Smith receives Legislator of the Year Award from the National Police Defense Foundation for ‘outstanding legislative support on behalf of law enforcement’
The National Police Defense Foundation today awarded Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) with their 2021 Legislator of the Year Award, citing Smith’s “outstanding legislative support on behalf of law enforcement” and his tireless efforts and success in authoring laws to combat crime in the United States and around the world. The nationally renowned non-profit dedicated to serving the law enforcement community has over 210,000 members and supporters nationwide.
“It is with great pride to inform you that you have been nominated by the Executive Board of the National Police Defense Foundation (NPDF) to receive the prestigious ‘2021 Legislator of the Year Award,’” Founder and Executive Director Joseph Occhipinti wrote in a letter to Smith.
“You are being recognized for your outstanding legislative support on behalf of law enforcement,” said Occhipinti. “Also, your chairing numerous congressional hearing and being the prime sponsor of five major laws and seventeen resolutions in combatting the scourge of human trafficking in the United States and internationally.”
In accepting the award, Smith said he was honored to be chosen by the Foundation for Legislator of the Year but quickly pointed to the law enforcement personnel who protect us every day as deserving recognition.
“Make no mistake about it” Smith said, “you are the men and women of extraordinary courage who actually take the risks, sweat the details, and face danger each and every day in order to ensure public safety.”
“As an elected official—and the father of a law enforcement officer—words are inadequate to convey the gratitude and respect that I and the vast majority in the community have for you and your families,” Smith said in his remarks to the law enforcement community gathered at Thursday’s NPDF Awards Dinner.
Founded by retired Federal Agent Joseph Occhipinti and his wife Angela in 1995, NPDF runs the multi-faceted “Operation Kids” child safety program and is nationally renowned for providing free medical and psychological services to law enforcement officials who have become disabled in the line of duty, as well as a legal defense program dedicated to protecting officers.
A longtime supporter of those in law enforcement, Smith has written many laws to combat crime and assist victims, including the Nation’s landmark Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. He has also authored four additional anti-trafficking laws; including International Megan’s Law to establish a system of notification to protect children from convicted pedophiles who may seek to travel to abuse children—which has resulted in nearly 6,000 denials of international travel by known pedophiles to date.
Smith has also strongly opposed recent legislation in Congress to eviscerate “qualified immunity” for law enforcement. A judicially created legal doctrine, qualified immunity shields government officials, including law enforcement, from personal liability lawsuits so long as their actions do not violate “clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.”