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Fed Budget Cuts Would Reduce LE Strength

February 14, 2013  | 

Photo via Inventorchris/Flickr.
Photo via Inventorchris/Flickr.

Automatic federal budget cuts set to go into effect March 1 would likely trigger mandatory furloughs among agencies such as the FBI, ATF, and Border Patrol, as well as sharp reductions in grants that bring equipment and personnel to local agencies.

The Budget Control Act of 2011 implemented a process known as budget sequestration, which requires the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security to each absorb a 9% funding cut.

"If there is a sequestration, it would have a terribly adverse effect on law enforcement," said James Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police. "How the agencies administer the cuts is to a degree up to the agency."

The cuts would remove agents from the front lines, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told the Senate's appropriations committee on Thursday.

"DHS simply cannot absorb the additional reduction posed by sequestration without significantly and negatively affecting frontline operations and our nation's previous investments in homeland security," Napolitano said.

On Thursday, a group of Democrats including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nevada) and Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (Maryland) proposed a package of $110 billion in cuts to replace the $85 billion under sequestration. That plan drew mixed review, reports The Hill.

Federal documents obtained by POLICE Magazine outline cuts likely to be implemented by federal law enforcement agencies.

The Department of Justice would cut more than $1.6 billion from its 2012-13 fiscal budget that runs through Sept. 30.

The DOJ would lose the equivalent of more than 1,000 federal agents to combat violent crime, pursue financial crimes, help secure the southwest border, and ensure national security, as well as the equivalent of 1,300 correctional officers to maintain the safe and secure confinement of inmates in federal prisons.

The FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Federal Bureau of Prisons, and U.S. Marshals Service would immediately furlough employees.

To cut $550 million, the FBI would furlough all personnel for 14 days, implement a hiring freeze, and curtail joint task forces dealing with human trafficking, terrorism, organized crime, and other areas.

To cut nearly $60 million, the ATF would be forced to reduce criminal investigations, firearms and explosives industry inspections, firearms and explosives permitting, and firearms tracing.

"These reductions make no sense considering our emphasis on fighting gun violence and they would thwart the President's plan to protect our children and our communities from gun violence," Attorney General Eric Holder wrote in a Feb. 1 letter to Mikulski.

To cut nearly $60 million, the U.S. Marshals Service would furlough its employees for 13 days, implement a hiring freeze, and reduce the number of marshals assigned to seek and capture fugitives.

Homeland Security cuts would reduce the operations of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, and the Secret Service.

The cuts could come as President Obama and federal lawmakers begin prioritizing immigration reform and border security. To cut more than $500 million, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection would reduce staffing at points of entry by implementing furloughs, reducing overtime pay, and reducing hiring of "backfill" positions, Napolitano said.

The Coast Guard would curtail air and surface operations by 25% and defer training.

Under sequestration, ICE would reduce detention and removal operations, curtail investigations, and reduce or eliminate funding for wiretaps under Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act.

U.S. Secret Service agents would face furloughs of up to seven days, which would hinder ongoing criminal and protective intelligence investigations.

State and local law enforcement agencies would be indirectly affected, Pasco added.

"Grants that flow through the Justice Department to state and local law enforcement would be cut even as everything else is being cut," Pasco said. "The money available to state and local law enforcement would be curtailed by this sequester."

By Paul Clinton

Comments (8)

Displaying 1 - 8 of 8

Tom Ret @ 2/14/2013 7:15 PM

There currently is not enough resources to enforce the existing gun laws so Obama wants more laws in spite of this and likelihood that resources will be cut even further-brilliant.

John @ 2/14/2013 9:58 PM

Good. Maybe Hilter and Himmler will have less SS troops to enforce their socialist agenda. Although, I'm sorry about the Border Patrol cuts.

DEADMAN @ 2/15/2013 12:30 AM

Lay off holder and napolitano,get some ammo from the Food and Drug administration and The Social Security administration,they don't need 11 million rounds.Stop,eliminate or curtail grnts to state and local police,they will have to revert back to their home agencies,i've seen too mant departments abuse the grant programs anyhow.Cleveland police department confiscates weapons and destroys them,then applys for federal grants to buy the same guns,tell me how that makes sense,plus there are agencies that buy the weapons,why destroy them.

Doubting Thomas @ 2/15/2013 3:32 AM

More pissing and moaning by the Feds. Anyone who has ever worked in fed LE knows two things: 1) There's lots of Feds sitting on their asses doing literally nothing except personal business each day every day. This is equally true in LE as well. 2) Feds have been hiring contractors for years (especially after 9/11) to pad their ranks, create supervisory positions to get promoted etc....Better budgeting and good old fashion work ethics would have prevented this bloated bureaucracy to begin with and preclude budget cuts. These are crocodile tears. Stop classifying every guard position in the federal government as Police for starters. Supreme Court Police, US Capital Police etc...Please. Real Cops get twice the calls, 1000s the number of arrests etc... and half the pay and bennies. Someone please tell me why someone who looks at passports at the airport needs a weapon which increases pay and subsequently retirement costs that the taxpayer has to carry. Like I said, crocodile tears. It's time for everyone to bear the load including the overstuffed and overstaffed federal bureaucracy.

mikew @ 2/15/2013 4:58 AM

Fear tactics are a part of the political game. As stated by others, there are many "administrative" jobs, clerical positions and wasted programs that could disappear without losing front line positions. So you keep your cars a year longer, reduce the number of drones the departments were going to buy to spy on their citizens and maybe curtail the number of parties and oversea trips taken by administrative personnel and federal officers who have forgotten what their job is. AFT? They are a joke, let them disappear. FBI? IRS? See ya!!

Jim B. @ 2/15/2013 7:21 AM

Wow, so much for the brotherhood standing by each other.

BK @ 2/16/2013 11:58 PM

I'm with Jim B. Regardless of mismanagement at the top, there are still brother LEO's facing a tough road ahead. Show some class, d**ks.

Marshal @ 2/19/2013 7:40 AM

You know if Obama and or his family would quit vacationing everywhere then we could have a lot of funding. The VP and Mrs. Obama were in the Aspen CO area this past weekend for a vacation after just getting back from Hawaii. Everytime they travel it costs the tax payers a huge amount of money. Stay home for once and quit roaming the world on tax payers money. One year of their travel could fund a lot of jobs and equipment for law enforcement.

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