A day after Attorney General John Ashcroft told the nation’s largest association of law enforcement executives that the Bush administration had made the nation more secure from terrorist attacks and violent criminals, the group lashed back at the White House on Tuesday. The International Association of Chiefs of Police said that cuts by the administration in federal aid to local police agencies have left the nation more vulnerable than ever to public safety threats, reports USA Today. The 20,000-member group also said in a statement that new anti- terrorism duties for local cops – which have come as state and local budgets have declined and historically low crime rates have crept upward – have pushed police agencies to “the breaking point.”
Crime & Justice News reported Tuesday that Ashcroft had touted his accomplishments in the speech Monday at the IACP convention in Los Angeles. His remarks were politely received. However, IACP President Joseph Polisar, the police chief in Garden Grove, Calif., said Tuesday that hundreds of police officer jobs have been lost across the nation during the past four years. And proposed cuts in federal aid in the 2005 budget could reach almost $1 billion, threatening hundreds more, the chief said.