Fourteen national organizations have asked Congressional budget leaders for more federal spending to help states and localities fight crime. The groups say funding for Byrne justice assistance grants should be raised to $1.1 billion for a variety of antidrug, gun trafficking, and gang projects, among others. They say Byrne funding has “fallen dramatically” since 2002. The White House yeserday said wants to reconstitute state and local anticrime funding into three new competitive discretionary grant programs, says the National Criminal Justice Association, which represents states. One is a new $200 million Violent Crime Reduction Partnership Initiative to help communities via multi-jurisdictional partnerships. The others are a new Byrne Public Safety and Protection Program, and a Child Safety and Juvenile Justice Program. The criminal jusice association notes that because both houses of Congress are now controlled by Democrats, many consider the President’s budget “dead on arrival.” Last week, Senate Democrats called on the administration to “make first responders and local policing a priority.”
The Bush administration’s 2008 budget proposal would “eliminate or severely cut funding for proven, highly successful programs,” the community-oriented policing (COPS) program, complains the International Association of Chiefs of Police. IACP estimates the proposed cut at $1.7 billion, or 75 percent. The police chiefs assert that the programs the White House would like to reduce “were instrumental in achieving the dramatic reduction in national crime rates that we witnessed in last decade.” The IACP vows to ask Congress for “full funding” of the anticrime programs.