Baca Votes to Put 50,000 Additional Cops on the Streets
Bill Restores Successful COPS Hiring Grants Program, Will Add 6,700 Officers in California
Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) today joined a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives in passing legislation that will help put 50,000 additional police officers on the street over the next 5 years, including 6,718 new officers in California. H.R. 1139, the COPS Improvements Act, passed by a vote of 342 - 78, and reinvigorates the highly successful Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program by authorizing $1.25 billion a year for hiring grants.
"We have no greater responsibility in Congress then ensuring the continued safety and security of the American people," said Rep. Baca. "The COPS hiring grant program is a proven success, helping to substantially lower the crime rate under President Clinton. I am proud to support this legislation which restores proper funding to the COPS Program, and in doing so will put another 50,000 police officers in America's neighborhoods and communities over the next 5 years."
Created in 1994 under the Clinton Administration, the COPS hiring grants program was an enormously successful, popular program - helping local law enforcement agencies to hire more than 117,0000 additional police officers, in every state in the union from 1995 to 2005. H.R. 1139 authorizes $1.25 billion per year for hiring grants, which can be used for such purposes as hiring officers to engage in community policing, serve as School Resource Officers, or engage in counter-terrorism duties. It also reinstitutes the Troops-to-COPS Program, which awards grants to hire former members of the Armed Forces as career law enforcement officers.
In addition, the bill authorizes $350 million per year for COPS technology grants, which allow police agencies to purchase better computers, crime mapping software, and interoperable communications equipment. It also authorizes $200 million per year to help hire community prosecutors.
"Because of the current recession, crime is on the rise, while at the same time many law enforcement agencies across the country have had to work with less and less resources," concluded Rep. Baca. "Now more than ever, this funding is needed to get more cops back into our communities and ensure the safety of our schools, our streets, and our neighborhoods."