The economic stimulus bill being considered by Congress would provide $4 billion to support state and local law enforcement, including $3 billion for the Byrne Justice Assistance formula grants to support law enforcement equipment and operating costs, and $1 billion for the COPS hiring grant program to hire about 13,000 new police officers for three years, says House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dave Obey (D-WI) in announcing the House version of the bill today.
The grantee is responsible for at least 25% in matching funds and must commit to use their own funds to keep the officer on board in the fourth year. It was not immediately clear whether the House bill would provide funds for criminal justice programs other than strictly law enforcement. New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told the New York Daily News he would welcome the 900 extra cops that could come from the stimulus package. New York had 40,800 officers in 2001, but fell to 35,950 by the end of last year. The department may face more budget cuts amid the city’s fiscal crisis. Criminal justice advocates have complained about major cuts by Congress in late 2007 from the Byrne JAG program, which supports other anticrime projects in states and localities. The annual appropriation was reduced from $520 million to $170 million.