Competition for the $1 billion in stimulus money for the federal community-oriented policing program (COPS) has been intense, reports the Associated Press. The Justice Department has received grant requests from local police departments totaling $8.4 billion. ” The program is incredibly important,” said Andrea Mournighan of the National Association of Police Organizations. Crime goes up when the economy goes bad, she said, and “not enough officers on the street means there is no one there to deter crime.”
Milwaukee police chief Edward Flynn said that while the politics has centered mostly on the hiring program, “the great value of the COPS program was on the educational side.” The money for new officers was the hook, he said, but the notion of close engagement with neighbors “was a critical development in the evolution of policing in American cities,” helping drive down crime while boosting community trust.