Washington, DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that he has written a letter to the Department of Justice pushing for a Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant for Bethlehem that could restore 5 resources officers to Bethlehem’s school district. The resource officer program at Bethlehem School District was eliminated in recent years due to funding challenges, but this grant could launch the program again. Bethlehem School District used the program to promote community safety and help mentor students to stay away from drugs.
“This grant will help Bethlehem’s School District promote safety throughout its schools and allow its students to learn and develop valuable relationships with local law enforcement,” Senator Casey said. “I’ve continually pushed for Congress and the Administration to adequately fund the COPS program. COPS has proven effective at ensuring cities like Bethlehem have the adequate resources they need.”
Senator Casey has been one of the Senate’s leaders in pushing for adequate funds for the COPS program. Earlier this year he called on Senate appropriators to include robust funding for COPs and other law enforcement programs. Additionally, he weighed in with the Vice President on the issue when the Administration was developing proposals to curb gun violence.
The full text of Senator Casey’s letter can be seen below:
Ms. Eileen Garry
Bureau of Justice Assistance
U.S. Department of Justice
Dear Ms. Garry,
It is my understanding that the City of Bethlehem Police Department has submitted an application to the Department of Justice's Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant program. The purpose of this letter is to urge you to give full and fair consideration to this proposal.
I have been informed that this grant will be used to re-instate the full City of Bethlehem School Resource Officer Program by hiring five officers. I am further informed that the program is a model community partnership funded by both the City of Bethlehem Police Department and the Bethlehem Area School District (BASD). I understand that the program's mission is the prevention, safety, and security of students, staff, and the community. Specifically, I am advised that these officers are fully integrated into the school life and community, teach GREAT and DARE classes, mentor students, help solve problems, prevent problems, present assemblies, make arrests when needed, and even help students self-identify career paths in law enforcement.
Unfortunately, the program was de-funded in the past due to fiscal challenge related to state and local budget cuts. Despite this, I have been informed that the Bethlehem Police Department and the BASD have developed strong community partners in this effort and stand well prepared to resume the program. As it appears, this funding will help the Bethlehem Police Department educate and engage with the community and ensure the safety and protection of the students, faculty and staff at the Bethlehem Area School District.
Thank you in advance for the consideration of my views. Please include this letter in the official record of the application. Consistent with all applicable laws, rules and regulations, I also respectfully request that you keep me informed of the status of this grant application. Finally, if you have any questions, comments or concerns, please feel free to contact me or my staff.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator