CLEVELAND, OH—U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Mayor Frank Jackson, City of Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath, and Director of Public Safety Martin Flask held a news conference today to outline how the House Republicans’ budget for 2011 could have a devastating effect on Ohio law enforcement and stretch already-limited resources to the breaking point.
“Mayors and law enforcement officials from across the country—including Mayor Jackson, Chief McGrath, and Director Flask—are facing devastating cuts in the House budget plan. Critical federal programs like COPS and Byrne JAG help keep our neighborhoods safe and drug-free, especially at a time when many Ohio communities are already facing significant budget shortfalls,” Brown said. “The proposed cuts in the Republican House Budget are draconian—they neither strengthen our economy nor provide for the public safety. They are simply irresponsible.”
The Fiscal Year 2011 budget recently passed by House Republicans includes a 25 percent overall funding cut over 2010 for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program under the Department of Justice. Two COPS initiatives could be eliminated entirely: the COPS technology program, which provides direct funding for the continued development of technologies and automated systems to assist in investigating, responding to, and preventing crime; and the COPS methamphetamine program, which provides funds for law enforcement to combat the use and distribution of methamphetamine. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), there were more than 800 methamphetamine lab incidents in Ohio between 2002 and 2006.
Under the House Republican budget, Ohio could lose more than $4.4 million for the Byrne JAG program, which was slashed by nearly 30% overall nationwide. According to the Department of Justice, which administers the program, Byrne JAG funds are the leading source of federal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions. The JAG Program provides states, tribes, and local governments with funds for a variety of programs, including law enforcement, drug treatment and enforcement, and crime victim and witness initiatives.
According to a letter sent to Brown from Mayor Jackson and Chief McGrath, the City of Cleveland has utilized Byrne JAG funding in the past to fund a Regional Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) for police departments in surrounding cities; hire crime analysts to help implement an Intelligence Led Policing (ILP) initiative, including hot spot policing; partner with eight cities and 20 local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to create the Northern Ohio Violent Crime Consortium; operate a drug task force; and purchase law enforcement technology and equipment.
Ohio could also stand to lose more than $1.7 million under the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI), an anti-terror program at the Department of Homeland Security which provides funds to enhance preparedness in major metropolitan areas. Cleveland alone could lose more than $500,000 under the House Republican budget in UASI funds.
According to Mayor Jackson and Chief McGrath, Cleveland has received more than $23 million in UASI funding since 2003. Among other key projects, the UASI funding has allowed the City of Cleveland to purchase 1,400 Personal Protective Equipment items for first responders; provide weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and other training to over 1,700 safety personnel; hire emergency management planning personnel; fund Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) for police, fire, and EMS; purchase specialized response vehicles for mass casualty, contamination, and HAZMAT incidents; and purchase surveillance equipment.