Pascrell, Rutherford Lead 160 Members of Congress in Support of Police Funding
Law enforcement chairs seek bigger Byrne JAG, COPS grants in FY2023 appropriations
Washington, DC, May 5, 2022
Tags: Public Safety
U.S. Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) and John Rutherford (R-FL-04), the co-chairmen of the House Law Enforcement Caucus, are leading a bipartisan group of 160 Democrats and Republicans requesting increased funding in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 appropriation bill for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) and the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) programs. The diverse ideological cross-section of members demonstrates strong support for these grants across the spectrum in Congress.
“The Byrne JAG and COPS programs are the cornerstone of our federal justice assistance programs. Together, these grants are critical to ensuring state and local law enforcement have the training, tools, and personnel necessary to serve their communities. Since their inception, Byrne JAG and COPS grants have enabled law enforcement agencies to better protect their communities and promote community policing initiatives that form vital bonds between officers and those they serve,” the members write the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies House Appropriations Subcommittee.
Background on the Byrne JAG Program
The Byrne JAG program allows states and local governments to support a broad range of activities to prevent and control crimes based on their own local needs and conditions. Grants can be used for state and local initiatives, technical assistance, training, personnel, equipment, supplies, contractual support and information systems for criminal justice for any one or more of the following areas:
1) law enforcement programs; 2) prosecution and court programs; 3) prevention and education programs; 4) corrections and community corrections programs; 5) drug treatment programs and 6) planning, evaluation and technology improvement programs.
Byrne JAG is a critical source of funding for community policing initiatives, including trainings for de-escalation, use of force, implicit bias, and duty to intervene.
Background on the COPS Hiring Program
The Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program is a competitive award program intended to reduce crime and advance public safety through community policing. The COPS Hiring Program provides funds directly to law enforcement agencies to hire new or rehire additional career law enforcement officers, thereby increasing their community policing capacity and crime prevention efforts.
Since its inception, the COPS Hiring Program has allocated more than $14 billion to place over 130,000 sworn law enforcement officers in communities across the country to help advance local community policing.
The full text of the members’ letter is provided below.
April 29, 2022
Dear Chairman Cartwright and Ranking Member Aderholt,
As you begin to craft the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) appropriation bill for Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23), we urge you to include increased funding for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) Program and the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program.
The Byrne JAG and COPS programs are the cornerstone of our federal justice assistance programs. Together, these grants are critical to ensuring state and local law enforcement have the training, tools, and personnel necessary to serve their communities. Since their inception, Byrne JAG and COPS grants have enabled law enforcement agencies to better protect their communities and promote community policing initiatives that form vital bonds between officers and those they serve.
The strength of the Byrne JAG program is in its broad impact across the criminal justice system. Byrne JAG funds are used in states and localities across the country for a variety of important initiatives, including improved tools and technologies, crime prevention and education, mental health and substance use disorder treatment, alternatives to incarceration, prosecution and indigent defense, crime victim services, recidivism reduction programs designed to stop the cycle of crime, and trainings to improve community policing efforts.
The COPS programs provide invaluable resources to hire community policing professionals, develop and test innovative policing strategies, and provide training to community members and local law enforcement. Since 1994, the COPS office has allocated more than $14 billion to local departments to help advance community policing. Increased funding is critical to ensuring that law enforcement has the resources necessary to continue these important community policing efforts that build bonds and make our communities safer.
These programs provide critical federal dollars to build upon successful crime reduction efforts and ensure officers maintain strong relationships with their communities. As many police departments across our nation continue to confront worsening gun violence, the importance of ensuring our federal policing grants are robustly funded is all the more crucial.
Support for the Byrne JAG and COPS programs is imperative to the safety of our communities and continued efforts to improve policing in our nation, yet funding for both programs have seen cuts over the past twelve years and must be restored to previous levels.
For these reasons, we respectfully request that you include increased funding for the Byrne JAG and COPS Hiring Programs in FY23.