COPS IMPROVEMENTS ACT OF 2007 -- (House of Representatives - May 15, 2007)
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Mr. CHABOT. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding, and I want to thank him and the folks on the other side of the aisle for their leadership in this area.
I rise in support of H.R. 1700, the COPS Improvements Act of 2007.
The COPS grant program represents a true partnership between the Federal Government and State, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to fight crime. This partnership has enabled more police officers to be hired and rehired and facilitated the use of the most advanced crime-fighting technology to ensure that officers are effectively deployed into our communities all across the country.
As a result of our joint efforts, the number of violent offenses reported in our country is down from the more than 1.8 million reported back in 1994 to 1.3 million reported in 2005. But we cannot become complacent. We must ensure that State, local, and tribal law enforcement officials have the resources they need to keep law enforcement on the streets.
H.R. 1700 accomplishes this by increasing the funds available for the COPS program from $1 billion to $1.15 billion and by creating a number of new grant programs that will assist communities, such as community policing, crime prevention programs, and programs to address illegal drug manufacturing.
Most importantly, the bill that we are considering today stays true to the COPS grant program's original purpose, that the Federal Government support State, local, and tribal law enforcement efforts, not supplant them, as the ranking member indicated. That would be the last thing that we should do. H.R. 1700, in its current form, requires that States, local, and tribal law enforcement demonstrate their commitment to the partnership by making a good-faith effort to match the funds provided by the Federal Government. Yet at the same time, the bill allows the Federal Government to play a primary role in those circumstances in which a grant recipient cannot meet their financial obligation for reasons beyond their control, thus ensuring that our communities remain safe and that crime does not prevail.
H.R. 1700 is an important and necessary tool for law enforcement, and I encourage my colleagues to support it.
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