Durbin, Duckworth Push For Greater Federal Investments In Public Safety & Community Policing
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) joined U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and a group of 42 Senators today in requesting a minimum of $400 million in federal funding, a 75 percent increase from the current funding level, for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program to help local law enforcement bolster their community policing efforts. The COPS program was designed to advance public safety by addressing the full-time officer needs of state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies. COPS provides federal funds directly to local law enforcement agencies to hire new and/or rehire career law officers, and to increase crime prevention efforts.
“When officers establish a presence on their patrols using community policing principles, they can develop positive relationships with the communities they serve,” the Senators wrote in a letter to Sens. Jerry Moran and Jeanne Shaheen, Chairman and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, & Science. “In turn, these relationships increase law enforcement’s ability to solve local crimes and resolve public safety problems. This proactive approach to policing prevents crime from occurring, saving taxpayers the high societal costs associated with crime, incarceration, and services for victims.”
As cities and towns across the country grow in population, the Senators emphasized the need for increased funding in order to meet the high demand by state and local law enforcement agencies. Since its creation, the COPS program has helped to put an additional 129,000 police officers on the streets of 13,000 communities across the nation, providing direct property tax relief for residents. The COPS program has wide support from major law enforcement organizations including the Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of Police Organizations, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the Major Cities Chiefs Association.
“We believe that community oriented policing is the most effective way to promote public safety and to enhance the quality of life in a community,” said Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police. “The COPS program, especially its hiring component, is the cornerstone of our national policing strategy. The success of this strategy relies on a fully funded COPS Office, independent of BJA, to serve and support the men and women who keep our streets, neighborhoods and schools safe.”
The letter is cosigned by U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Bob Casey (D-PA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Angus King (I-ME), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Doug Jones (D-AL), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jon Tester (D-MT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Coons (D-DE), Gary Peters (D-MI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).
Full text of the letter is available here and below.
April 10, 2019
Dear Chairman Moran and Ranking Member Shaheen:
As you consider funding levels for Fiscal Year 2020, we urge you to fund the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program at a minimum of $400 million.
The COPS Hiring program represents a fiscally responsible solution to ensure that our communities remain safe; the Brookings Institution found it to be “one of the most cost-effective options available for fighting crime.” When officers establish a presence on their patrols using community policing principles, they can develop positive relationships with the communities they serve. In turn, these relationships increase law enforcement’s ability to solve local crimes and resolve public safety problems. This proactive approach to policing prevents crime from occurring, saving taxpayers the high societal costs associated with crime, incarceration, and services for victims.
Since its creation, the COPS Office has assisted over 13,000 of the nation’s 16,000 jurisdictions with over $14 billion in funding to hire approximately 129,000 additional officers. As you know, the opening of the COPS Hiring Program grant solicitation is on hold due to the issuance of a nationwide injunction by a U.S. District Court on April 12, 2018. Nonetheless, this program plays an essential role in our federal government’s support for local law enforcement and should therefore receive the highest possible level of funding. The COPS Office received more than 1,100 CHP applications during the FY 2017 open solicitation period from law enforcement agencies in every state and US territory. After careful review of all applications, the COPS Office made FY 2017 CHP awards to 179 state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies totaling $98,495,397 to support the hiring of 802 full time law enforcement officers. Clearly, the program is in high demand and unable to meet that demand even at current levels.
We are supported in this request by law enforcement organizations including the Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of Police Organizations, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the Major Cities Chiefs Association. We appreciate the hard work and leadership that you have shown on these issues. Ongoing crime and violence in our cities continue to demonstrate the vital need for increased police protection in our communities. Therefore, as you determine the funding levels for this program, we ask that you support funding for the COPS Hiring Program at the highest possible level.
Thank you for your consideration of this request.
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