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King Fights for Federal Investments in Local Public Safety, Community Policing

April 11, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine.) joined a group of 41 senators in a letter to Appropriations Subcommittee Committee Chairman Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Vice Chairwoman Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) requesting a minimum of $225.5 million in federal funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program to help local law enforcement bolster their community policing efforts.

“The COPS Hiring program represents a fiscally responsible solution to ensure that our communities remain safe….When officers establish a presence on their patrols using community policing principles, they can develop positive relationships with the communities they serve.  In turn, these relationships increase law enforcement’s ability to solve local crimes and resolve public safety problems,” the senators wrote in their letter.  “This program plays an essential role in our federal government’s support for local law enforcement and should therefore receive the highest possible level of funding.”

Maine law enforcement entities throughout the state have benefited from grants administered through the COPS program. Most recently, in November 2017, the Department of Justice awarded COPS grants to Somerset County Sheriff’s Department, the Madawaska Police Department, and the Jay Police Department, totaling $500,000. These grants, which funded four additional police officers, helped boost the departments’ efforts surrounding drug abuse education, prevention, and intervention, as well as prevention of domestic and family violence.

Since its inception, the COPS program has been responsible for putting 129,000 additional police officers on the job in 13,000 local communities across the country. The COPS program was designed to advance public safety by addressing the full-time officer needs of state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies.  COPS provides funds directly to law enforcement agencies to hire new and/or rehire career law officers, and to increase crime prevention efforts. The senators requested at least the same level of federal funding as was appropriated for COPS in FY18. The program has deep support among major law enforcement organizations, including the National Association of Police Organizations, Fraternal Order of Police, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the Major Cities Chiefs Association.  

Full text of the letter is below and can be downloaded here.

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April 11, 2018

Dear Senator Moran and Senator Shaheen:

As you consider funding levels for Fiscal Year 2019, we urge you to fund the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program at a minimum of $225.5 million, the amount appropriated for the program in FY 2018.  This program plays an essential role in our federal government’s support for local law enforcement and should therefore receive the highest possible level of funding.

The COPS Hiring program represents a fiscally responsible solution to ensure that our communities remain safe; the Brookings Institution found it to be “one of the most cost-effective options available for fighting crime.” When officers establish a presence on their patrols using community policing principles, they can develop positive relationships with the communities they serve.  In turn, these relationships increase law enforcement’s ability to solve local crimes and resolve public safety problems.  This proactive approach to policing prevents crime from occurring, saving taxpayers the high societal costs associated with crime, incarceration, and services for victims.

Since its creation, the COPS Office has assisted over 13,000 of the nation’s 16,000 jurisdictions with over $14 billion in funding to hire approximately 129,000 additional officers. In FY 2017, the COPS Hiring Program granted over $98 million to 179 law enforcement agencies to hire, preserve, or rehire 802 full-time law enforcement officers.  There were heightened restrictions for funding requests in FY 2017, leading many communities to forego applications, but still over 3,000 officers were requested, representing close to $410 million in funding. The $225.5 million requested is a small fraction of the $1 billion appropriated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and less than the $298 million previously appropriated in FY 2010.

We are supported in this request by law enforcement organizations including the National Association of Police Organizations, Fraternal Order of Police, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the Major Cities Chiefs Association.  We appreciate the hard work and leadership that you have shown on these issues. Ongoing crime and violence in our cities continue to demonstrate the vital need for increased police protection in our communities.  Therefore, as you determine the funding levels for this program, we ask that you support funding for the COPS Hiring Program at the highest possible level.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.


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