10.27.06

Schumer: Save Program That Has Added Over 3,000 Cops To Upstate NY

COPS Grant Program, a lifeline to local law enforcement agencies throughout NY, has brought thousands of new cops to the street but will be decimated under the Administrations proposed budgetDuring National Police Week, Schumer urges Congress and the White House to save the program by restoring its full funding level so more cops can be added to the regionSchumer to deta

The program that has added over 3,000 police officers to patrol Upstate New York since 1994 would be decimated if the Administration's current budget proposal is approved, US Senator Charles E. Schumer warned today. Schumer, one of the original authors of the 1994 legislation creating the COPS program, today urged Congress and the White House to save the program by restoring full funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Grant Program, which has sent upstate police departments $199 million since 1994.

"You don't need a degree in criminal justice to know that fewer dollars for the COPS program is going to mean fewer officers on the beat," Schumer said. "Police officers may now be on the front lines of the war on terrorism, but they're still on the front lines of the war on crime. Keeping a drug dealer off a street corner or having a regular patrol around a power plant to guard against terrorists takes manpower. And cutting the federal program that helps make that happen particularly for cities with fiscal problems means that there's going to be a security vulnerability somewhere at some point. In a post 9/11 world, we can't afford for that to happen. But this budget plan does the unthinkable by doing just that."

As New Yorkers celebrate National Police Week, Schumer said that police departments across New York have taken advantage of the COPS program which sends funds directly for activities such as hiring and training additional police. The Administrations FY05 budget proposal would cut funding for the COPS Grant Program from $756 million in FY04 to $97 million in FY05. To illustrate the importance of the program to communities in upstate New York, Schumer today revealed that since 1994 the COPS Grant Program has added thousands of police personnel to upstate New York communities:

" 421 cops in Capital Region communities came from the endangered COPS program; " 236 cops in Central New York communities came from the endangered COPS program; " 276 cops in Rochester/Finger Lakes communities came from the endangered COPS program; " 743 cops in Hudson Valley communities came from the endangered COPS program; " 83 cops in North Country communities came from the endangered COPS program; " 112 cops in Southern Tier communities came from the endangered COPS program; " 546 cops in Western New York communities came from the endangered COPS program.

[Please see attached report for countybycounty breakdowns.]

The COPS Grant Program makes awards to counties, cities or towns for a three year period. There are several grant programs within the larger COPS program, including the Cops in the School program where new police officers patrol school grounds and are referred to as "school resource officers." There is no matching requirement under this COPS program, meaning towns must not pay any of the salaries. Towns can use the money to hire a new police officer on the beat and have a senior officer move to the "school resource" position, as long as the money is used to provide an additional officer in the schools. Community police officers within schools provide a variety of functions other than acting as a security presence and link to local law enforcement. Inschool officers also teach crime prevention and substanceabuse classes, monitor troubled students and serve to build respect for law enforcement among students.

In another COPS program, the COPS Homeland Security Overtime Program, federal money is given to state and local police departments to pay for police overtime related to providing homeland security. Each recipient police department receives a one year award from the Department of Justice to pay for future police overtime costs associated with homeland security activities. The only stipulation for drawing down the funds is that each recipient department must put up an additional 25% in funds to pay for the police overtime costs. The money can be used to pay for overtime for future events for existing officers, but not to hire new officers.

To save the program from extinction and make sure that adequate policing levels in upstate New York are maintained, Schumer said he will cosponsor a measure s. 679 introduced by Senator Joseph Biden that would fully restore funding to the COPS Program. The measure is expected to come to the floor of the Senate in July when the appropriations bill that includes the funding provisions for the COPS Grant Program is voted on. Under this measure, upstate communities could see $16 million in additional COPS grants next year.

"Thanks to COPS, people feel safer with their children on the streets today. But now the Administration has proposed ending the program and taking away funding to hire thousands of police officers just when they are needed most, Schumer said. Why the Administration would want to rip a hole in that sense of security by slashing COPS funding is beyond me.

Please see attached report for countybycounty breakdowns of the impact of the COPS program.



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