Senate should confirm Canterbury as head of the ATF
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As leaders of our nation’s largest and most prominent law enforcement organizations, we represent virtually every law enforcement officer in the United States and we are calling on the Senate to confirm Chuck Canterbury to be the next director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Historically, the ATF has had the closest working relationship with state and local law enforcement. It plays a vital role in fighting violent crimes, at the federal level as well as the state and local level. However, without a confirmed director, the agency is lacking in leadership. Since federal law was amended in 2006, the Senate has confirmed only one out of eight nominees under both Republican and Democratic administrations. The only nominee that was confirmed, B. Todd Jones, served only 20 months. This lack of permanent leadership compromises the effectiveness of the ATF’s law enforcement mission. We need Chuck Canterbury as director of the ATF and we strongly believe he should be expeditiously confirmed.

Canterbury began his 26-year law enforcement career in 1978 and retired as a major (deputy chief) in Horry County, S.C. He served in virtually every supervisory and managerial position in his department from the patrol division, criminal division and training division. He is a career cop, who has devoted his entire life to law enforcement and law enforcement management. The ATF is a law enforcement agency and Canterbury is the right one to lead it. As this nation’s law enforcement leaders, we suggest that senators consider his long career of excellent public service to the people of Horry County.


He served 16 years as the CEO and national president of the Fraternal Order of Police and during his tenure there, all of us have had the pleasure working with him on the full gamut of issues facing the law enforcement community. We did not always agree, but we were, at all times, working to better the profession of law enforcement, better protect the physical and mental health of our nation’s police officers, and improve public safety in every home, school and community across our great country. During his time as the leader of the FOP, he has rightfully earned the respect of all of us, and by extension, that of all the men and women in law enforcement. His confirmation would send a strong signal to all law enforcement officers that the Senate cares about public safety and combating gun crime in our neighborhoods. He will be the first confirmed ATF director since 2006 who once walked a beat.

Canterbury is a proud supporter of the Second Amendment; everyone knows this. We also know that Chuck is a cop’s cop with a reverence for the rule of law. If confirmed, he will enforce the laws written by Congress because that will be his job. If you know Chuck Canterbury, then you know he gets the job done. We have every confidence in him, and we urge the Senate in the strongest possible terms to confirm this excellent and highly qualified nominee.

Patrick Yoes is national president of the Fraternal Order of Police, Larry Cosme is national president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers’ Association and Johnathan Thompson is executive director and CEO of the National Sheriffs Association.