At the 2003 International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference in Philadelphia last week, mayors and chiefs from across the country protested Congress’ plans to drastically cut federal funding to law enforcement.
The U.S. House of Representatives is proposing to cut funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program by more than 50 percent and end all hiring programs. The Senate is proposing to cut Local Law Enforcement Block Grants (LLEBG) by more than 60 percent.
U.S. Conference of Mayors President James A. Garner of Hempstead, New York said, “I have come here today with a simple message—and it’s one that I know the nation’s police chiefs share. The fight against crime continues in our nation’s cities, and Washington must support programs like COPS and LLEBG that continue to contribute to crime reductions as well as terrorism prevention in cities across America.”
Chiefs and mayors have been working together to combat crime in recent years. And there have been good results, including a nationwide 20-year low in violent crimes. But funding is already low, especially with the increased security measures required at all law enforcement agencies since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. City leaders worry that they will lose the ground they have gained without the proper resources.
“We are delighted to join with the U.S. Conference of Mayors in an endeavor to achieve goals vital to all of us—appropriate funding and support for programs vital to law enforcement,” said Chief Joseph Samulels Jr., President of the IACP.
Congress is expected to decide on these funding issues this week.