Biden Releases National Report Detailing More than $2 Billion in Local Law Enforcement Cuts Since Bush Took Office
In an address before the nations' top police chiefs and sheriffs, U. S. Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr. assailed the Bush administration's relentless, multi-year cuts to local law enforcement agencies, totaling more than $2 billion over the past five years.
At the speech, Biden released a report entitled "Abandoning the Frontlines," detailing the rates and results of those cuts, which, in some cases, has exacerbated officer shortages and forced the elimination of community policing programs nationwide.
"The inescapable fact is this - President Bush has slashed funding for local law enforcement by more than $2 billion dollars since he took office," said Senator Biden. "Local agencies throughout the nation are experiencing severe officer shortages and are being required to cut back on critical crime and terrorism prevention programs. This is all at a time when FBI reprogramming to counterterrorism and National Guard call-ups of local officers is putting increased strain on local chiefs and sheriffs. We should be providing more support not less. We've created a perfect storm for local law enforcement, and in my view, we've effectively abandoned the front lines."
Biden called on President Bush to reverse course on his budget priorities and for Congress to fully fund, at a minimum, critical law enforcement programs to their currently authorized levels, including:
* Fully fund the Office of Community Oriented Services (COPS) at $1.05 billion per year.
* Fully fund the Justice Assistance Grant program at the authorized level of $530 million.
* Restore the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program to $500 million.
"We all agree that local law enforcement is an essential tool in the fight against terrorism," said Biden. "Today, they are being asked to do much more with fewer resources. The time has come to step up to the plate and support them now when we need them the most."