U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), co-chair of the Congressional Law Enforcement Caucus, fought to get House passage of an amendment to provide $166 million for the federal Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program. The House narrowly approved the funding with a vote of 206-204. The House Appropriations Committee initially approved only $40 million for the program, despite the nearly $2 billion in applications the COPS office received last year.
"My home city of Paterson had to lay off 125 officers. Across New Jersey it was the same story. Camden let go 167. Trenton: 108. Newark, another 167. Fewer cops on the beat means more crime on our streets, plain and simple," said Pascrell, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and House Budget Committee . "If there's an attack, be it a natural disaster or man-made disaster, the police, firefighters and EMT's will be there long before the federal government. We need to protect them."
The COPS Office and its corresponding programs provide invaluable resources and technical assistance to state and local law enforcement agencies. As New Jersey communities have faced tighter constraints on municipal budgets, making COPS funding available offers local police departments the chance to keep as many officers working in their possible departments as possible.
Since 1995, COPS has awarded over $13 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,000 state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of approximately 120,000 officers.
Two years ago, Congressman Pascrell offered and an amendment to H.R. 1, the FY2011 Continuing Resolution, which restored $298 million to the COPS program after it had been cut by the new Tea Party Majority. Last year, Congressman Pascrell successfully fought to restore $166 million to COPS after the Tea Party Majority proposed eliminating it entirely.
Rep. Pascrell's entire floor speech from last night can be viewed here: