So far, presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain are not saying much about crime. Jack Parlon, president of the Detectives Benevolent Society, told the Boston Herald: “It's disconcerting. I'm a little disappointed in both candidates.” Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis said he thinks Obama will address the huge cuts in federal funding for police, but he's not sure where McCain stands. There is wide agreement – from the unions to the top brass – that the federal government is giving local police departments the short shrift.
U.S. Department of Justice grants – used by departments to combat violent crime and drugs – have dwindled over the past decade into what amounts to pocket change for Boston. “It's been slowly strangled,” Davis said of federal aid to his department. Last month, the Major Cities Chiefs Association slammed the Bush administration for proposing to slash $2.7 billion in police-assistance programs on top of deep cuts over the past decade. Obama's plan to combat violence on the home front is found on his Web site under a section called “urban policy.” McCain's most extensive comments on local public safety came in an interview with the Fraternal Order of Police in June. McCain favors cities and towns competing for grants that would fund local efforts to fight crime. He said federal funding for police needs to be related to homeland security.