Pascrell, Reichert Lead
135 Members of Congress
In Support of COPS Office

By on February 7, 2018

The letter asks President Trump to provide robust financial support for COPS Office in budget proposal

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Representatives Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) and Dave Reichert (R-WA), co-chairs of the House Law Enforcement Caucus, led a bipartisan letter signed by 133 colleagues calling on President Donald Trump to provide robust support for the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) in the Fiscal Year 2019 Budget. Additionally, the letter urges the Trump Administration to ensure the COPS Office remains an independent agency within the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) so that it may continue to support community policing efforts that build trust and mutual respect between law enforcement officers and communities.

“For over two decades, the COPS Office and its corresponding programs have provided invaluable resources and technical assistance to state, local, territorial, and tribal law enforcement agencies to advance community policing efforts that have reduced crime and made towns and cities across America safer,” the members wrote in the letter. “These additional resources and assistance have helped implement initiatives to develop and test innovative policing strategies and provide training to community members, local government leaders, and all levels of law enforcement.”

The letter was endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, National Sheriffs Association, Major County Sheriffs’ Association, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Click here to view the full letter.

Last year, Reps. Pascrell and Reichert sent a letter to President Trump outlining the importance of the COPS Office. The letter highlighted the critical role the COPS Office serves to support the law enforcement community and improving community policing efforts across the country to keep neighborhoods safe. The letter also raised concerns about any legislative or budget proposals that would jeopardize the work of the COPS Office.

COPS Office Background

Since its inception, the COPS Office has placed more than 130,000 sworn law enforcement officers in communities across the country by providing grants for the hiring of officers through the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program. These grants provide federal resources to communities with public safety needs that may lack the funds to hire law enforcement officers. Additionally, the COPS Office is responsible for implementing legislation authored and co-sponsored by Reps. Pascrell and Reichert. Specifically, the COPS Office oversees implementation the Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act (Public Law: 114-12), which establishes a nationwide Blue Alert communications system to help disseminate information on serious injury or death of a law enforcement officer in the line of duty, an officer who is missing in connection with the officer’s official duties, or an imminent and credible threat that an individual intends to cause the serious injury or death of a law enforcement officer. Finally, the COPS Office is responsible for overseeing implementation of the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act (Public Law: 115-113), which allows the COPS Office to make grants available to initiate peer mentoring pilot programs and develop training to meet law enforcement mental health needs.

 

Text of the bipartisan letter follows:

 

February 5, 2017
President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

In advance of your Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Budget, we write in strong support of robust funding for the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) within the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and the programs the office administers on behalf of our nation’s law enforcement officers. Additionally, it is imperative the COPS Office remains an independent agency within the DOJ so that it may continue to support community policing efforts that build trust and mutual respect between law enforcement officers and communities.

For over two decades, the COPS Office and its corresponding programs have provided invaluable resources and technical assistance to state, local, territorial, and tribal law enforcement agencies to advance community policing efforts that have reduced crime and made towns and cities across America safer. These additional resources and assistance have helped implement initiatives to develop and test innovative policing strategies and provide training to community members, local government leaders, and all levels of law enforcement.

One of the most critical programs the COPS Office oversees is the Community Oriented Policing Services Hiring (COPS Hiring) Program which provides struggling communities with necessary funding to address their personnel needs to protect their citizens. Since its inception, the COPS Hiring program has placed more than 130,000 officers in communities across the United States to advance policing and crime prevention efforts. Ensuring communities have the needed bodies on the street patrolling neighborhoods bolsters their ability to effectively engage with their communities and proactively respond to individual community needs, instead of running from one crime to the next.

The COPS Office is also responsible for implementing legislation to improve the safety of law enforcement officers across our nation. For instance, the COPS Office is responsible for overseeing implementation of the Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act (Public Law: 114-12). This law establishes a nationwide Blue Alert communications system to help disseminate information on serious injury or death of a law enforcement officer in the line of duty, an officer who is missing in connection with the officer’s official duties, or an imminent and credible threat that an individual intends to cause the serious injury or death of a law enforcement officer.

