Working together to support law enforcement and fight illegal trade

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Working together to support law enforcement and fight illegal trade


By James Tignanelli  |  President, Police Officers Association of Michigan

Originally posted on
eu.hollandsentinel.com

As every good law enforcement officer will tell you, at the core of good policing is great training. From enforcing traffic laws to confronting far more sinister activities, our police departments rely on training to prepare for myriad situations where our help is needed.

That is why I was happy to hear Attorney General Dana Nessel speak at the Police Officers Association of Michigan (POAM)’s Annual Convention and affirm that our men and women in uniform need better resources and training to do what they do best and serve and protect Michigan’s communities.

Expanding our officers’ access to quality training is essential. As our state’s leaders and decision makers continue to build out training curriculums for law enforcement officials, they should consider adding programs that focus on combating illegal trade and the many forms of crime connected to black-market enterprise.

Illegal trade is incredibly harmful for Michigan’s economy. Each year, the U.S. automotive sector — the trademark industry of Michigan’s economy — loses an estimated $3 billion as a result of service parts counterfeiters. Moreover, the state also loses an additional $200 million annually to the smuggling and trading of illicit tobacco products. While these losses certainly make a dent in our economy, they also pose a threat to the safety of our law enforcement officials and the communities we serve. Criminals often use profits from black-market enterprises to fund more nefarious activities, including human trafficking and the peddling of illicit and lethal narcotics such as fentanyl.

James Tignanelli, president of Police Officers Association of Michigan
James Tignanelli, president of Police Officers Association of Michigan
JAMES TIGNANELLI

And these are not petty offenders selling dime bags on the street corner. These are hardened, vicious, and violent criminals who are operating funding sources for some of the world’s most despicable actors, including the Taliban, ISIS, al-Qaida, Hezbollah, Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación, Sinaloa Cartel, and others.

Michigan’s law enforcement officials are doing everything in their power to combat all forms of crime, including illegal trade, but these are complex challenges. We need to explore every option and resource that gives us an advantage in eradicating the scourge of criminal organizations plaguing our communities. That is why the Police Officers Association of Michigan (POAM) is excited to partner with United to Safeguard America from Illegal Trade (USA-IT) and join in its efforts to tackle illegal trade and disrupt the flow of money to criminal organizations.

Through a vast network of public and private partnerships with law enforcement agencies, leading brand enforcement experts, local and state business organizations, and with organizations like ours, USA-IT is leading the charge in raising public awareness and developing innovative solutions to safeguard commerce and secure our communities.

USA-IT’s work with law enforcement officials is particularly noteworthy. Their efforts to provide officers with educational tools, as well as resources on the entanglement of black-market enterprises supported by illegal trade are helping our men and women in uniform get ahead of criminal organizations and disband their heinous operations.

Our men and women in blue never back down from a challenge. While illegal trade is a formidable problem facing Michigan’s communities, our law enforcement officials are ready to take on those who pose a threat to our safety and prosperity. POAM is excited to continue supporting these brave men and women in their efforts, and we look forward to working alongside USA-IT to build a safer Michigan for all.

— James Tignanelli is president of the Police Officers Association of Michigan (POAM).