Biden Unveils Plan to Hire 50,000 More Cops Nationwide
Citing the need to provide resources directly to local police departments, U.S. Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-DE) today introduced a bill to provide $1.15 billion to continue the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, which was created through the 1994 Crime Bill. The legislation includes funding for the popular COPS School Resource Officer program which is aimed at combating violence in schools.
"The COPS program is a proven success. Police are our first reponders and we need to continue the program that is most responsive to their needs," said Biden. "Recent studies show that COPS grants played a critical role in the crime drop of the nineties. The President's proposal to end the program flies in the face of clear evidence of COPS effectiveness."
Senator Biden's bill will fund the COPS program through 2011. It includes enough resources to hire 50,000 new police officers, assist police departments in purchasing high-tech crime fighting tools such as cameras in patrol cars and DNA analysis equipment, and help local prosecutors' offices hire community prosecutors who interact closely with the people they serve. Specifically, the bill provides:
$600 million per year for more police on the street - up to 50,000 more cops over six years. This money can also be used to retain officers hired under the COPS program, backfill officers dedicated to federal task forces, pay overtime, and reimburse officers for training costs.
$350 million per year for law enforcement technology to enhance crime fighting efforts. This means better communications systems so officers in different jurisdictions can talk to each other, state of the art investigative tools like DNA analysis, and the means to target crime hot spots through crime mapping. $200 million per year for community prosecutors - to expand the community policing concept to engage the whole community in preventing and fighting crime.
Support for school resource officers in schools and partnerships between schools, law enforcement and the community.
Biden noted that President George W. Bush's two Attorney Generals have credited COPS with being a major factor in the dramatic late 90s drop in crime. Former Attorney General Ashcroft called the COPS program "a miraculous sort of success. It's one of those things that Congress hopes will happen when it sets up a program." Just a month ago, current Attorney General Gonzales made the same point: "We put additional police officers on the street and now we have crime at an all-time low for 30 years."
"In this post-9/11 world, our state and local officers need more help, not less; and they need our assistance with both areas of their job: helping fight terrorism and protecting our communities from crime. COPS effectively and efficiently does both, by hiring more community-policing officers who get to know the neighborhoods they work in and patrol. It's these officers who not only deter and prevent crime, but also they likely will be the ones finding the bomb under the trash can or the ones to notice a terrorist cell moving in to an apartment building," concluded Biden.
Since 1994, the COPS program has funded 118,000 officers, leading to a 30 percent drop in violent crime.
COPS funds can be used to hire community police officers and purchase new crime-fighting equipment for police departments. Delaware has hired over 220 new community policing officers.