March 10, 2009

Senator Gillibrand Pushes Bill to Expand COPS Program

Legislation Would Help Fight Crime While Creating New Law Enforcement Jobs

Washington, D.C. - New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand pushed bipartisan legislation this week, signing on to legislation that would expand grants for public safety and community policing programs. Since the COPS program was first established in 1994, police departments across New York State have received more than $925 million to fund over 11,000 additional police officers.

"In this economy when local resources are stretched thin, it is vital that the federal government make a commitment to our police departments," said Senator Gillibrand. "This bill would not only help fight crime, but would also create new jobs in law enforcement. Investing in our police departments is a priority to make our communities more safe and secure."

The COPS Improvement Act of 2009 would authorize $1.15 billion per year over six years for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program. It would establish the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services as a distinct office within the Department of Justice and specifically reauthorizes the following programs:

  • $600 million for Police Hiring Grants to allow police departments to hire up to 50,000 officers for general community policing, counter-terrorism and intelligence gathering, and school resource officers to combat school violence. These resources could also be spent to help communities retain officers, pay overtime costs, and reimburse officers for training costs.

  • $350 million for Law Enforcement Technology Grants for police departments to acquire new technology and equipment to analyze real-time crime-data and incident reports to anticipate trends in crime, mapping crime "hot spots", examining DNA evidence, and purchasing cameras for police cars.

  • $200 million for Community Prosecutor Grants to help local district attorneys hire community prosecutors, who are trained to work in and around neighborhoods to prevent crime and build relationships within the community.