UDALL VOTES TO PUT 50,000 MORE COPS ON THE NATION'S STREETS
Today, a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1700, the COPS Reauthorization Act, a bill co-sponsored by U.S. Representative Tom Udall, D-N.M., designed to help local law enforcement agencies hire an additional 50,000 police officers on the beat over the next six years, including an additional 219 officers for Udall's district.
"I am proud to have cosponsored this measure which will reinvigorate the highly successful COPS hiring grants program," said Udall. "The administration has targeted this program for elimination in the past, but this critical bill brings hiring grants back to continue what has proven to be highly effective in fighting crime and terrorism."
Unfortunately, over the last few years, the previous majority in 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, 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 Udall. "To date the program has put almost 120,000 more officers on the street nationwide, including 513 in my district."
COPS has made a difference in Udall's Third Congressional District:
Since 1994, the COPS program has helped law enforcement in Udall's district to put 513 police officers and/or sheriff deputies on the beat. With the bill's passage today, an additional 219 officers could be hired in Udall's district--328 statewide--over the course of the next six years.
Since 1994, $46,807,227 in COPS grants has been awarded to law enforcement agencies in Udall's district. With the passage of the COPS Improvement Act of 2007 today, an additional $14,280,171 could flow to the 3rd District of New Mexico.
Since 1994, the COPS program has enabled law enforcement agencies in the Third District to hire 52 more school resource officers, who keep our children safe at school. With passage of the C.O.P.S. Improvement Act, an additional 22 school resource officers could be hired over the course of the next six years.
Since 1994, the COPS program has sent $6,147,905 to purchase technology and training that helps cops get out from behind their desks to patrol a beat. With passage of the COPS Improvement Act, an additional $1,875,632 could be sent to Udall's district.
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.
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 Udall. "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.