House Passes Larsen Appropriations to Help Skagit, Snohomish, Whatcom Cops Fight Crime</A

Jul 26, 2007


Washington, D.C. - U.S. Representative Rick Larsen (WA-02) announced today that he has secured over $1 million to help Washington state law enforcement fight crime and combat the meth epidemic. The Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2008 includes Larsen appropriations for the Washington State Methamphetamine Initiative, the Bellingham Police Department, the Skagit County Drug Enforcement Unit and the Sultan Police Department.  The bill passed the House today by a vote of 281-142. The House and Senate must agree on a final version before the President can sign it into law.

“As co-chair of the House Meth Caucus, I have seen first-hand the devastating impact of meth addiction on our families and communities in Northwest Washington,” said Larsen. “It is critical that we give local communities and law enforcement the tools they need to fight this epidemic and keep us safe.”

Larsen secured the following funding for Washington state in the bill, HR 3093:

$950,000 for the Washington State Methamphetamine Initiative: With federal support, the Washington State Methamphetamine Initiative has had a profound impact on meth abuse and crime in Washington state and set an example for the rest of the nation. This funding would help the Initiative continue their efforts to help investigate meth labs and provide intelligence and forensic support, family-based treatment, and assistance to public health and environmental agencies.  It would also help the Initiative target new threats, including the growth in meth trafficking from super labs in Mexico, Canada and other countries.  

$200,000 for the Bellingham Police Department: The Bellingham Police Department’s current Emergency Response Tactical Operations Center vehicle (TOC) is over thirty-years-old and cannot transport the department’s response team and needed equipment at the same time. This funding would help the Bellingham Police Department purchase a new vehicle so they can respond to emergencies more efficiently.  It would also help them purchase new technology equipment to record crimes and produce forensically accurate evidence.

$50,000 for the Sultan Police Department Technology Improvement Program:
This funding would help the City of Sultan’s Police Department move forward with a technology improvement program to better protect the community. Sultan is situated on U.S. Highway 2 which brings 19,000 vehicles and large semi-trucks through the city each day. In 2005 alone, the department responded to 14,998 dispatched events and provided 1,200 backup assists to the Snohomish County Sheriff.  Sultan has also seen a significant increase in property crime rates, adding to the need for improved technology.

$50,000 for the Skagit County, Washington Drug Enforcement Unit:
Estimates show that up to 60% of crime in Skagit County is methamphetamine-related.  This funding would provide the unit with needed tools to bust meth labs and drug trafficking rings.  These tools would include digital cameras for use in drug investigations and a new server to store video surveillance from investigations. 

The House funding bill also includes the following important provisions:

COPS program: This bill rejects the President’s proposal to slash the COPS program by 94 percent and instead provides $725 million, $183 million above Fiscal Year 2007 levels.  This includes $100 million for the COPS hiring program, $175 million for expanding DNA analysis and forensic crime lab capacity and $85 million for beefing up enforcement in “meth hot spots,” places where meth is a serious problem.   

Byrne Justice Assistance Grants: The President’s budget proposed eliminating Byrne Justice Assistance Grants.  The bill rejects this elimination and instead provides $600 million for these grants, which provide local jurisdictions with resources for initiatives as diverse as law enforcement, prevention and education, and drug treatment.

Drug courts: This bill restores $40 million in funding for the successful Drug Courts Discretionary Grant Program that was zeroed out in the President’s proposed budget. Larsen fought to restore this funding to help prevent meth addicts and others from re-offending. In Washington state, Snohomish County's drug court has a 94 percent success rate, saving lives and saving taxpayers the cost of further incarcerations.