Menendez, Booker Lead Fight for Investment in Community Policing

Menendez, Booker Lead Fight for Investment in Community Policing

COPS program helps put more police in our communities

 

U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) today led 35 Senate colleagues in a letter to Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Vice Chairwoman Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) requesting $194.5 million in federal funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program to help local law enforcement bolster their community policing efforts. 

 Since its inception, the COPS program has been responsible for putting 129,000 additional police officers on the job in 13,000 local communities across the country, including 550 officers in New Jersey.  

 “Communities large and small across our state see the COPS program as a critical tool in their neighborhood safety toolboxes,” said Sen. Menendez.  “It’s more than just about having more officers, but having them in the same community every day, patrolling the streets, getting to know the residents and business owners.  When we deepen positive relationships through community policing principles—built on trust and mutual respect—our communities are better served and better protected.  We have a solemn obligation to support our local police and to protect our residents, and that’s exactly why I’ll continue to fight to make sure New Jersey’s police departments have the resources they need to hire new officers and get the job done.”

 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 funds directly to law enforcement agencies to hire new and/or rehire career law officers, and to increase crime prevention efforts.

 Since 2012, Sen. Menendez has led the effort in the U.S. Senate to fully fund the COPS program.  Last year, Sens. Menendez and Booker led a similar appropriations letter signed by 37 senators requesting robust funding for FY17.  In 2015, they led a letter signed by 33 Senators urging the Senate Appropriations Committee to fund the program for FY16.

 The program has deep support among major law enforcement organizations, including Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of Police Organizations, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Major Cities Chiefs Association, and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.   

 

The full text of the letter is follows and can be downloaded here

 

May 17, 2017

 

The Honorable Richard Shelby                              
Chairman
The Honorable Jeanne Shaheen
Vice Chairworman                                                                     
Senate Appropriations Committee
Commerce, Justice & Science Subcommittee

 

 Dear Senator Shelby and Senator Shaheen:

 

As you consider funding levels for Fiscal Year 2018, we urge you to fund the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program at a minimum of $194.5 million, the amount appropriated for the program in FY 2017.  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 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. In FY 2016, the COPS Hiring Program granted $119 million to 184 law enforcement agencies to hire, preserve, or rehire 918 full-time law enforcement officers.  There were heightened restrictions for funding requests in FY 2016, leading many communities to forego applications, but still over 3,300 officers were requested, representing over $411 million in funding. Without the restrictions, over 7,000 officers would have been requested, representing over $1.6 billion in funding. The $194.5 million requested is a small fraction of the $1 billion appropriated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and less than the $298 million previously appropriated in FY 2010.

 We are supported in this request by law enforcement organizations including the Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of Police Organizations, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Major Cities Chiefs Association, and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. We are also supported by the United States Conference of Mayors.

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.

Sincerely,

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