IACP: Local Police Agencies “Stretched To The Limit”


Police resources in the U.S. are “stretched to the limit,” vice President Russell Laine of the International Association of Chiefs of Police told a Senate subcommittee on Wednesday. Laine, police chief in Algonquin, Il., near Chicago, said “We have not been able to add the additional officers that would allow us to combat [] criminals aggressively.” He said increases in violent crime, drug sales, and gang activity in some parts of the nation have occurred at the same time as an 85 percent decline over six years in federal funding to aid state and local criminal justice, particularly the federal community oriented policing (COPS) program. Committee chairman Joseph Biden (D-DE) noted that the Bush administration has “re-directed 1,000 FBI agents from crime to counterterrorism and, as a result, violent crime investigations by the FBI are down by 60 percent.” The senator warned that, “We cannot focus on terrorism at the expense of fighting crime – we need to do both.”

Mark Epley, the U.S. Justice Department official overseeing the federal aid program, said national crime data show “increases locally in a number of communities,” not including the largest cities. “The data do not identify any single reason for the observed increases in cities experiencing an upward trend,” he told the committee. Epley plugged for President Bush’s request of $200 million for a Violent Crimes Reduction Initiative, which involves forming multi-jurisdictional law enforcement partnerships. He also pledged that Justice would “target funding to respond to local crime surges.”

Link: http://judiciary.senate.gov/hearing.cfm?id=2719

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