Senator Obama is a strong proponent of tougher measures to fight crime and provide more resources to local law enforcement officers. He is particularly concerned about the growing problem of methamphetamine, which is ravaging many communities in Illinois.
Fighting the Spread of Methamphetamines
Senator Obama cosponsored the Combat Meth Act, which provides more money for fighting methamphetamine (meth), tightens controls on the sale of meth ingredients, and provides assistance to the children of meth abusers. The legislation would limit access to cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine, the primary ingredient used to make methamphetamine. This bill passed the Senate and became law in the 109th Congress.
Senator Obama has supported greater funding to fight meth through the use of Byrne Justice Assistance Grants. The Byrne Grant program provides important funding to many local Illinois law enforcement groups. For example, the Southern Illinois Enforcement Group (SIEG), a meth taskforce that polices 31 Illinois counties, pays for 5 of its 12 agents through Byrne grants. During Senate consideration of the Department of Justice funding bill, Senator Obama cosponsored an amendment to raise Byrne funding to $900 million in 2006; the amendment passed the Senate.
Support for Local Law Enforcement
Senator Obama has been a strong supporter of efforts to increase funding and support for local law enforcement. He supported the reauthorization of the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program in the 109th Congress and supports efforts to increase COPS funding. The COPS program provides local law enforcement funding for: (1) hiring and training law enforcement officers; (2) procuring equipment and support systems (3) paying officers to perform intelligence, anti-terror, or homeland security duties; and (4) developing new technologies, including inter-operable communications, and forensic technology. Since 1994, the COPS program has funded more than 5,800 additional police officers and sheriffs deputies in Illinois and over $45 million in crime fighting technology assistance.
Senator Obama cosponsored Dru's Law which creates a nationwide sex offender database and requires greater monitoring of sex offenders upon their release from prison. The bill passed the Senate in July of 2005. This legislation was incorporated into a larger bill, the Adam Walsh Child Protection Act, which Senator Obama supported and which has been signed into law.
He also cosponsored the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act. This bill increases the penalties for sex crimes against children under the age of 12 and creates a national Internet site known as the National Sex Offender Public Registry. The bill would also provide grants to local law enforcement to assist in preventing and investigating sex crimes against minors.
Senator Obama is a cosponsor of the KIDS Act, which requires convicted sex offenders to provide their Internet identifiers, such as e-mail addresses and instant message addresses, for inclusion into the national sex offender registry.
Violence Against Women Act
Senator Obama cosponsored the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act which passed the Senate on October 4, 2005 and was subsequently signed into law. The Act provides important funding and assistance to help communities, non-profit organizations, and law enforcement combat domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The Act establishes a sexual assault services program and provides grants for education programs to prevent domestic violence and encourage reporting of abuses.
Security for Federal Judges
After the horrific murder of an Illinois federal judge's mother and husband, Senator Obama and Senator Durbin worked together to beef up security at our federal courthouses. The Illinois senators secured $12 million to improve security for federal judges. Senator Obama also joined Senator Durbin in requesting a Government Accountability Office investigation into additional steps that can be taken to protect judges