REP. PASCRELL VOTES TO PUT 50,000 MORE COPS ON AMERICA'S STREETS
- In an effort to put more cops on our streets, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-08) today joined a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives to pass H.R. 1700, the COPS Reauthorization Act. This measure is designed to help local law enforcement agencies to hire an additional 50,000 police officers on the beat over the next six years. The measure passed by a vote of 381-34.
"I am proud to vote for this measure that will reinvigorate the highly successful COPS hiring grants program," said Rep. Pascrell. "President Bush and the Republican-led Congress eliminated the program last yearbut this critical bill brings these highly effective hiring grants back."
"The COPS hiring grants program, created under the Clinton Administration in 1994, was an enormously successful, popular program," Rep. Pascrell pointed out. "From 1995 to 2005, this program helped local law enforcement agencies to hire 117,000 additional police officers - which helped to significantly reduce crime across the country. Over those 10 years, New Jersey has received $355,395,311in COPS hiring grants funding, which enabled our state to hire an additional 4,795 police officers."
In the City of Paterson alone, the COPS grant has delivered $7.8 million dollars which have accounted for the hiring of 92 new officers and technological additions to the departments equipment.
Over the last few years, under President Bush, the Republican-led Congress sharply reduced the funding for COPS hiring grants - reducing funding from more than $1 billion a year in the late 1990s to $198 million in 2003 and $10 million in 2005. Then, in 2006, the Republican-led Congress completely eliminated the program.
"This bill relaunches the COPS hiring grants program - this time calling for funding to allow for the hiring of up to 50,000 new police officers over the next six years," pointed out Rep. Pascrell.
Under the COPS hiring grants program, our nation experienced a significant drop in crime rates - and independent studies confirm that these grants played a significant role. For example, a nonpartisan GAO study concluded, "COPS-funded increases in sworn officers per capita were associated with declines in rates of total index crimes, violent crimes, and property crime." According to the study, between 1998 and 2000, the hiring grants were responsible for reducing crimes by about 200,000 to 225,000 crimes - one third of which were violent.
President Bush and Republicans in Congress eliminated the hiring program last year and, at the same time, violent crime has spiked across the nation. Earlier this year, the Police Executive Research Forum, a prominent law enforcement association, released a report which found that violent crimes rose by double digit percentages over the last two years. Among the cities surveyed, since 2005, 71 percent had an increase in homicides, 80 percent saw robberies rise and 67 percent reported an increase in aggravated assaults with guns.
"With crime back on the rise, reauthorizing the COPS program is more vital than ever," concluded Rep. Pascrell. "This bill - by authorizing COPS hiring grants, COPS technology grants, and community prosecutor grants - is going to once again give our local law enforcement agencies the tools they need to fight crime and help us bring crime rates back down. I hope the Senate acts on this bill quickly and the President signs it."
This legislation has been endorsed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Sheriffs Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, the National Association of Police Organizations, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the National League of Cities.