Sen. Boxer and Rep. Lee Work to Put More Police Officers on the Street
Introduce Bill to Direct “COPS” Funding to Oakland, Four Other Cities with High Violent Crime Rates
Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today introduced legislation to increase the number of police officers in cities with the highest violent crime rates, including Oakland, California. U.S. Representative Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) introduced the bill in the House of Representatives.
Senator Boxer said, “It is common sense – more police officers on our streets mean less crime. As cities with high violent crime rates deal with budget cuts, we must ensure that local law enforcement officials can fight crime and keep our communities safe. ”
“This is about public safety and violence prevention - and what we know is that community policing works,” said Congresswoman Lee. “Since its inception the COPS program has provided invaluable resources to my district and cities and counties across this country. It’s time we provide the necessary help for our local law enforcement agencies to hire officers to help reduce crime rates.”
The legislation would amend the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Act to direct funding to the five cities with the highest violent crime rates according the 2007 Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting statistics. Those cities are: Oakland, CA; Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Detroit, MI; and Memphis, TN. Specifically these cities would become eligible for hiring grants that could increase police forces by five to 10 percent by adding officers to patrol areas affected by violent crime. The bill also authorizes the Attorney General to provide increased hiring grants to an additional 15 cities based on other crime indicators such as gang activity, drug trafficking, unemployment and poverty.
Earlier this month, the Oakland City Council approved $13.4 million in cuts to the Oakland Police Department’s personnel budget, which would greatly impact a community that is still recovering from the tragic deaths of four Oakland police officers who died in the line of duty in March 2009.
The legislation is supported by Oakland Mayor Ronald V. Dellums, Acting Oakland Police Chief Howard A. Jordan, the Oakland Police Officers Association and the Peace Officers Research Association of California.
U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin (both D-MI) are original cosponsors of this legislation.