Casey: Don’t Cut Funding for Law Enforcement

WASHINGTON, DC- U.S Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today urged congressional leaders to reconsider their proposed cuts to funding for local law enforcement agencies. In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers, Senator Casey urged the reconsideration of cuts to State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance and the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program for the remainder of fiscal year 2011. 

“I agree that long-term debt and deficits are not sustainable and understand that difficult decisions must be made regarding funding of national programs,” wrote Senator Casey. “Cuts to these programs, however, would hurt local law enforcement in Pennsylvania and across the country.  The end result is that our streets will be less safe and our nation will be less secure.” 

In the letter, Senator Casey noted that State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance has been critical in helping reduce drug-related violent crime and gang activity and that the COPS program has helped state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies train and hire new officers to participate in community policing, acquire new crime-fighting technology and test and develop new innovative policing strategies. There is strong bi-partisan support for both programs.
 
A copy of the letter is below.

Dear Speaker Boehner and Chairman Rogers:

I write today to urge you to reconsider the proposed cuts to State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance and the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program for the remainder of fiscal year 2011 (FY 11).  The significant reduction in funding for these initiatives will negatively impact the safety of my constituents and citizens across the country.

The House Appropriations Committee has reportedly proposed a reduction of at least $256 million to the State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance program. This would inadequately fund the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants (JAG) program, the Drug Courts program, and the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program. 

The Byrne/JAG program is a critical element of an integrated federal strategy aimed at reducing drug use.  One of the most important uses of this funding is for multi-jurisdictional drug task forces, which help local law enforcement reduce drug-related violent crime and gang activity in our communities. Annually, Byrne/JAG funding leads to over 200,000 arrests, over 50,000 weapons seized, and the breakup over approximately 9,000 methamphetamine labs.  These successes indicate that we need to continue to provide adequate funding of this program, not cut it back.

In addition, the House Appropriations Committee has proposed cutting the COPS program by at least $600 million.  Nationwide, over 122,000 police officers have been hired as a direct result of the COPS program. This initiative provides funding to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to train and hire new officers to participate in community policing, acquire new crime-fighting technology and test and develop new innovative policing strategies.  Local chiefs of police, sheriffs and offers others agree that the COPS program has played a pivotal role in crime reduction.

I agree that long-term debt and deficits are not sustainable and understand that difficult decisions must be made regarding funding of national programs.  Cuts to these programs, however, would hurt local law enforcement in Pennsylvania and across the country.  The end result is that our streets will be less safe and our nation will be less secure.  There is strong bi-partisan support for both State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance and the COPS program.  I ask you to reexamine the proposed reductions you have proposed to these programs and at minimum, return these vital programs to their enacted FY 2010 funding level.


Sincerely,


Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator

###