Chiefs, Expert Tell Senators: People Are Dying, Restore Aid


Gang and gun violence may rise if federal aid for local law enforcement and crime prevention programs declines, criminologist James Alan Fox of Northeastern University told the Senate Democratic Policy Committee yesterday. The panel held a hearing in Washington, D.C., on “Reduced Federal Funding for Law Enforcement and the Rise in Violent Crime.” Fox accused President George W. Bush of “playing politics with policing, and jeopardizing us all in the process.” Bush is seeking funding cuts in the Community Oriented Policing Services program (COPS) and other federal anticrime spending. Fox argued that “compounding the political hypocrisy is the fact that the federal government is asking local police agencies to do more, not less, in the face of a terrorist threat.”

National Sheriffs’ Association President Ted Kamatchus of Marshall County, Iowa noted that as federal anticrime spending increased during the 1990s, crime rates dropped. Backers of such spending “seem to have walked away as if the problem could never happen again,” said Kamatchus, who said sheriffs’ face a “dire situation” as violent crime increases nationally. Other witnesses, who made similar points, were Deputy Milwaukee Police Chief Brian O’Keefe, Minneapolis Police Chief Timothy Dolan, and Flint, MI, Police Chief Gary Hagler. Hagler said, “People are dying in the city of Flint. I ask your support in restoring funding to programs that support law enforcement jobs and equipment.”


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