Mayors Urge House Committee to Keep Public Safety Program Funded at Least at White House-Proposed Levels

COPS Program Vital to Public Safety of American Cities

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) called on Congressional appropriators to stave off cuts to the Community Oriented Policing Service (COPS) program and provide at least the funding levels President Donald Trump proposed for the vital public safety program. In a letter to the House Committee on Appropriations, USCM President and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu urged the House Committee on Appropriations to amend the Commerce, Justice and Science appropriations bill set to zero out COPS funding. A full committee markup of the FY2018 spending bill is scheduled for Thursday.

“The U.S. Conference of Mayors was involved in the creation of the COPS Office and its programs and has strongly supported them ever since,” the mayors wrote. “We have done this because ensuring safety and security is a top priority for mayors throughout the country, and the COPS Office has been critical to our ability to do that. It must continue to be able to play this important role.”

Mayors asked Congress to consider the impact cutting COPS will have on American state, local, territorial, and tribal law enforcement agencies. The letter identifies clear benefits coming as a direct result of the COPS grants and initiatives, including:

  • Hiring grants have helped 13,000 state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies hire and redeploy approximately 129,000 officers, thereby strengthening police-community relations and improving public safety.
  • Community Policing Development (CPD) Grant Program and Microgrants Initiative have supported training and technical assistance, the development of innovative community policing strategies, applied research, guidebooks, and best practices that are used and replicated by departments across the country.
  • The COPS collaborative reform initiatives have helped mayors and law enforcement executives to assess individual agency needs and tailor effective technical assistance approaches.

At USCM’s Annual Conference in June 2017, a bipartisan group of mayors outlined an agenda that, among other things, calls for increasing the number of community policing officers on the streets and investing resources directly in cities to support police training in areas including implicit bias, de-escalation, and cultural sensitivity, hiring, technology and equipment, data collection and analysis, use-of-force policies, and officer safety and wellness.

Mayors are available for comment.