Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS): Background and Funding [February 6, 2014]   [open pdf - 316KB]

"Between FY1995 and FY1996, the annual appropriation for the COPS [Community Oriented Policing Services] 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 the COPS Hiring Program, the congressional earmark ban, and Congress moving appropriations for programs that were traditionally funded under the COPS account to other accounts. Funding for the COPS program has been fairly stable (around $200 million) since FY2012 now that Congress has started to consistently fund the same programs through the COPS account. One issue Congress might consider is whether the federal government should continue to provide grants to state and local law enforcement agencies to hire additional officers at a time of historically low crime rates."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL33308
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