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Amendment to the Commerce Justice Science Appropriations Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C.- U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today praised the passage of a bipartisan amendment that he offered last week on behalf of Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) that would add $110 million for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) hiring program.  The amendment to the Commerce Justice Science (CJS) appropriations bill would increase funding for this program to $660 million.  Earlier this year, the President’s budget recommended providing just $32 million nationwide for this program. 

“This successful program not only increases the number of police officers on the street to fight crime but also emphasizes building collaboration and partnership between the community and law enforcement so we can prevent crime in addition to fighting it,” said Casey.  “Crime was driven down from all-time highs thanks in part to the COPS program. I am very happy to have been part of the effort to undo those cuts and bring the success of COPS program back.”

The COPS hiring program provides funding directly to local, state and tribal jurisdictions for the salaries and benefits of newly hired officers engaged in community policing.  The COPS money is distributed to all eligible communities regardless of size, for the direct hire of police officers and sheriffs’ deputies.  With this funding, approximately 1,400 local officers will be hired to patrol our communities.  

Specifically, the program provides federal funding for 75% of a newly hired entry-level officer’s salary and benefits, up to a maximum amount of $75,000 per officer over the course of the three-year grant period.  Local departments are then generally required to contribute 25% in local matching funds unless the agency is approved for a waiver based upon a demonstration of extraordinary hardship.  

The COPS program was created as part of the 1994 Crime Bill.  Since its creation, the COPS program has helped to fund more than 118,000 law enforcement officers. 

Cosponsors include Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Herb Kohl (D-WI), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Hillary Clinton (D-NY), John Kerry (D-MA), Carl Levin (D-MI), Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Evan Bayh (D-IN), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Chris Dodd (D-CT), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Jack Reed (D-RI), Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT). It is supported by law enforcement agencies throughout the nation.

Senator Casey recently joined Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz and Philadelphia mayoral candidate Michael Nutter to discuss the importance the COPS programs and federal and local coordination to reduce and prevent violent crime.