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By NWV Senior Political News Writer, Jim Kouri
Posted 1:00 AM Eastern
September 19, 2016

Over 450 police chiefs, senior law enforcement officers from Europe and beyond gathered at Europol’s headquarters in The Hague this week for the 2016 European Police Chiefs Convention (EPCC). The turnout this year was the highest since the first European Police Chiefs Convention organized by Europol in 2011.

Co-hosted by Europol and the Slovakian Police in the context of the Slovakian Presidency of the Council of the EU, the event attracted high-level representatives from all 28 EU Member States, as well as Albania, Algeria, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Egypt, Georgia, Iceland, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Norway, Palestine, Serbia, Switzerland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tunisia, Ukraine and the USA.

Representatives from INTERPOL, the World Customs Organization and EU institutions and agencies also attended, alongside representatives of the private sector and academia.

This year the chiefs of police and senior representatives of national and international law enforcement authorities discussed topical issues pertaining to the security of the EU and beyond, such as the migration crisis and terrorism, as well as ways in which the digital development impacts modern day policing.

Distinguished keynote speakers included: Mr Tibor Gašpar, President of the National Police of Slovakia, Mr Jürgen Stock, Secretary General of INTERPOL, Mr Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General of the World Customs Organization and the newly appointed Chief of the State Police of Italy, Mr Franco Gabrielli.

Alongside the European Police Chiefs Convention, Europol held a meeting of the South East Europe Police Chiefs Association and hosted the launching conference of the Euromed Police IV, a project aimed at supporting the EU’s southern partner countries in countering major threats posed by terrorism and organised crime. The EU Member States’ Directors of the Customs administrations also met to take stock of the level of cooperation between Europol and Customs and to discuss possible new avenues of cooperation.

Over 120 bilateral and multilateral meetings took place in the margins of the EPCC to allow chiefs of police to discuss operational matters and promote further cooperation.

Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol, said: “The turnout of this year’s EPCC shows how Europol has become firmly established as the home of the European law enforcement community, providing a unique platform for law enforcement partners to discuss common issues of policing. Only through the exchange of best practices between the police chiefs and the creation of a common vision for the security of our citizens will we be able to deal with today’s most pressing threats to our security. Europol is proud to support the Member States in their endeavours by organising the European Police Chiefs Convention each year.

According to Brandon Smith, a commentator for InfoWars, "While fantastic organizations like Oath Keepers are working hard to educate police and military on their sworn duty to uphold and defend Constitutional liberties, we as the citizenry must also show our support and resolve to see that the values and principles outlined in that historic document are not tarnished by apathy. The proverbial line in the sand must be drawn now, or not at all. This means, at the very least, non-compliance with unjust laws that defile our conscience, as well as our heritage."

He added that common response to this by naysayers would be: “You’ll comply when you have a gun in your face…”

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"That’s what naysayers throughout history have always said, though. They said it to the Founding Fathers, to Gandhi, and beyond. There will always be another gun to put in the faces of men who fight for the truth of a thing. There will always be men to point those guns at us. The question is, who will be more steadfast? Is the will to dominate really stronger than the will to be free? Can you ever control a people who do not fear you, even at the barrel of a gun? This is the mindset that brought this country to life, and it is a mindset we must rediscover, if we are to have any chance of survival," noted Smith.

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For example, according to the government watchdog, the Air Force experienced a 58 percent reduction in the number of fighter and bomber squadrons from 1991 to 2015 while maintaining a persistent level of demand from the combatant commands for the use of its forces.