Letter to Representatives Weiner, Scott, and Keller in support of H.R. 1700

04/05/2007

5 April 2007

The Honorable Anthony Weiner, Robert Scott, and Ric Keller
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Representatives Weiner, Keller, and Scott,

I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our strong support for H.R 1700, the "COPS Improvements Act of 2007."

In 1994, Congress established the Office for Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and, in the decade which followed, our nation experienced a significant drop in crime rates. A large part of this success was the nation's commitment to community oriented policing, particularly its hiring component which helped get more officers on the beat. This approach was validated by a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study of the COPS program, which stated that: "COPS-funded increases in sworn officers per capita were associated with declines in the rates of total index crimes, violent crimes, and property crime."

Now, after years of historically low crime rates, we are seeing a disturbing new trend—a jump in violent crimes in many of our nation's large and medium-sized cities. Just as the decrease in crime was directly related to an increased focus on hiring law enforcement officers at the State and local level, the more recent increase in certain crimes can be directly related to the loss of Federal funds supporting State and local law enforcement. The legislation you have introduced will reinvigorate the COPS program—a program we all know to be effective—and the FOP is proud to support your effort.

Your bill will establish the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services as a distinct entity within the U.S. Department of Justice and will reauthorize hiring programs for three specific purposes—community policing officers, local counterterrorism officers, and school resource officers. The bill also reauthorizes funds for technology grants and community prosecutors.

The COPS program and the community policing approach are and should continue to be an important part of our national crime-fighting strategy. The Fraternal Order of Police is proud to support this legislation and your efforts to get it passed. If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco at my Washington office.

Sincerely,

Chuck Canterbury
National President