Congressman Bill Pascrell

Representing the 9th District of NEW JERSEY

COPS Improvements Act of 2009

Apr 22, 2009
Floor Speech


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   Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 1139, the COPS Improvements Act of 2009. I want to thank my colleague Mr. Weiner, who understands the significance, the history, the data, and even the science of the success of this bill and this law.

   Mr. Speaker, after September 11th, as we as a Nation, as a Congress, made a new commitment to homeland security protecting our communities, the fact is that for years under the Republican-led Congress, cops hiring grants were gutted for more than $1 billion a year in the late 1990s to only $10 million in fiscal year 2005 and then zeroed out, zeroed out. Not only do they want them to be outgunned, Mr. Weiner; they want them to be outfunded. That's what they want. They want to take pictures with cops, pat them on the back, and not support them.

   As a longtime member of the Homeland Security Committee, I have always believed strongly that real homeland security begins in our streets, in our communities, and that means funding for our cops. The whole purpose of the COPS program was to provide community officers to be trained in the streets. Read the legislation. When President Clinton created the COPS program in 1994 with the goal of putting 100,000 new officers out on the streets, it was met with some skepticism, but today it's clear that this program helped turn the tide against crime. In fact, the GAO isolated the effect of the COPS program and estimated that there was a 2.5 percent decline in the violent crime rate between 1993 and 2000 because of this program alone. When you think about it, that's tens of thousands of violent crimes that weren't committed simply because we did the right thing and provided our officers with more support on the streets and the proper training.

   So I stand here on behalf of the police officers of this country and I stand here on behalf of those folks who work in prosecutors' offices all across America. We're going to help you. We are going to make sure you have assistance and resources to do the job.

   So three times the current amount and it comes at a time when our States and municipalities need it most. In my district alone, 324 police officers on the streets because of these grants.

   I urge all my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this vital bill and pass this legislation.