Biden Amendment Will Restore Funding for Key Law Enforcement Programs
Today, U.S. Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-DE) introduced an amendment to provide $110 million to restore the COPS hiring program. The COPS hiring program is being considered during the debate on the Commerce, Justice and Science's appropriations bill, which comes just two weeks after the FBI released its 2006 Uniform Crime Report statistics citing a continuing increase in violent crime and the same day as a double-murder of two former Philadelphia police officers.
"Today's tragic events in Philadelphia are a sobering reminder of the real need for more police officers on our streets," said Sen. Biden, said Sen. Biden, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs. "The rise in crime is no coincidence. When we funded the COPS program in the 1990s, crime went down; the Bush Administration has all but eliminated the COPS program and now crime is up."
"Fewer police on the street preventing crime and protecting communities means more crime - it's as simple that. Let's get back to crime-fighting basics and put more cops on the beat," added Sen. Biden.
Independent studies have statistically proven that the COPS program helps reduce crime and saves money. The Brookings Institution published a policy briefing this spring (March 2007 Briefing #158) entitled, "More COPS." The authors, Yale economist John Donohue, III, and Georgetown economist Jens Ludwig found that the COPS program contributed to the drop in crime during the 1990s and is one of the most cost-effective options for fighting crime. The policy briefing states that each $1.4 billion invested in the COPS program is likely to generate a benefit to society from $6 billion to $12 billion.
Local police and sheriffs departments urgently need this support. Since 9/11, they have been struggling to keep up with the competing demands of rising crime and counter-terrorism activities. This amendment calls for an extra $110 million for the COPS program, enabling local agencies to hire about 1,400 local officers to patrol our communities and help keep our families safe. The bill will also add an additional 100 FBI agents to fight crime. Since 9/11, the Bush Administration has transitioned over 1,000 agents from crime to terrorism cases.
"The Bush Administration's failure to replace the agents working criminal cases has left a gap in coverage that has contributed to rising crime. I believe that we should restore all of the agents to make sure we can fight crime and terrorism, but the additional 100 agents provided in this bill is a good start," said Sen. Biden.
Restoring the COPS hiring program is a major priority for law enforcement officials, mayors and city chiefs to help build stronger and safer cities and town across the country. These groups include the Fraternal Order of Police, the National Association of Police Organizations, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Officers, the International Union of Police Associations, the National Sheriffs Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the National League of Cities.
Following a vote, this bill must be conferenced with the legislation passed by the House of Representatives and signed by the President before it becomes law.