Conyers: COPS Bill Will Create Jobs and Reduce Crime
(Washington) – Today, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) joined Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) in introducing H.R. 1896, the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Improvements Act of 2011. The proposal would establish legislative authority for the COPS Office at the Justice Department to: administer grants for the hiring of police officers and deputy sheriffs, reestablish the Troops to COPS program, fight methamphetamine trafficking, invest in innovative technology, and other purposes which would help reduce crime.
“I support the COPS Program wholeheartedly, and find it imperative to introduce the COPS Improvements Act, as it would make the COPS program stronger at a time when it is needed more than ever,” Conyers said. “These days, state and local governments are facing stringent financial constraints that keep them in need of the necessary resources to keep our streets safe. Some jurisdictions are actually laying off police officers. Since its inception in the Clinton Administration, the COPS Program has funded the hiring of more than 122,000 state and local police officers and sheriff’s deputies in communities across America. We must reaffirm our commitment to a program that hires more officers and creates jobs.
“Hiring more officers and sheriff’s deputies will help make us safer, particularly if they are hired as part of comprehensive community policing programs that work not just to investigate crime, but to also prevent it from happening in the first place. Studies, such as a 2005 GAO report, have found this program to help reduce crime.
“Last Congress, we passed a similar bill in the House, but the Senate failed to even consider it. We cannot allow that to happen again this time. I support the efforts of Senator Kohl, who has introduced the Senate companion. And of course, I commend my colleague, Congressman Weiner, for his tireless efforts on behalf of the COPS Program and this legislation.
“This program should be above politics. This program has a history of bipartisan support, but some have tried to eliminate the hiring program. I hope more of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle and in the Senate will follow the lead of former Attorney General John Ashcroft, who said, ‘the COPS Program has been one of the most successful programs that we've ever worked with.’”