Senator Boxer: Continue the Success of the COPS Program
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
When Congress passed the Crime Bill of 1994, the COPS program was created with broad bipartisan support. This program used federal funds to create a partnership between federal, state and local governments to put more law enforcement officials on the street to fight crime.
In the eight years that followed this important legislation, we saw historically high crime rates fall, sometimes by remarkable amounts. The murder rate fell in those eight years by 37.8 percent; aggravated assaults fell by 25.5 percent. Almost all experts agree that the COPS program was not the sole reason for falling crime rates, but most agree that is was one important factor. As you might expect, the COPS program has been endorsed by police chiefs, sheriffs, mayors and every major law enforcement organization in the country.
Despite the remarkable success of the COPS program and its popularity with local law enforcement officials, the Bush Administration has consistently refused to fund it appropriately, if at all. Year after year, the Administration requested fewer and fewer funds, despite increasing crime. The FBI has reported that nationwide violent crime rose 3.4 percent in 2005 and preliminary numbers for 2006 show both violent crime and murder rates up.
In response to this national trend, I am pleased to let you know that I am an original cosponsor of S.368, the COPS Improvements Act of 2007. This legislation, authored by Senator Joe Biden, reestablishes the federal commitment to the COPS hiring program by authorizing $600 million to hire officers to engage in local community policing, intelligence gathering and as school resource officers. It also provides authorization for funding to help law enforcement acquire the technology they need to fight crime and helps local district attorneys hire community prosecutors.
There are few federal programs that have the proven track record of success like that of the COPS programs. I am very pleased to support this legislation to help our local law enforcement agencies get the help they need to be effective and to help reduce crime in our cities and neighborhoods.
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer