During his re-election campaign, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino blames the federal government for gutting a grant program that helped hire hundreds of Boston police officers, says the Boston Herald. “We were able to reach an all-time [crime] low several years ago. That's when the money came in from the federal government to put 500 additional police officers on the street. That doesn't exist anymore,” he said.
Officials who ran the federal COPS program respond that cities and towns were supposed to eventually pick up the tab. “I think it was pretty clear. They knew they had to pick up the salaries after the three-year period,” said Craig Uchida, who helped start COPS as a Justice Department assistant grants director from 1994 to 1997. Nicholas Gess, aanother former Justice Department official, agreed. “You had to have a plan,” he said. “Nobody who took the money was guaranteed it for more than three years.” The Herald reports that nevertheless, small and large departments across the nation are struggling with shortages that came after Washington cut off the money.