- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The International Association of the Chiefs of Police is urging Congress to step up its support for law-enforcement agencies after what it calls “years of deep budget cuts and a disturbing rise in crime rates.”

“The FBI’s crime report … serves as a stark reminder of what happens when law-enforcement agencies are stretched too thin: crime rates rise,” said Joseph Carter, chief of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Transit Police Department and president of the IACP.

“We are hopeful that the 110th Congress will take our suggestions to heart and not only completely fund important programs, but also establish new programs and enhance others that will help state, local and tribal law enforcement keep our homeland and hometowns safe,” Chief Carter said.

If law-enforcement authorities are to be successful in their efforts to protect the public from “both crime and the menace of terrorism,” he said, they “must receive the tools and resources they need.” He said the IACP thinks Congress must:

• Fully fund the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program at $1.1 billion, the Community Oriented Policing Service program at $1.05 billion, and the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program at $500 million.

• Promote information and intelligence-sharing, establish a National Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice, and enhance police recruitment and retention.

• Reform the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, reinstate the assault-weapons ban and establish a certified officers clearinghouse.

“The IACP is hopeful the 110th Congress will help law-enforcement agencies reverse this dangerous trend by implementing these innovative solutions,” Chief Carter said.

He said the IACP is “very concerned” that the debate over funding for the various law-enforcement and homeland security assistance programs has become increasingly partisan during the past several years and that the issue is too important “to the safety of our communities and our nation to allow political differences to delay or reduce funding.”

On Tuesday, the FBI reported that violent crime nationwide increased by 3.7 percent in the first six months of this year, continuing a trend that began in 2005. Last year, the number of violent crimes increased by 2.5 percent, the largest gain in 15 years, and the Justice Department pledged to find out why the crime numbers were continuing to increase.

The FBI’s Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report, based on statistics submitted by 11,535 law-enforcement agencies nationwide, showed increases in murders (up 1.4 percent), robberies (up 9.7 percent) and aggravated assaults (up 1.2 percent) over the same period in 2005.

According to the FBI report, the largest increases in the reported number of violent crimes, 12.8 percent, occurred in small cities with populations of 10,000 to 24,999, while cities with populations of 500,000 to 999,999 had the most marked increase in reported murder offenses, up 8.4 percent.

Founded in 1893, the IACP is the world’s oldest and largest association of law-enforcement executives with more than 20,000 members in nearly 100 countries.

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