Letter: To Rep. David Obey, Chairman House Appropriations Committee; Rep. Jerry Lewis, Ranking Member House Appropriations Committee
Dear Mr. Chairman and Ranking Member:
We understand that the committee has been given the difficult task of readjusting the FY 2007 budget because the last Congress was unable to complete the appropriations process last year. As you consider programs that deserve additional resources, we hope you will find funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services (C.O.P.S) program in the forthcoming Continuing Resolution.
The FBI recently reported that crime is growing in the United States for the first time since the early 1990s. During the first six months of last year, homicides, assaults and other violent offenses grew by 4%, and robberies, which are often interpreted as a precursor to more serious crime, jumped by 10%.
To address the up tick in crime during the 1990s, Congress created the C.O.P.S. program, which succeeded in putting almost 120,000 more police on the beat. Former Attorney General John Ashcroft described C.O.P.S. as a "miraculous sort of success." And a GAO study released last year stated, " we estimated that C.O.P.S.-funded increases in sworn officers per capita were associated with declines in the rates of total index crimes, violent crimes, and property crimes."
But after receiving more than $1 billion each year in the late 1990s, funding for the C.O.P.S. program that has enabled local and state police agencies to hire additional officers has been has been eliminated entirely.
C.O.P.S enjoys the support of all the nation's major law enforcement organizations and was reauthorized as part of the Department of Justice Reauthorization bill that President Bush signed into law last January. And the program has helped communities large and small across the nation and has strong, bipartisan support.
We hope you will do everything possible to ensure that this program receives additional funding in the Continuing Resolution.