- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 18, 2004

Congressional efforts to reduce federal funding for two state and local law-enforcement assistance programs will have a “negative impact” on police agencies nationwide, says the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

The programs facing cuts under the pending Omnibus Appropriations legislation are the Community Oriented Policing Services program, also known as the COPS program, and the Local Law Enforcement Block Grant program, which assists state and local police with grants for law-enforcement programs.

“It is the IACP’s belief that at this crucial time in our history, we cannot afford to reduce the effectiveness of our nation’s state and local law enforcement agencies by cutting vital federal assistance programs,” said IACP President Joseph Polisar in a letter to Senate members.

“Over the last decade, these programs have strengthened the core capabilities of law enforcement agencies and greatly improved their crime-fighting efforts,” said Chief Polisar, who leads the Garden Grove, Calif., Police Department. “Without the funds provided by these programs, many law-enforcement agencies would be unable to maintain their current level of effectiveness.”

Under the provisions of the omnibus legislation, funding levels for the two programs would be reduced significantly, IACP spokesman Gene Voegtlin said. The COPS program was funded at $977 million in fiscal 2003 and is proposed to get $756 million this year, while the block grant program drops from $400 million to $225 million, he said.

In his letter, Chief Polisar said the proposed cuts would impair significantly the ability of state and local law-enforcement agencies to fulfill the “critical role of law enforcement” at a time of increased security concerns because of terrorist threats.

The IACP is the world’s oldest and largest association of law-enforcement executives, with more than 19,000 members in 90 countries.

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