Letter to President Bush, Re: Restore Critical Law Enforcement and Crime Prevention Funding
BIDEN Calls on President to Restore Critical Law Enforcement and Crime Prevention Funding
Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-DE) called on the President today to restore funding for critical law enforcement and crime prevention programs - the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program and the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program. Since 2000, as the population these programs are intended to serve and protect has grown, funding for Byrne grants has been cut by more than 83 percent, from $1.023 billion to $170 million and the COPS program has been cut by more than 43 percent, from $1.075 billion to $607 million. The full text of Senator Biden's letter to the President is included below:
February 1, 2008
Dear Mr. President:
I urge you to restore funding for the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne/JAG) program and the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program in your fiscal year 2009 budget request to Congress.
Throughout the 1990s we funded Byrne/JAG and COPS at more than $2 billion per year and, with our help, law enforcement officers and prevention programs drove crime rates down by 30 percent. This year more than 1.4 million Americans will fall victim to violent crime, more than 445,000 Americans will be robbed, and more than 17,000 Americans will be murdered. This level of crime in our country is unacceptable when there are cost-effective programs that will drive these numbers lower.
The police officers and sheriffs walking the beat tell me that these programs are vital to their ability to protect America from crime and terrorism. Productive, law-abiding citizens who participated in Boys and Girls Clubs and other prevention programs that Byrne/JAG funded tell me that they could not have done it without the programs you propose to cut. And, citizens who have overcome the debilitating disease of drug addiction and lead healthy, meaningful lives tell me that drug courts and treatment programs funded by Byrne/JAG literally saved their lives.
Cuts to Byrne/JAG funding will force states and localities this year to close hundreds of multi-jurisdictional drug and gang task forces and cut back or eliminate after-school and mentoring programs around the country. Such programs are vital to creating communities free from the fear of violence and drugs, where it is safe to raise families, educate children, work an honest job, or run a business.
The steps we took in the 1990s have left us with the lowest crime rates in a generation. Now is not the time to abandon what works and walk away from our commitment to fighting crime. Please support our men and women on the front lines by restoring Byrne/JAG and the COPS hiring program in your 2009 budget request.
Joseph R. Biden, Jr.