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Sen. Biden Calls on Colleagues to Pass Critical Law Enforcement Legislation

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Location: Washington, DC


Sen. Biden Calls on Colleagues to Pass Critical Law Enforcement Legislation

The House of Representatives passed the House-version (H.R. 1700) of Sen. Joe Biden's (D-DE) legislation to hire an additional 50,000 police officers in communities across America. Despite bipartisan support for this effort to keep our neighborhoods safe, it is facing procedural roadblocks in the Senate.

Sen. Biden, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs and author of the landmark 1994 Crime Law, has long been a champion of law enforcement and advocate for putting more cops on the streets through the COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) program, particularly in light of recent FBI statistics that show a steady increase in violent crime.

"In 1994 we had historically high rates of violent crimes. But because we put more cops on the streets, we were able to reduce these crimes to the lowest levels in a generation," said Sen. Biden.

"Apparently my colleagues in the House can see what is plainly obvious - that it's no coincidence violent crime has increased at shocking rates during the same time period this Administration has been shortchanging law enforcement. I commend my friends in House for standing with local law enforcement and I call on the Senate to pass this critical legislation," said Sen. Biden.

"During National Police Week, we should be sending a loud and clear message that we will not let our state and local police officers down, we will not let our neighborhoods down," added Sen. Biden.

Specifically, Sen. Biden's legislation, titled the COPS Improvements Act of 2007, would:

- Authorize $600 million to hire officers to engage in community policing, counter-terrorism duties, and serve as school resource officers;

- Provide $350 million per year for technology grants allowing police agencies to purchase things like lap top computers for patrol cars and crime mapping software; and

- Provide $200 million per year to help local district attorneys hire community prosecutors.

Since 1994, the COPS program has funded 118,000 officers, leading to a 30 percent drop in violent crime. COPS funds can be used to hire community police officers and purchase new crime fighting equipment for police departments. To date, Delaware has hired over 220 new community policing officers.

The Brookings Institution published a policy briefing in March (Briefing #158) entitled, "More COPS." The authors, Yale economist John Donohue, III and Georgetown economist Jens Ludwig state that the COPS program contributed to the drop in crime during the 1990s and is one of the most cost-effective options for fighting crime. The policy briefing states that each $1.4 billion invested in the COPS program is likely to generate a benefit to society from $6 billion to $12 billion.

This legislation has been endorsed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Sheriffs Association, the National Association of Police Organizations, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Officers, the Fraternal Order of Police, the International Union of Police Associations, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the National League of Cities.

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