WASHINGTON, DC – In a continued effort to protect our nation's communities and schools, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-09) joined Reps. Dave Reichert (WA-08), Peter King (NY-02), and John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) in introducing legislation to reauthorize and improve the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant program. This program provides for the hiring of law enforcement officials, which includes school resource officers. These officers would assist schools with emergency preparedness and preventative measures plans as well as serve as members of the school community – solving problems before they escalate.
"Our brave men and women in uniform put their lives on the line day in and day out keeping our communities safe," said Rep. Pascrell, Co-Chairman of the House Law Enforcement Caucus. "As local police departments face increasing budget constraints, we need to ensure the safety of our communities does not suffer. The equation is simple - the fewer cops we have on the street, the higher the crime rate. There are over 50,000 fewer police officers on the streets today than there were before this economic crisis began, and that is unacceptable. I will continue to fight to ensure the COPS Hiring Program is authorized and well funded so that our communities can meet their unique public safety needs, including the hiring of school resource officers to keep our kids safe at school."
“Recent tragedies demand that we provide a well thought out and effective plan to provide for the safety and security of families in our schools and communities,” Rep. Reichert said. “Having dedicated 33 years of my life to keeping communities safe working in the Sheriff’s office in King County, WA, I know that the law enforcement community understands and is committed to this task. This legislation would support them in their efforts by providing resources for the tools they need to do their jobs. Today, I am proud to join with my colleagues to advocate for these programs and the people that put their lives on the line every day to keep us all safe.”
“Our law enforcement officers put their lives on the line for us on a daily basis; they should not be placed in further danger due to short-staffing and budget cuts at the state and local level,” said Rep. King. “This legislation is essential to ensuring our community law enforcement receives the adequate funding it needs to secure the streets and protect our citizens.”
“I support the COPS Program wholeheartedly, and this bill will make it even stronger at a time when it is needed more than ever as state and local governments are facing severe budget restrictions. Since its inception in the Clinton Administration, the COPS Program has funded the hiring of more than 124,000 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,” Rep. Conyers said. “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 prevent it from happening in the first place.”
The COPS Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2013 (H.R. 421) would reauthorize and codify the Community Oriented Policing Services or COPS office within the Department of Justice. The bill would also expand current grant opportunities offered by the office to include the TROOPS-TO-COPS program providing for the hiring of former members of the Armed Services and a technology grant program focused on crime prevention.