The U.S. Conference of Mayors, Major Cities Chiefs Association, and Police Executive Research Forum are protesting the decision of U.S. House Republican appropriators to cut funding for federal COPS hiring grants and Byrne Justice Assistance grants program for the federal fiscal year starting Otober 1. “At a time when cities are being forced to lay off police officers, these cuts to the federal government's primary source of support for local police departments are unconscionable,” said Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter of the mayors conference and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, president of both police organizations, in a letter to key appropriations committee members of both parties.
In a plan released Wednesday, the House committee overseeing the Justice Department budget proposed to eliminate the COPS program and cut Byrne JAG funds about 16 percent. “It is ironic that these cuts are proposed at the same time that some cities are being forced to lay off police officers to balance their budgets,” Nutter and Ramsey said. “COPS grants can be used to avoid having to layoff officers and to rehire those already laid off. Byrne grants provide flexible funds to police departments which they can use to meet their greatest needs. Public safety is the last thing we should be putting on the chopping block. The proposed cuts to the federal government's primary source of support for local police departments are untimely and ill advised, and a threat to public safety.”