House Restores Highly Successful COPS Program, Would Add Nearly 90 Officers in Western Wisconsin Alone
Washington, D.C. – Legislation supported by U.S. Rep. Ron Kind and U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen to put 50,000 more police officers on our nation’s streets passed the U.S. House of Representatives today. H.R. 1700, the COPS Improvements Act of 2007, passed with a bipartisan majority on a vote of 381-34.
The COPS hiring program has been one of the most successful law enforcement programs in the nation’s history. To date, the program has put nearly 120,000 more officers on the street nationwide, including more than 1,300 in Wisconsin alone. Funded at over $1 billion a year near the end of the Clinton Administration, the hiring portion of COPS has been zeroed out under President Bush.
“As a former special prosecutor, I worked directly with local law enforcement, and they are by far the most effective defense against neighborhood crime,” Rep. Kind said. “By providing grants for hiring officers, new technology, and community prosecutors, this bill restores our commitment to this program, and will once again give our local law enforcement agencies the tools they need to fight crime in our communities.”
Under the COPS hiring grants program, America experienced a significant drop in crime rates. A nonpartisan study concluded that between 1998 and 2000, the hiring grants were responsible for reducing the number of crimes by about 200,000 incidents.
This bill reinstates the COPS hiring grants program at a time when studies are showing crime is growing in the United States for the first time since the early 1990s. The bill calls for funding to hire up to 50,000 new police officers nationwide over the next six years. An additional 575 police officers could be hired in Wisconsin. In addition, the bill provides funding for more school resource officers and for technology that enables more officers to be on the street.
“Reauthorizing the COPS program is more vital than ever,” said Congressman Kagen. “This bill is going to give our local law enforcement agencies the tools they need to fight crime and bring crime rates back down. I hope the Senate acts on this bill quickly and the President signs it.”
This legislation has been endorsed by the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO), with which the Wisconsin Professional Police Association is affiliated. Anyone interested in more information on this issue is welcome to contact WPPA Assistant Executive Director Jim Palmer by telephone at 800.362.8838 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.