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Letter to The Honorable Barbara A. Mikulski, Chairman and The Honorable Kay Bailey Hutchison, Ranking Member, Commerce, Justice & Science Subcommittee

June 22, 2011

The Honorable Barbara A. Mikulski
Chairman
Commerce, Justice & Science Subcommittee
Senate Appropriations Committee
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Kay Bailey Hutchison
Ranking Member
Commerce, Justice & Science Subcommittee
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairman Mikulski and Ranking Member Hutchison:

We write to express our support for the community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Program, and request that you find the COPS Hiring Program at $600 million in the FY 2012 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill, the amount requested in the President's budget. We also urge the Subcommittee to include adequate funding under the COPS program for much-needed technology grants as well as resources to fight the spread of methamphetamine in our communities. We understand that you face tough decisions as you work to cut spending and impose fiscal transparency. Please keep in mind that during this time of economic distress and job loss, the COPS program will immediately put people to work with the added benefit of helping to make our communities safer.

The COPS program has put more than 120,000 community police officers on the beat since 1995. Experts cite this program as an important factor in driving down crime for eight consecutive years in the 1990s. Over the past 4 years, we have renewed our commitment to the COPS program and violent crime decreased by more than 5% in 2009 and again in 2010. Federal support of this program is more critical than ever to ensure we continue this downward trend in crime rates.

By supporting this program, we will be better able to combat the crime that harms communities, families and our economy. Officers walking the beat are able to establish partnerships with the community to solve local problems. They partner with local businesses to address the crime and fear of crime that too often drives businesses from distressed neighborhoods, taking with them economic opportunity. They collaborate with parents, teachers and other community members to keep at-risk youth from slipping into a life of cycling in and out of the prison system. By preventing crime from occurring in the first place, we save taxpayers the high costs associated with incarceration and victims services. For these reasons, a report by the Brookings Institution found that the COPS program is "one of the most cost-effective options available for fighting crime."

The COPS program advances community policing in ways beyond hiring more officers, and those efforts need your continued support as well. The COPS anti-methamphetamine initiatives, for example, allow local law enforcement to combat methamphetamine-related health and safety threats that plague entire communities. COPS technology grants are critical for local agencies to replace obsolete technology in order to more effectively and efficiently investigate, respond to, and prevent crime.

We are supported in this request by law enforcement organizations representing nearly 500,000 state, local and tribal law enforcement officers across the nation, including the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Fraternal Order of Police, International Union of Police Associations, Major County Chiefs' Association, Major County Sheriffs Association, National Association of Police Organizations, National Narcotics Officers Association Coalition, National Sheriffs' Association, and National Troopers Coalition.

It is clear that by making a commitment to the COPS program in the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Bill, we will continue to help our communities reap the benefits of lower crime rates and safer communities. Thank you for your consideration of this request. We look forward to working with you on these important issues during the FY 2010 appropriations process.

Sincerely,

Herb Kohl
United States Senator

Maria Cantwell
United States Senator

Frank R. Lautenberg
United States Senator

Patrick Leahy
United States Senator

Max Baucus
United States Senator

Carl Levin
United States Senator

John Kerry
United States Senator

John D. Rockefeller IV
United States Senator

Daniel Akaka
United States Senator

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

Barbara Boxer
United States Senator

Ron Wyden
United States Senator

Richard Durbin
United States Senator

Mary L. Landrieu
United States Senator

Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator

Debbie Stabenow
United States Senator

Benjamin L. Cardin
United States Senator

Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator

Jim Webb
United States Senator

Amy Klobuchar
United States Senator

Sheldon Whitehouse
United States Senator

Jeanne Shaheen
United States Senator

Jeff Merkley
United States Senator

Kristen E. Gillibrand
United States Senator

Al Franken
United States Senator

Richard Blumenthal
United States Senator


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