Two Weiner Bills Address Policing Issues
The House of Representatives recently passed two key pieces of public safety legislation authored by Representative Anthony Weiner, a Member of the House Judiciary Committee and the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. The legislation will reauthorize the Justice Department’s Community Oriented Policing Services program and will ban counterfeit police badges.
Both pieces of legislation passed as part of the $95 billion Department of Justice Reauthorization Bill, approved by the House by a margin of 415-4. Rep. Weiner is an original cosponsor of the reauthorization bill.
Under the provisions of the legislation, C.O.P.S. will be reauthorized for $1.05 billion annually over a four year period - including $603 million for New York City.
New York City will receive funding for approximately 3,640 new police officers over a four year. Nationally, the bill funds 52,000 new police officers throughout the nation, 13,000 per year, according to a spokesperson for Weiner.
Additionally, the legislation will allow grants to be made for special terrorism units, and pay for officers hired to perform intelligence, anti-terror, or homeland security duties.
The reauthorization also provides $30 million for the Secure our Schools Program which provides funding to America’s schools for metal detectors, personnel and student training, and coordination with local law enforcement.
Since the C.O.P.S. program’s inception in 1994 New York City has received funding for 7,404 new police officers. Nationally, the C.O.P.S. program has put more than 118,000 cops on the beat in more than 12,000 communities.
According to a GAO study, between 1998 and 2000, C.O.P.S. grants were responsible for reducing crimes by about 200,000 to 225,000 crimes - one third of which were violent. In 1998, C.O.P.S. grants were responsible for an 8% decrease in crimes - and a 13% drop in violent crimes.
“This legislation will clearly make our country safer,” said Rep. Weiner. “Thousands of new police officers, $30 million for school safety, and grants for homeland security and intelligence: that’s a major federal commitment to common sense public safety measures.”
“The C.O.P.S. program has a demonstrated track record of reducing violent crime. More cops on the streets means less violent crimes - it just makes sense.”
A Ban on Fake Police Badges
The legislation authored by Rep. Weiner which passed the House today, will close loopholes in federal law that allow for the trafficking of fake police badges. While federal law currently forbids the transfer of counterfeit police badges, there are broad exceptions which allow anyone to purchase a fake badge for “recreational” or “decorative” purposes.
As a result of these loopholes, fake police badges - including NYPD badges - are widely available for sale on the Internet. According to a Weiner investigation, fake police badges can be purchased online for as little as $30.
The NYPD receives more than 1,200 complaints each year about impersonators using fake badges to commit crimes. In May 2005, federal authorities arrested a Bronx man after discovering 1,300 fake badges in his home, as well as drugs and guns. “This legislation will make our streets safer,” said Rep. Weiner. “At present, with a few dollars and a click of a mouse, anyone can pretend to be an NYPD officer. When we close these loopholes, we will remove fake police badges from our streets.
“We all should be confident that if someone is wearing an NYPD badge they actually are a police officer.”