4/11/2018 — 

WASHINGTON, DC – As Congress begins the Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations process, U.S. Senator Jack Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, today joined a group of 41 senators in urging the Committee to provide 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.

“These federal funds will help enhance public safety by putting more officers on the streets and improving collaboration between police and the community,” said Senator Reed.  “Sufficiently funding the COPS Hiring Program can help strengthen community policing efforts in Rhode Island and nationwide.”

In a letter to Appropriations CJS Subcommittee Committee Chairman Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Vice Chairwoman Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the Senators wrote:

“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.  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 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 COPS hiring grants may be used to support 75 percent of approved, entry-level salaries and benefits for each police officer, or up to $125,000 per officer position, over the three-year grant period.

Launched in 1994, the COPS Hiring Program provides funds directly to law enforcement agencies to hire, preserve, and/or rehire police officers and helps local police departments increase their community policing capacity and crime prevention efforts.

Since 2009, Rhode Island has received more than $14.2 million in COPS grants that local police departments across the state have hired over 70 new police officers.

The program has strong 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.  

The letter was cosigned by U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ)Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)Tom Carper (D-DE)Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)Tom Udall (D-NM)Angus King (I-ME)Brian Schatz (D-HI)Ed Markey (D-MA)Gary Peters (D-MI)Maggie Hassan (D-NH)Chris Coons (D-DE)Tim Kaine (D-VA)Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)Joe Manchin (D-WV)Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV)Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)Tammy Baldwin (D-WS)Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)Tina Smith (D-MN)Sherrod Brown (D-OH)Bill Nelson (D-FL)Jeff Merkley (D-OR)Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)Bob Casey (D-PA)Mark Warner (D-VA)Kamala Harris (D-CA)Dick Durbin (D-IL)Michael Bennet (D-CO)Chris Murphy (D-CT)Cory Booker (D-NJ)Martin Heinrich (D-NM)Jon Tester (D-MT)Ron Wyden (D-OR)Doug Jones (D-AL)Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

Full text of the letter follows:

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.

Sincerely,