FOP calls on Congress to Restore COPS funding

07/13/2011

FOP Members Join Congressional Leaders to Support the COPS program

Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, echoed calls by Congressional leaders to restore funding for the hiring program administered by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) in the U.S. Department of Justice. Members of the FOP turned out in force at a press conference held by U.S. Representatives David G. Reichert (R-WA) and William J. Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), the co-chairman of the Congressional Law Enforcement Caucus to urge the House of Representatives to fund the COPS program.

"Community oriented policing is a highly effective crime-fighting strategy and it has been part of our nation's anti-crime strategy for nearly twenty years," Canterbury said. "Law enforcement officers are used to doing more with less, but even we cannot do more with nothing. The reductions in the draft appropriations bill are simply irresponsible."

Last week the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies approved draft legislation which eliminated the COPS Office and all the programs it administers, as well as other vital funding for local and State law enforcement agencies. Last year, the COPS Office awarded more than $240 million to local and State law enforcement agencies. Over the life of the COPS Office, more than $13.5 billion in awards-including $7.5 billion to hire new law enforcement officers-to support community policing nationwide. More than 42,400 community policing grants have added more than 100,000 police officers to our streets and provide assistance funds to more than 13,600 State, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies.

Representative Reichert, a 33-year veteran of law enforcement, said, "I understand that in a time of limited resources tough choices need to be made but the Federal government should never ignore its most important responsibility to its citizens: providing safety and security."

Representative Pascrell echoed this sentiment, stating, "In these times of state and local budget cuts, layoffs and department closures remain a huge worry for state and local law enforcement. I recognize the need to live within our means and budget responsibility. But that does not mean unwisely sacrificing the safety and security of our communities."

Both Members of Congress praised the FOP's long-standing support of the COPS program and its leadership on community oriented policing. The Representatives thanked the FOP members in attendance for their service and sacrifice, noting the loss of FOP National Board Member Steve Kenner of the Bismark Police Department in North Dakota, who was shot and killed in the line of duty over the weekend.

"I think we can reduce the Federal budget without reducing public safety," Canterbury said. "I strongly urge the full Committee to restore funding to the COPS Office and other critical law enforcement assistance programs."

National President Canterbury sent a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Appropriations concerning the cuts, which you can read here.