During the 1990s, President Clinton used the simple formula more cops equals less crime to explain the dramatic decline in crime, says the Los Angeles Times. His administration assisted local agencies in putting more than 100,000 additional police officers on the streets. Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE) wants to revive the Community Oriented Policing Services program (COPS), which the Bush administration has downgraded after federal audits found COPS misspending worth millions and after studies questioned the effectiveness of adding officers. Since 2004, much COPS funding has gone not to officer hiring but to such purposes as technology upgrades and methamphetamine abatement.
The administration wants $200 million for local violent-crime task forces, which traditionally rely on veteran officers, thus reducing the need to hire, train and deploy new officers, says the Justice Department. Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton said: “The federal government really needs to understand that they can’t have these one-time infusions. They have to be in it for the long haul.” U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) is trying to block the COPS revival; an aide said the program had become “a congressionally oriented pork spending program.” This month the Senate approved a Biden-proposed amendment to the 2008 Justice Department appropriations bill to add $110 million to COPS, enabling local agencies to hire about 1,400 police officers.