House Okays $4.8 Billion Bump for Local Law Enforcement Help

By Quist, Janet | Nation's Cities Weekly, October 6, 1997 | Go to article overview

House Okays $4.8 Billion Bump for Local Law Enforcement Help


Quist, Janet, Nation's Cities Weekly


As Nation's Cities Weekly went to press, the House of Representatives was attempting to wrap up debate on legislation that provides federal assistance for virtually all local anti-crime initiatives.

HR 2267, the Commerce/Justice appropriations bill, proposes a total of $4.8 billion for state and local law enforcement assistance, a $726 million increase over 1997 and $738 million over the President's budget request.

For local law enforcement, the bill provides $523 million for the NLC priority Local Law Enforcement Block Grant (LLEBG), $1.4 billion for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, and $522 million for the Edward Byrne Formula and Discretionary Grants program.

Proposed funding levels for other key programs for which cities are eligible for grants includes $538 million for juvenile justice initiatives, $306 million for programs under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), $723 million for the State Prison Grant program, and $600 million for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP).

Once the final House vote is taken, House and Senate Conferees will be named for the task of reconciling the differences between HR 2267 and the Senate-passed bill, S. 1022. The chart accompanying this articles illustrates these differences.

Local Law Enforcement Block Grant

Under the pending bill, the NLC-priority LLEBG, targeted for elimination by the Administration, would receive $523 million. This would be the third year for this direct funded, flexible formula grant program that can be used for a broad range of enforcement and prevention initiatives. Of the $523 million, $20 million is earmarked to continue funding assistance to local governments through the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to identify, select, develop, modernize, and purchase technology for use by local law enforcement. The bill also calls for a $20 million earmark to increase the number of Boys and Girls Clubs especially in public housing.

COPS

The bill includes $1.4 billion to continue funding the COPS program, which provides cities and towns with direct assistance to hire additional law enforcement officers for community policing purposes $20 million would be earmarked for the Police Corps $100 million in unobligated funds from 1997 would be used to fund innovative community policing programs as authorized under the 1994 Anti-Crime Act but not funded in 1997. With respect to police hiring, 1998, funds are expected to finance the hiring of an additional 17,000 officers for community policing efforts in order to move further toward President Clinton's target of 100,000 new officers by the year 2000. The bill recommends that 1998 funds be used for the Universal Hiring program, that is available for hiring purposes only, and COPS MORE, that targets nonhiring purposes such as purchasing equipment, hiring civilian personnel, or paying overtime in order to redeploy officers from behind desks and back on the streets.

The appropriations committee report identified that there are unexpended funds from both 1996 and 1997. Therefore, it is expected that approximately $200 million will be carried over into FY 1998, once the 1997 grants process of complete. Because cities and towns have requested assistance to support other law enforcement requirement other than hiring, the House bill recommends that $100 million of unused funds be used for a nonhiring grant program divided as follows: $35 million for COPS technology for continued development of technologies and automated systems to assist state and local law enforcement in investigating, responding to, and preventing crime. $7.5 million would be used for the Law Enforcement On-Line system, to add 15,000 state and local users to secure national interactive computer communications network currently being developed by the FBI. $35 million would be available for grants to policing agencies and community-based entities to address drug "Hot Spots". …

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