COPS Survives; Many Federal Justice Programs Cut


The federal Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program will mostly survive for the current fiscal year, but other federal law enforcement aid programs will not fare so well.

Congress is yet to agree on an appropriations bill that covers the Justice Department, but details have emerged on agreements among conferees from the Senate and House on criminal justice programs.

The COPS program, which started during the administration of Bill Clinton with the aim of hiring local community policing officers by the hundreds of thousands, had a budget of about $929 million last year. The White House proposed to cut it drastically, to about $164 million, and the House voted to zero out police hiring entirely.

Under the compromise, however, COPS is likely to get $756 million, including $120 million in police hiring.

In general, justice-aid programs and many other line items in the federal budget are taking a hit. Among details reported by the National Criminal Justice Association:

* “Juvenile Accountability” block grants, a program initiated by congressional Republicans to crack down on juvenile crime, will be slashed from $250 million in 2001 and 2002 to just $60 million this year.

* Funds to aid drug treatment in state prisons is being zeroed out after getting more than $60 million in recent years.

* Funds for crime research, which neared $70 million in 2001, will be trimmed to $48 million this year.

* One winner is helping reduce the backlog in DNA analyses by crime labs, which enjoys bipartisan support. The current $41 million annual appropriatoin will be increased to $100 million.

* Also due for an increase is “interoperable communications technology,” expected to rise to $85 million from the current $20 million.


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