Dear Chairmen Shaheen and Cartwright and Ranking Members Moran and Aderholt,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to thank you for your support for law enforcement, the Edward R. Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne-JAG) program, and the law enforcement hiring program administered by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). The FOP respectfully requests that the Fiscal Year 2022 Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) appropriations bill restore the funding the programs have lost in recent years.
Funding for the Byrne-JAG program has been reduced by one-third since FY2010. We believe that any additional reduction in funds will mean that law enforcement agencies will no longer be able to combat the rise of violent crime, stem the tide of the opioid epidemic, and safely protect our communities. Similarly, an alarming number of law enforcement agencies are understaffed without enough officers on the street to deter and reduce crime. These revenue shortfalls and staffing declines have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, where our officers have been on the frontlines putting the health and safety of themselves and their families at risk since the beginning.
The Byrne-JAG program and the COPS hiring program are the foundation of our national strategy to reduce crime. Together, these programs employ men and women in law enforcement and create innovative approaches to improve public safety. Indeed, one of the most advantageous components of Byrne-JAG grants is their flexibility to be used in State and local communities where they can have the most impact. The program is also critical to keeping task forces on the trafficking of drugs, people, and guns intact allowing Federal, State, and local law enforcement to pool their resources in order to disrupt and end these organized criminals.
We appreciate your consideration of our request and, on behalf of the 356,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, we thank you for your past support. If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in our Washington office.