The final economic stimulus bill passed by the Senate on February 6 included $3.5 billion for anticrime programs, highlighted by $1 billion to hire 13,000 local police officers. That was roughly comparable to the amount enacted by the House, meaning that the increased appropriations were virtually certain to be passed. The Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program that aids states and localities, cut sharply by Congress in December 2007, now will get a new infusion of funds.
Chuck Wexler of the Police Executive Research Forum told the New York Times that “from an economic stimulus standpoint, if you can use new police to stabilize a neighborhood, consolidate crime-reduction gains, then you can have a considerable impact on the local economy.” Unlike the Clinton administration program, which provided 75 percent of salaries for officers, the current proposal would pay their full salaries. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) said that under the old program, “localities like New York and Chicago were hamstrung in using the funds because they had difficulty in coming up with the 25 percent match.”