Homeland security or safe streets? If you ask most Americans what’s more important, they would probably answer both, says the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in an editorial. The Bush administration apparently doesn’t see it that way or it, with the help of some in Congress, wouldn’t have systematically slashed federal funds for local police, prosecutors, and criminal justice programs in the past few years while beefing up the Department of Homeland Security. Congress now must consider restoring this vital funding for criminal justice programs, says the newspaper.
Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn said that when he directed the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety starting in 2003, he saw the administration cut criminal justice and increase Homeland Security every year “as though we’re going to be safer by defunding police and prosecutors. On the federal level, we have been engaged in a series of really wrongheaded funding decisions when it comes to drawing a distinction between homeland security and public safety. It’s an absurd distinction. Everything that police and fire departments do as part of their core mission is homeland security.” Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) is joining others in an attempt to restore the funds.