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Largest Police Group In Nation Endorses Clinton Dole Unveils Anticrime Proposals, Vows To Cut Drug Use By Teens In Half

Mon., Sept. 16, 1996

The nation’s largest police organization will endorse President Clinton, giving the Democrat a fresh crime fighting trophy just as rival Bob Dole launches a new offensive on the crime and drugs issue, officials said Sunday.

The 270,000-member National Fraternal Order of Police will announce its support Monday in Cincinnati, union and administration officials said. The event will add some battleground-state symbolism to the political plum: it was in that Ohio city four years ago that the police union gave its support to George Bush over Clinton.

“Rank-and-file police officers have never had a better friend in the White House than Bill Clinton,” national FOP president Gil Gallegos said in a statement released to The Associated Press in advance of the announcement. “Our communities, our kids and our police officers are a lot better off today because of the leadership of President Clinton.”

As Clinton surrounds himself with police officers, GOP rival Dole was heading Monday to another battleground state, Pennsylvania, to pledge to use the bully pulpit of the presidency to cut teenage drug use in half in his first term.

Dole was appearing with more than a dozen supportive Republican governors to pledge better coordination of state and federal crime fighting resources. At that event, aides said Dole would add several new proposals to a previously announced anti-crime agenda. Among them:

Doubling federal funding for prison construction to at least $810 million.

Requiring inmates to work at least 40 hours a week to pay the cost of their incarceration and for any restitution to victims. This idea was promoted in the GOP presidential primaries by Texas Sen. Phil Gramm.

Dole also plans to reiterate his call for a national computerized database to conduct an instant background check of anyone trying to purchase a firearm.

Also, Dole wants juveniles charged with violent crimes to be tried as adults, and to give courts access to now-sealed records of any juvenile crimes committed by defendants.

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