Comments On Funding For Law Enforcement Efforts In The American Recovery And Reinvestment Act Of 2009

The Senate Appropriations Committee has scheduled a meeting for Tuesday, January 27, 2009, to consider the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), a senior member of the Appropriations Committee and the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, proposed including funding for critical federal grant programs to assist state and local law enforcement in combating crime in our neighborhoods and increase assistance for crime victims.  The Appropriations Committee Friday released highlights of the stimulus plan, which includes almost $4 billion for state and local law enforcement. 

Leahy said, “There is no question that preserving the ability of state and local law enforcement to protect our communities and safeguard our streets benefits us all.  In an economic downturn, these are often the first budgets to be slashed.  I am pleased that the stimulus package reflects a commitment to helping our police officers and law enforcement officials maintain safety and security, and in doing so, preserve safer environments for our local economies to thrive.  Promoting safety on our streets isn’t a special interest; it’s in the public’s interest.”

Earlier this month, Leahy chaired a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee to examine how best to help state and local law enforcement officers and agencies during the deepening economic downturn.  Police Chief Michael Schirling from Burlington, Vermont, and Commissioner Charles Ramsey of Philadelphia both discussed how important federal grant programs, like the Community Orienting Policing Services grant program and the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program help state and local law enforcement keep police officers employed and on the streets, protecting our neighborhoods and ensuring the economic vitality of our communities.  Vice President Biden has long been a strong proponent of community oriented policing.  Larry Summers, Director of the President’s National Economic Council, voiced strong support for the law enforcement assistance component of the stimulus over the weekend.

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