2007-02-02 / Community

Weiner Calls For Restoration Of COPS Funding

In light of recent FBI statistics showing a jump in violent crime nationwide, today a bipartisan group of over 100 members of Congress, including our local Representative, Congressman Anthony Weiner, have called for the restoration of C.O.P.S. funding.

The C.O.P.S. program, which has been successful in putting almost 120,000 police on the streets and in reducing violent crime, was zeroed out by Congress last year, according to Weiner.

In a letter organized by Weiner and Ric Keller or Florida, the members urged Appropriations Chairman David Obey and ranking member Jerry Lewis to provide funding for the C.O.P.S. program in this year's Continuing Resolution.

Because Congress did not complete the appropriations process last year, the Appropriations Committee is currently readjusting the fiscal year 2007 budget and considering which programs may deserve additional resources.

"C.O.P.S enjoys the support of all the nation's major law enforcement organizations and was reauthorized as part of the Department of Justice Reauthorization bill that President Bush signed into law last January," the members of Congress wrote in the letter. "And the program has helped communities large and small across the nation and has strong, bipartisan support."

Created in 1994 to put more police officers on the streets, the C.O.P.S. program has been enormously successful. Nationally, C.O.P.S has provided $9 billion to hire 117,000 police officers.

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.

Yet, Congress eliminated the program last year and, at the same time, violent crime spiked across the nation.

Last month, the FBI reported that crime is growing in the United States for the first time since the early 1990s. During the first six months of last year, homicides, assaults and other violent offenses grew by 4%, and robberies, which are often interpreted as a precursor to more serious crime, jumped by 10%.

"The C.O.P.S program is a proven winner, cutting crime and making neighborhoods safe in New York City, the Tri-State area, and across the nation," said Rep. Weiner. "More cops on the streets means less violent crimes and greater vigilance - it just makes sense."

"Good ideas deserve bipartisan support," stated Rep. Keller. "And with the spike in violent crime in Central Florida and across the country, something everyone in law enforcement can agree on is the fact that restoring funding for the C.O.P.S. program is a good idea."

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