Leahy Panel To Hear Testimony From Burlington Police Chief

WASHINGTON (Monday, Jan. 5, 2009)- Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has invited Burlington Police Chief Michael E. Schirling to testify at a hearing Jan. 8 on Capitol Hill to examine how federal grant programs strengthen local law enforcement efforts to combat crime.

Leahy has proposed including funding for critical federal grant programs including the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), the Byrne grant program, the Rural Drug Enforcement Assistance grants and other law enforcement projects in the economic stimulus package that Congress is expected to consider after it convenes Tuesday. Schirling will testify about how state and local law enforcement agencies in Vermont and across the country have benefited from federal programs that support local law enforcement and community-based plans to fight crime. Schirling will also address how economic conditions impact local and state funding to address neighborhood crime. Leahy chaired a series of hearings in 2008 on local efforts to fight crime, including a Senate Judiciary Committee field hearing in Rutland in March 2008, and in St. Albans in December 2008. In December, Leahy introduced legislation to reauthorize a critical rural anti-crime grant program.

Budget cuts by the Bush administration have depleted funds for the COPS, Byrne grant program, and several other federal initiatives that provide resources to state and local law enforcement agencies, limiting the amount of funding available to cash-strapped law enforcement agencies across the country.

Joining Schirling on the witness panel for Thursday's hearing on "Helping State and Local Law Enforcement During an Economic Downturn" will be Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey of the Philadelphia Police Department, John R. Schmidt, a former Associate Attorney General and a partner at Mayer Brown in Chicago, Ill., Mary Lou Leary, executive director of the National Center for Crime Victims, and David B. Muhlhausen, a policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation.

The hearing will be held Thursday, Jan. 8, at 10 a.m. in Room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building, in Washington.  The hearing will be webcast live online.

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Hearing before the

Senate Committee on the Judiciary


Helping State and Local Law Enforcement During an Economic Downturn


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Dirksen Senate Office Building Room 226
10:00 a.m.


Michael E. Schirling

Chief of Police

Burlington Police Department

Burlington, VT


Charles H. Ramsey

Police Commissioner

Philadelphia Police Department

Philadelphia, PA 


John R. Schmidt


Mayer Brown

Chicago, IL

Former Associate Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice


Mary Lou Leary

Executive Director

The National Center for Victims of Crime

Washington, DC


David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D.

Senior Policy Analyst

The Heritage Foundation

Washington, DC


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Press Contact

David Carle: 202-224-3693