WASHINGTON US Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) joined Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE) today in introducing a bill to save the successful Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program that has put hundreds of police officers on the street in Rhode Island and more than a hundred-thousand officers on the street nationwide. Though President Bush drastically cut the COPS program leaving no funding to hire new police officers, Biden and Reed have introduced a bill reauthorizing funding for the Department of Justice (DOJ) program with $1.15 billion per year over six years. The Biden-Reed bill is intended to maintain and enhance the COPS program and provides: "$600 million per year for Police Hiring Grants, enough to fund up to 50,000 new police officers in six years. These resources can also be used to help communities retain officers once their 3-year grants under the original program expire, pay overtime costs, and reimburse officers for training costs. Funds can also be used to hire School Resource Officers. " $350 million per year for Law Enforcement Technology Grants for police departments to take advantage of new technology and equipment for analyzing crime-data and incident reports, anticipating trends in crime, examining DNA evidence, or video recordings for squad cars to keep records of police encounters."$200 million per year for Community Prosecutor Grants to help local district attorneys hire community prosecutors who are trained to work in and around neighborhoods to prevent crime, build relationships in the community, and work to improve the quality of life in the area.The COPS program has continually proven to be a success in Rhode Island and communities throughout America. It is imperative that we continue to support the programs that provide our local police departments the resources they need to keep our neighborhoods safe, Reed said. I am grateful for the work that these brave men and women do to protect communities across Rhode Island and America, and I cannot understand why the President and Republicans in Congress would let funding for law enforcement slip through the cracks. President Bushs budget proposal, which was supported by Republicans in Congress, cut the program to $118 million for fiscal year (FY) 2006 with no funding allocated to hiring officers. In FY 2005, COPS was funded at $378 million, with only $10 million for hiring officers. As recently as FY 2002, COPS received $739 million with $395 million for the hiring program. According to a 2003 survey of the largest 44 metropolitan police agencies, 27 face officer shortages.Last month, the President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Chief Joseph G. Estey, issued a message stating: Instead of building on this tremendous progress, the budget would cut funding for vital assistance programs and would weaken our ability to protect our communities from crime and terrorism.Rhode Island has received over $29 million to add 395 officers through the COPS program since 1994. Since 1995, COPS has funded the hiring of more than 118,000 community policing officers through grants that have been awarded to more than 12,000 of the nations estimated 18,000 state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies. The program was created by Congress as part of the 1994 Crime Bill in an effort to help cities put more police officers onto the streets. Reed is a former member of the House Judiciary Committee which wrote the bill. In the 106th Congress, a Republican provision to the Commerce, Justice, State and the Judiciary Appropriations bill would have ended the COPS program in FY2000. Senator Reed co-sponsored an amendment to the bill which increased funding by $325 million to the program.In addition to funding law enforcement positions, COPS has been the catalyst for innovations in community policing and the broad implementation of this effective law enforcement strategy. Statistics indicate that 64 percent of the nations law enforcement agencies, serving 86 percent of the U.S. population engage in community policing.COPS grants generally pay for up to 75 percent of the total salary and benefits of each officer over a three year period, up to $75,000.Many Rhode Island communities have received COPS funding. Since 2002, Jamestown, Foster, North Smithfield, South Kingston, Johnston, Westerly, Richmond, Charlestown, Lincoln, Hopkinton, Central Falls, Coventry, East Providence, Richmond, Smithfield, North Providence and West Greenwich have received funding from the hiring program. In 2003, the Pawtucket and Providence Police Departments received $321,000 to help pay for local law enforcement expenses resulting from increased overtime budgets due to homeland security patrols and services.