The Obama administration is reviving a controversial Clinton-era police hiring program, and the lack of restrictions on the money has critics warning of wasteful spending, reports USA Today. The stimulus package loosens the old rules for the program by dropping a provision that required police agencies to pay millions in local dollars to tap federal hiring grants. It gives police agencies nearly unfettered access to $1 billion over three years for hiring up to 6,000 officers as many departments face cuts.
That money is part of an overall effort, unveiled in Obama’s budget proposal Thursday, to fund 50,000 new police officers. The budget does not specify a timeframe or cost, and Justice Department documents say rules for the broader program will be released later. Some criminal justice analysts say the rules in the stimulus package don’t require enough commitment from local agencies and that the program offers a potentially false promise that more police lead to less crime. “No matching funds mean no accountability,” said one expert.