Press Releases

Conyers Fights for Police Hiring Program and Proposes More Funding to Fight Crime in Cities Like Highland Park, Michigan

Washington, DC, February 29, 2012

Today at a Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security hearing on the U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services Office, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr (D-Mich) called on the Congress to fund the COPS Program for Fiscal Year 2013 at the level requested by President Obama.  The COPS Program has funded the hiring of more than 123,000 state and local police officers and sheriff’s deputies in communities across America since its enactment under the Clinton Administration.  During a time of local budget shortfalls, the COPS program has helped stem the tide of officer layoffs by state and local law enforcement agencies and helped address the jobs crisis facing the U.S. today.   

Studies have shown that the COPS program is a sound investment of taxpayer dollars.  A 2005 GAO Report found that for every dollar spent on COPS hiring per capita, there was a drop of 30 index crimes per 100,000 persons.  The program also provides resources to train police officers in community policing.  Community oriented policing helps law enforcement officers form vital partnerships with the local community, which stretches policing capabilities and improves the quality of policing services. 

Yesterday, Ranking Member Conyers introduced H.R. 4098, the “Shield Our Streets Act,” a bill intended to provide even more support for state and local law enforcement—particularly in areas facing high crime rates and budget shortfalls.

“Today, I call on the Congress to fund the COPS Program for Fiscal Year 2013 at the level requested by the President:  A total of $290 million, including $257 million for hiring more officers,” said Conyers.  “The COPS Program has previously enjoyed bipartisan support and should be above politics.  The COPS program has proven its value at reducing crime by putting more officers on the streets and providing additional training in effective community policing techniques.

“But the program has also done much to stem the loss of valuable police officers and jobs due to local budget shortfalls.  For example, last month Detroit faced the very real possibility of laying off more than 100 police officers at a time when the city needs those officers most.  Director Melekian at the COPS Office worked with the City of Detroit to help retain at least seventy-five of these officers.  His assistance in this matter is much appreciated.   

“The COPS program has been a successful nationwide effort to provide additional resources to police departments and improve policing techniques.  But I believe that some jurisdictions would benefit from an additional, targeted effort to build on this success.  That is why I introduced just yesterday, H.R. 4098, the ‘Shield Our Streets Act,’ a bill that targets more support for state and local law enforcement in areas facing high crime rates and budget shortfalls.  But this bill would provide not only funds for additional officers.  The bill would also allow local governments to apply for funding to pay for crime fighting equipment and programs they identify as priority needs.  For example in my district, the City of Highland Park needs assistance in paying for street lights which deter criminal activity on its streets.”