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Law Enforcement Officials Support Economic Recovery Package

Two of our nation's leading law enforcement associations - the National Fraternal Order of Police and the International Association of Chiefs of Police - strongly support the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  

From the National Fraternal Order of Police:

The legislation includes $3 billion in recovery funds for the Edward J. Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne-JAG) program. This vital anti-crime program provides support for a diverse range of law enforcement, prosecutorial and other criminal justice initiatives in communities across the country. The program is used by State and local governments to fund multijurisdictional drug and gang task forces, cold case units, identity theft investigations, school violence prevention programs, services for threatened jurors, witness protection programs, victims' rights and hate crime programs.

The bill also includes $1 billion for the hiring grant program administered by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. This program was the centerpiece of law enforcement's success in reducing our nation's crime rate, but has not been funded in recent years. These needed funds will help State and local law enforcement agencies return to full strength.
[Letter to Chairman Obey and Ranking Member Rep. Lewis, 1/21/09]

The International Association of Chiefs of Police:

The legislation includes $4 billion to support state, local, and tribal law enforcement in Edward R. Byrne Justice Assistance (Byrne-JAG) and Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants. These programs are vital to law enforcement's continuing ability to protect communities throughout the nation…

…the COPS program funds critical measures to combat drug production and trafficking, gun trafficking, gang violence, and to hire school resource officers. The COPS program also makes possible hiring officers to perform intelligence, anti-terror, or homeland security duties and the recruitment of inactive military personnel to pursue the law enforcement profession…

Unfortunately, in recent years funding for these critical programs has been slashed…

The IACP strongly believes that, by restoring funding for these critical programs, Congress will significantly strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to combat crime and violence in our communities.
[Letter to Chairman Obey, 1/21/09]

The economic crisis is impacting our nation's safety here at home. According to a recent survey of police and sheriff's departments across the country, cities struggling with shrinking budgets are cutting back on law enforcement expenses - including implementing hiring freezes, reducing or eliminating technology updates and cutting overtime.  

“We have been furloughing each and every police officer on our department including myself. We work 36 hours a week now, which equates to a 10 percent reduction in pay. And it also equates to a 10 percent reduction in resources on the street. We have 10 percent less manpower on the streets of Atlanta, and that's broken down 24 hours, seven days a week.”
-- Atlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington [1/27/09]

“We've already cut our overtime expenditures in half in the last three months. So already, we're seeing a reduction in the number of officers that are out there on the street, simply to try to stave off layoffs. We're doing everything that we can within our budget to stay away from layoffs, but we don't know if we're going to be able to do that.”
-- Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis [1/27/09]

The Recovery Plan makes critical investments in law enforcement programs designed to help make our streets, schools, and homes safer.

Today, the House will vote on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, working from priorities shared with President Barack Obama.  

A staggering 2.6 million American jobs were lost in the last year of the Bush Administration -- the culmination of a failed economic approach -- one that also doubled our national debt in eight short years.  We need a New Direction.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will:
o    create and save 3 to 4 million jobs, rebuilding America, making us more globally competitive and energy independent, and transforming our economy for long-term growth.
o    give 95 percent of Americans an immediate tax cut.
o    invest quickly into the economy

The Recovery Plan has unprecedented accountability measures built in--providing strong oversight, an historic degree of public transparency, and including no earmarks.