Brown Urges Top Senate Appropriators to Fully Fund Program that Invests in Local Police Departments

Brown Joins Senators in Fight for Critical Public Safety, Community Policing Program

WASHINGTON, DC – Last week, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown joined a group of 41 senators in urging Appropriations Subcommittee Committee Chairman Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Vice Chairwoman Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) to fully fund the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program, which invests in local law enforcement by helping police departments bolster their community policing efforts and hire new officers. The senators urged the top Senate appropriators to fully fund the program at a minimum of $225.5 million.

“Our law enforcement officers devote their lives to protecting Ohioans – and we can invest in these brave men and women by making sure they have the resources needed to do their jobs, hire more officers, and safeguard their communities. The COPS program helps bolster our local police departments and keep our communities safe, and we should be funding it at the highest possible level,” said Brown. 

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.

A copy of their letter appears below:

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,

Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.)

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)

Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.)

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)

Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.)

Senator Angus King (I-Maine)

Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii)

Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.)

Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.)

Senator Gary Peters (D-Mich.)

Senator Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.)

Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.)

Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.)

Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.)

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)

Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.)

Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.)

Senator Joe Manchin (D-WVa.)

Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.)

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.)

Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.)

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)

Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.)

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)

Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.)

Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.)

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)

Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.)

Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.)

Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.)

Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)

Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.)

Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.)

Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.)

Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.)

Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.)

Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)

Senator Doug Jones (D-Ala.)

Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.)

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt)

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