Casey and Biden Offer Amendment to Boost COPS Program

Amendment to the Commerce Justice Science Appropriations Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C.- U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today offered a bipartisan amendment on behalf of Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) to the Commerce Justice Science (CJS) appropriations bill that would add $110 million for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) hiring program.  The amendment, which is cosponsored by long-time supporter of the COPS program, Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), 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. 

“It is astonishing that even when violent crime is on the rise, President Bush continues to call for funding cuts for important programs that help keep our communities safe,” said Casey.  “For more than a decade, the COPS program has been successful in reducing crime by helping local communities put more law enforcement officers on the beat.  Throughout his administration, President Bush has sought to cut or eliminate the COPS program and you can see the results.  This Congress realizes that we need to put a new emphasis on domestic priorities like keeping our communities safe.” 

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.  

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