Senator Boxer: Renew the COPS Program
Monday, February 2, 2009
As one of my first actions during this new Congress, I was pleased to join in introducing the COPS Improvement Act, S.167. This bill would reauthorize one of the Department of Justice's most successful efforts to fight crime, the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program. This program was initiated in 1994 with the common-sense goal of putting an additional 100,000 cops on the beat in communities across the nation. And this common-sense approach paid off. The enactment of this program coincided with significant reductions in crime during the 1990s. In fact, few programs can claim such a clear record of success.
Unfortunately, beginning in 2001, funding for the COPS program came under attack and began to wane, with the COPS Hiring Program being eliminated in 2005. It is time that we bring back this very successful program, and the COPS Improvement Act seeks to do just that. The bill would authorize $1.15 billion per year over 6 years to hire officers to engage in community policing and as school resource officers. It also authorizes $350 million per year for technology grants and $200 million per year to help local district attorneys hire community prosecutors.
While this is a high price tag, these federal funds will not only keep communities safer but will allow local law enforcement the ability to hire more police to create jobs AND safer communities. This legislation is supported by every major law enforcement group in the nation, including the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Association of Police Organizations, the National Sheriffs Association, the International Brotherhood of Police Organizations, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Officials, the International Union of Police Associations, and the Fraternal Order of Police. These law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day to make our communities a safe place to live, and they deserve our full support.
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer