taylor raced to the scene of an active shooter in a neighborhood, entered the house without any backup at all, and shot and killed the murderer — it turned out to be somebody with a lot of bad past — saving the lives of four civilians.
Officer Rust, we salute you and your remarkable courage. You are a great gentleman. Stay up here with me, okay? (Applause.) Say — come on, say couple of words.
OFFICER RUST: Thank you. Thank you. You’ll have to forgive me, I’m much more comfortable in the situation Mr. President described than being up here. (Laughter.)
It’s a tremendous honor for me to be here. I appreciate everything IACP has done for us, my family. My wife, Amber, is here. She’s been a tremendous support, as well, through this whole thing. (Applause.)
It’s been a very humbling experience for me, and it’s been an honor to be spoken in the same breath with the other three officers that are sitting over there today. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: That was a good job. He’ll be running for office soon. You watch. (Laughter.) Thank you very much, Taylor.
Last May, Officer Mark Dallas was on duty at Dixon High School, in Illinois, when he heard gunshots. Within — listen to this — three seconds, he was at the scene, right outside the auditorium where the entire senior class was gathered and was in a lot of trouble.
The shooter fled and fired shots at him, but Officer Dallas chased him down before a single student was injured. (Applause.) Officer Dallas’s son Joshua was one of the seniors inside that auditorium. Afterwards, Joshua said, “I wasn’t scared for my life at all because I knew my dad would protect us.” How good is that? (Applause.)
Thank you, Officer Dallas. Where are you? Officer Dallas, come on up here. That’s pretty good. That’s pretty good. (Applause.)
So his son had a little confidence in him. That’s not bad. That’s beautiful. Beautiful.
OFFICER DALLAS: Public speaking is not my best, but I’m — I’m extremely nervous. (Laughter.) Mr. President, I appreciate everything, and the support you give us. And I’m honored to be here with the IACP and the other nominees.
My son said he wasn’t scared because dad was out there. I was “dad” to 182 other kids in that gymnasium. (Applause.)
I just want to say thank you. I’m honored and blessed to be here. Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Beautiful story. Thank you very much. (Applause.) That’s a beautiful story. And your son was right.
In October of last year, Washington State Trooper Nathaniel Dawson pursued a car that violated a traffic law. When the car stopped, two gunmen began shooting at Trooper Dawson, and shooting very violently. Despite heavy fire, Trooper Dawson got out of his vehicle and fired back until the shooters ran away and were later apprehended. They were very dangerous criminals.
Our streets are safer, and our criminals recoil in fear because of brave officers like Trooper Dawson. And I want to thank you. Come up, please, Trooper Dawson. (Applause.)
TROOPER DAWSON: Wow. It’s a great honor to be here tonight. Thank you all for coming — Mr. President. I think we all would say the same: We’re just doing our job. And to be recognized is just extra. So thank you again. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Thank you. These people have a lot of respect for you. They don’t sit down when you’re up here. (Laughter.) They have a lot of respect, right? (Applause.) That’s great. Beautiful.
Finally, Sergeant Luis Celis of the Doral — I know it well — Florida Police Department — they are fantastic — responded to the call that you all read about — a big story at the time — that a shooter was in the lobby of Trump National Doral. Can you believe this is happening to me? And I didn’t say, “Put this man…” I knew what he did. But they put him. Threatening a lot of people that were in the hotel, including the employees.
Sergeant Celis entered the building, engaged in a vicious shooting attack, and captured the criminal before anyone was hurt — which was incredible, actually. (Applause.)
Sergeant Celis, that was really a job well done. People are still talking about it. It was an amazing job. Please come up. (Applause.)
SERGEANT CELIS: I guess he’s a tough act to follow — (laughter) — what the guy said over here.
Thanks everybody for being here. My wife, Olga. And congratulations to everybody else. Thank you. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: And just to conclude, I have to say, in each of these stories we see the unmatched strength, and character, and courage of our amazing heroes in blue.
Every day, our police officers race into darkened allies and deserted streets, and onto the doorsteps of the most hardened criminals — people you don’t want to be dealing with. And you deal with them well. Incredible. They see the worst of humanity, and they respond with the best of the American spirit.
America’s police officers have earned the everlasting gratitude of our nation. In moments of danger and despair, you are the reason we never lose hope — because there are men and women in uniform who face down evil and stand for all that’s good and just and decent and right.
No matter what threat you face, you never give in. You never back down. You are people of tremendous courage and strength. We appreciate it. (Applause.) Appreciate it.
Nothing can break your spirit or bend your will — I’ve seen it over many years — because you are the proud men and women of law enforcement.
We thank you. We salute you. We honor you. And we promise you: We will always have your back. Now and forever, we will have your back. (Applause.)
So it’s my great honor to be with you today, and I thank you and I thank everyone in this incredible room of heroes — the International Association of Chiefs of Police. You have very, very special, very smart, very brave, brave people.
And on behalf of our incredible country — our country that’s getting stronger and bigger and richer and just better — we’re making it greater. (Laughter.) And that’s okay. It’s greater. We’re making it greater. (Applause.)
I want to say God bless you, God bless your families, and God bless America. Thank you very much. Great honor. Thank you.
2:18 P.M. EDT