Senate Committee Vote Could Save COPS Agency From Elimination


The federal Community Oriented Policing Services program, whose existence was threatened by the House Appropriations Committee, may be saved by the Senate. The Senate subcommitee that handles the Justice Department budget voted on Wednesday to provide $232 million for COPS grants in the year beginning October 1, including $200 million to hire or retain 1,500 police on the beat. The committee action doesn’t guarantee that amount, but it could forestall closing the COPS agency entirely.

The committee bill includes a 17 percent cut for grants to local and state law enforcement and crime victims. The two largest agencies within the Justice Department fared reasonably well considering the uncertain federal budget situation overall. The measure provides $6.6 billion for the Bureau of Prisons, $307 million above the current level, and the FBI would get $7.8 billion, $34 million below the current level. These sums all would have to be negotiated with the House and might be subject to further change depending on the outcome of adjustments necessary to comply with the new legislation on the national debt ceiling.

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