A group of more than 100 law enforcement leaders on Tuesday backed President Joe Biden’s election as head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the White House said, supporting the candidate less than a week after his Senate approval hearing.
Supporters of Steve Dettelbach, a former U.S. prosecutor nominated by Biden in April, include a mix of police chiefs, sheriffs and district attorneys, including former New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratan and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.
Detelbach aims to become only the second person approved by the Senate to head the ATF, and the first since former ATF Director B. Todd Jones in 2013. His nomination drew more attention after this month’s massacres in Buffalo, which killed 10 people, and Uwalde, Texas, which killed 19 children and two adults, a double tragedy that rekindled a national debate on restricting access to firearms. weapons and other ways to reduce gun violence.
“The ATF needs a strong leader to truly fulfill its mission, but it has been almost ten years since the agency was approved by the Senate director,” law enforcement leaders wrote in a letter to Senate judicial officials. Committee. “There is an urgent need for leadership that can move agencies into the 21st century and become the partner we need at this time. We are convinced that Steve Detelbach is the right person to lead the agency, and this must be confirmed immediately. “
The ATF director received the post confirmed by the Senate in 2006. Dettlebach appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee at an approval hearing last Wednesday.
Among Detelbach’s supporters was former Miami police chief Art Acevedo, who was fired last year after a series of disputes, including claiming the city was controlled by the “Cuban mafia”. Acevedo also served as head of the Austin and Houston police departments.
Last year, Biden was forced to recall his original candidate for ATF chief of staff, David Chipman, after he did not receive enough support in the Senate for approval. The decision angered some gun control supporters, who argued that the White House had not done enough to defend its choice.
But Dettlebach has received a number of approvals, including from more than 100 mayors and the National Sheriff’s Association, and White House officials say support from law enforcement shows that his nomination has only gained momentum since its confirmation.
In fact, in his letter, a group of law enforcement officials cited Detelbach’s testimony, in addition to his experience and character, as proof that he “is the right person to lead dedicated professionals in the ATF.”