Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) introduced legislation in Congress today that would direct more Community Oriented Policing Services grants to five cities that have been hit hard by crime and budget deficits.
Oakland, Atlanta, Baltimore, Detroit and Memphis, Tenn. would be able to get COPS funds that increase their police forces by five to 10 percent. The bill would also allow 15 yet-to-be-determined cities to apply for more grants to fight violent crime. Funding would be based on the amount of poverty, gang activity, drug trafficking and unemployment in those cities.
The Oakland City Council cut its police department personnel budget by $13.4 million to help battle a $83 million budget deficit. The city requested more than $67 million in COPS grants, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
“It is common sense – more police officers on our streets mean less crime,” Boxer said in a statement. “As cities with high violent crime rates deal with budget cuts, we must ensure that local law enforcement officials can fight crime and keep our communities safe.”
Local, state and tribal law enforcement agencies have applied for more than $8.3 billion in COPS funding to hire new officers, buy new equipment and improve police training.
The American Recovery Act set aside $1 billion for COPS grants. The DOJ budget passed by the House has almost $300 million for the program with $350,000 earmarked for the Detroit and $250,000 earmarked for Oakland. The Senate Appropriations Committee version has almost $660 million for COPS grants with $1.3 million earmarked for Oakland and $1.5 million earmarked for Baltimore.
Farhan Daredia contributed to this report.