Larsen Votes to Hire 50,000 More Cops to Cut Crime and Keep Our Communities Safe</A

May 15, 2007


Washington, D.C. - On the House floor today, U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) urged his colleagues to reauthorize the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program and provide resources to hire an additional 50,000 police officers across the country over the next six years. The COPS Reauthorization Act of 2007 (H.R. 1700) passed the House by a vote of 381 to 34 and will now be sent to the Senate.

“Following 9/11, we have asked our state and local law enforcement agencies to not only protect communities from crime, but to protect our homeland,” said Larsen. “We cannot continue to put unfunded mandates on our local police forces and expect them to also provide protection from terrorism.”

The COPS program has enabled local law enforcement agencies to hire over 100,000 police officers nationwide between 1995 and 2005, including more than 1,950 additional law enforcement officers in Washington state.  According to a non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) study, the COPS program led to significantly reduced crime rates across the country during this ten-year period.

Unfortunately, over the last few years the Republican-led Congress cut funding for COPS hiring grants, reducing funding from more than $1 billion a year in the late 1990s to $198 million in 2003 and $10 million in 2005.  In 2006, the Republican-led Congress cut off funding for COPS hiring grants entirely.

“We must keep up the pressure on crime,” Larsen continued. “The COPS program helps our state and local law enforcement bust drug trafficking rings, take down domestic meth labs and keep our communities safe.”

The COPS Reauthorization Act of 2007 has been endorsed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Sheriffs Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, the National Association of Police Organizations, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the National League of Cities.