Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS): Background and Funding [December 6, 2011]   [open pdf - 280KB]

"The Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program was created by Title I of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (P.L. 103-322). The mission of the COPS program is to advance community policing in all jurisdictions across the United States. The Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-162) reauthorized the COPS program through FY2009 and changed it from a multi-grant program to a single-grant program. Between FY1995 and FY1996, the annual appropriation for the COPS program averaged more than $1.4 billion. The relatively high levels of funding during this time period were largely the result of Congress's and the Clinton Administration's efforts to place 100,000 new law enforcement officers on the street. Appropriations for the program started to wane in FY2002 before increasing again for the four-year period between FY2007 and FY2010. Congress started to reduce funding for the COPS program as it moved away from providing funding for hiring new law enforcement officers and changed COPS into a conduit for providing federal assistance to support local law enforcement agencies. Starting in FY1998, an increasing portion of the annual appropriation for COPS was dedicated to programs to help law enforcement agencies purchase new equipment, combat methamphetamine production, upgrade criminal records, and improve forensic sciences. Funding for the COPS program decreased in both FY2011 and FY2012, which can be attributed to reduced funding for hiring programs and Congress moving appropriations for programs that were traditionally funded under the COPS account to other accounts. One issue Congress might consider is the appropriate funding level for COPS, especially in light of concerns about federal spending and possible reductions to appropriations for the Department of Justice."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL33308
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