Biden Amendment Boosting Funds for Law Enforcement Passes Senate
Biden Amendment Will Put 1,400 More Cops on Streets; 100 More FBI Agents through the COPS Program
COPS Program Is Cost-Effective Model for Fighting Crime - for Every $1.4 Billion Invested, Society Gets $6-12 Billion Back
U.S. Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr.'s (D-DE) amendment to boost funding for the COPS hiring program passed the Senate last night. Sen. Biden's amendment to the Commerce Justice Science (CJS) appropriation bill added $110 million specifically for the COPS hiring program - bringing the total funding for the overall COPS program to $660 million. Earlier this year, the President's budget recommended providing just $32 million nationwide for the entire COPS program. The COPS program was created as part of the historic 1994 Crime Bill, authored by Sen. Biden. By providing funding for more than 118,000 law enforcement officers in local police agencies throughout the nation, the COPS program helped dramatically reduce crime in the 1990s. In recent years, as the Administration has eliminated the COPS hiring program and slashed billions in federal funding for local law enforcement, crime rates have begun to rise again.
"We need more police on the streets to put the brakes on rising crime rates. We need local law enforcement officers to secure our hometowns, in order to secure the homeland," said Sen. Biden, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Crime and Drugs. "That means providing local law enforcement with the personnel and resources they need to protect our neighborhoods. We know the COPS program works. In the 1990s we saw crime go from all-time highs to all-time lows."
"Fewer police on the street preventing crime and protecting communities means more crime - it's as simple that. Let's get back to crime-fighting basics and put more cops on the streets," added Sen. Biden.
Independent studies have statistically proven that the COPS program helps reduce crime and saves money. The Brookings Institution published a policy briefing this spring (March 2007 Briefing #158) entitled, "More COPS." The authors, Yale economist John Donohue, III, and Georgetown economist Jens Ludwig found 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.
Local police and sheriffs departments urgently need this support. Since 9/11, they have been struggling to keep up with the competing demands of rising crime and counter-terrorism activities. This amendment calls for an extra $110 million for the COPS hiring program, enabling local agencies to hire about 1,400 local officers to patrol our communities and help keep our families safe. The bill will also add an additional 100 FBI agents dedicated to fighting crime. Since 9/11, the Bush Administration has transitioned over 1,000 agents from crime to terrorism cases.
"The Bush Administration's failure to replace the FBI agents working criminal cases has left a gap in coverage that has contributed to rising crime. I believe that we should restore all of the agents to make sure we can fight crime and terrorism, but the additional 100 agents provided in this bill is a good start," said Sen. Biden.
Restoring the COPS hiring program is a major priority for law enforcement officials, mayors and city chiefs to help build stronger and safer cities and town across the country. These groups include the Fraternal Order of Police, the National Association of Police Organizations, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Officers, the International Union of Police Associations, the National Sheriffs Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the National League of Cities.
The Senate CJS Appropriations bill must be approved by the Senate, conferenced with the legislation passed by the House of Representatives and signed by the President before it becomes law.