The House yesterday authorized spending more than $6 billion over the next five years to help local police departments hire and retain 50,000 officers, reports the Associated Press. The vote signals a potential expansion of the a Clinton-era community policing program (COPS) that struggled to survive under the Bush administration. The House would authorize $1.25 billion a year to hire 10,000 beat cops each year, $350 million for technology grants and $200 million for community prosecutors in areas of high crime.
Republicans argued that anticrime spending has been excessive and that COPS played only a small role in the drop in crime in the 1990s. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) took issue with boosting money for the program by 72 percent when the rates of violent and property crimes were showing declines. “Why are we increasing spending on a law enforcement program that has mixed results,” he asked. “This is not a good return on investment.”