Additionally, the COPS Office is responsible for overseeing implementation of the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act (Public Law: 115-113), which was recently passed into law. This law will help law enforcement agencies create and improve mental health services for law enforcement officers by allowing the COPS Office to make grants available to initiate peer mentoring pilot programs, develop training for mental health providers specific to law enforcement mental health needs, and support law enforcement officers by studying the effectiveness of crisis hotlines and annual mental health checks.

These are just some examples of the responsibilities Congress has tasked the COPS Office with carrying out as a vital component of our nation’s homeland security. As the federal government continues to ask local cops to do more, we have a responsibility to ensure they have the necessary tools and resources. That is why we were encouraged by your Administration’s FY18 budget request for the COPS Office that included an increase in funding. In your FY19 budget request we hope to again see a strong commitment to the COPS Office because it remains one of the best ways to ensure law enforcement has the resources it needs.

Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter. We look forward to working with your Administration to ensure the COPS Office remains an independent agency within DOJ with robust funding to support community policing efforts across the country.

Sincerely,

Signatories:

Bill Pascrell, Jr.
Dave Reichert
Alma Adams
Nanette Diaz Barragán
Karen Bass
Donald S. Beyer, Jr.
Sanford D. Bishop, Jr.
Earl Blumenauer
Lisa Blunt Rochester
Madeleine Z. Bordallo
Brendan Boyle
Julia Brownley
Cheri Bustos
Michael Capuano
Salud O. Carbajal
André Carson
Judy Chu
David N. Cicilline
Steve Cohen
Barbara Comstock
J. Luis Correa
Jim Costa
Joe Courtney
Elijah E. Cummings
Peter DeFazio
Diana DeGette
John K. Delaney
Rosa L. DeLauro
Val Butler Demings
Mark DeSaulnier
Theodore Deutch
Debbie Dingell
Mike Doyle
Keith Ellison
Anna G. Eshoo
Adriano Espaillat
Lois Frankel
Marcia l. Fudge
John Garamendi
Jimmy Gomez
Vicente Gonzalez
Josh Gottheimer
Gene Green
Raúl M. Grijalva
Colleen Hanabusa
Alcee L. Hastings|
Denny Heck
Jaime Herrera Beutler
Brian Higgins
Sheila Jackson Lee
Pramila Jayapal
Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr.
Marcy Kaptur
William R. Keating
Robin Kelly
Joseph P. Kennedy III
Ro Khanna
Dan Kildee
Derek Kilmer
Ron Kind
Peter T. King
Ann McLane Kuster
Leonard Lance
James Langevin
Rick Larsen
John B. Larson
Brenda L. Lawrence
Al Lawson
Barbara Lee
Sander Levin
Daniel W. Lipinski
Frank A. Lobiondo
Dave Loebsack
Zoe Lofgren
Alan Lowenthal
Ben Ray Lujan
Michelle Lujan Grisham
Stephen Lynch
Tom MacArthur
Carolyn Maloney
Sean Patrick Maloney
Doris Matsui
Betty Mccollum
A. Donald McEachin
James P. McGovern
David McKinley
Jerry McNerney
Seth Moulton
Stephanie Murphy
Jerrold Nadler
Grace F. Napolitano
Richard Neal
Rick Nolan
Donald Norcross
Eleanor Holmes Norton
Tom O’Halleran
Frank Pallone, Jr.
Jimmy Panetta
Donald Payne, Jr.
Scott H. Peters
Collin Peterson
Mark Pocan
David Price
Mike Quigley
Jamie Raskin
Kathleen M. Rice
Jacky Rosen
Lucille Roybal-Allard
Raul Ruiz
Tim Ryan
Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan
Linda Sánchez
Jan Schakowsky
David Scott
Carol Shea-Porter
Brad Sherman
Kyrsten Sinema
Albio Sires
Louise Slaughter
Lloyd Smucker
Darren Soto
Jackie Speier
Eric Swalwell
Mark Takano
Mike Thompson
Dina Titus
Norma J. Torres
Marc Veasey
Nydia M. Velázquez
Tim Walz
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Peter Welch
Frederica Wilson
John Yarmuth
Don Young