2007-05-18 / Community

House Bill Puts 50,000 Cops On Big City Streets

On Tuesday, legislation authored by Representative Anthony Weiner to put 50,000 more police officers on our nation's streets - including an estimated 2,969 new cops to fight crime and terrorism in New York City - passed the United States House of Representatives. The legislation comes as violent crime is on the rise nationwide, according to a recent law enforcement association study and new FBI statistics.

The COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) hiring program has been one of the most successful law enforcement programs in the nation's history. To date the program has put almost 120,000 more officers on the street nationwide, including 6,946 in the Big Apple. Funded at over $1 billion a year near the end of the Clinton administration, the hiring portion of COPS has been zeroed out under President Bush.

But the COPS Improvement Act, passed today by Democrats in the House of Representatives, will breathe new life into the COPS program nationwide:

Since 1994, the COPS program has helped law enforcement in New York City put 6,946 cops on the beat. With its passage an additional 2,969 officers will likely be hired over the course of the next six years.

With passage of the COPS Improvement Act, the City will likely receive an additional $194,650,756 over the course of the next six years.

In addition, the COPS program has enabled law enforcement agencies to hire at least 50 more school resource officers, who keep New York City children safe at school. Approximately 21 school resource officers will likely be hired over the course of the next six years.

The COPS program has sent at least $23,094,576 to New York City since 1994 to purchase technology and training that helps cops get out from behind their desks so they can patrol a beat. With its passage of the COPS Improvement Act, approximately $7,045,803 will likely be sent to the City.

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

According to a GAO study, between 1998 and 2000, COPS grants were responsible for reducing crimes by about 200,000 to 225,000 crimes - one third of which were violent. In 1998, COPS grants were responsible for an 8 percent decrease in crimes - and a 13 percent drop in violent crimes.

Yet, President Bush and Republicans in Congress eliminated the hiring program last year and, at the same time, violent crime has spiked across the nation. Earlier this year, the Police Executive Research Forum, a prominent law enforcement association, released a report which found violent crimes rose by double digit percentages over the last two years. Among the cities surveyed since 2005, 71 percent had an increase in homicides, 80 percent saw robberies rise and 67 percent reported an increase in aggravated assaults by criminals who use a firearm in the commission of the crime.

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