Today, the U.S. Senate passed its version of the economic stimulus package, which includes $1.6 billion for federal and state law enforcement initiatives that Senator Kohl, as a member of the Appropriations Committee, worked to include in the legislation. Kohl is the sponsor of the COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) Improvement Act of 2009. The funding approved by the Senate includes:
* $1 billion for the COPS Universal Hiring program
* $300 million for Byrne competitive grant program
* $300 million for VAWA programs
"Success of the COPS Hiring Program has a positive impact on job creation throughout the country. With this direct injection into the American economy, we can add more jobs and ensure better safety in our neighborhoods," Kohl said.
Kohl noted that these successful crime prevention programs also save taxpayers from the costs associated with incarceration and victim assistance. For that reason, a report by the Brookings Institution found "COPS to be one of the most cost-effective options available for fighting crime."
Created as part of the 1994 Crime Bill, the COPS program has funded more than 100,000 community police officers across the country. Many experts cite this program as an important factor in driving down crime for eight consecutive years in the 1990s. Beginning in 2001, however, the Bush Administration proposed cuts to the COPS program in each of its budget requests; despite bipartisan efforts in Congress to prevent those cuts, the Administration succeeded in eliminating the hiring portion of the program by 2005.
Kohl is the sponsor of legislation, cosponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), to re-establish Congress's commitment to local law enforcement by establishing the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services as a distinct office within the Department of Justice and will re-authorize hiring programs for three specific purposes - general community policing, local counter-terrorism officers, and school resource officers. The bill also reauthorizes funds for technology grants, community prosecutors, and makes critical improvements to ensure efficient grant management and to eliminate waste.
The measure must now be reconciled with the economic recovery bill passed previously by the House of Representatives.