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Putting Cops Back on the Beat


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The recession has severely strained police departments throughout New Jersey. Many have had to take cops off the beat; Trenton today has the same number of police on the rolls as it did in 1932, with troubling, dangerous effects.

For decades, the federal government has played a role in supporting police in our communities. Through the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, it has provided $18 million to 34 communities throughout central New Jersey, putting at least 330 police officers and sheriff's deputies on the street.

Yet the Majority in Congress, intent on scaling back federal programs, proposed eliminating the COPS program last year. Although that effort ultimately failed, they are trying again to reduce the COPS program in 2013 Justice Department appropriations bill.

On Tuesday evening, I joined a bipartisan coalition of members to say, "Not so fast." Together with Republican Reps. Michael Grimm and Peter King, as well as Democratic Reps. Pedro Pierluisi and Bill Pascrell, Jr., I sponsored an amendment to increase support for the COPS program by $94 million next year. Our amendment was adopted by the full House, and the underlying bill passed on Thursday and now moves to the other side of the Capitol for Senate consideration.

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