Home>Press Release>Pascrell, Reichert Lead 175 Members of Congress in Support of Byrne JAG and COPS Grants in Fiscal Year 2019 Appropriations

Pascrell, Reichert Lead 175 Members of Congress in Support of Byrne JAG and COPS Grants in Fiscal Year 2019 Appropriations

For Immediate Release March 20, 2018

By NJG Press Releases, March 20 2018 11:58 am


U.S. Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr.
For Immediate Release
March 20, 2018

Media Contact:
Mark Greenbaum
(202) 225-5751
mark.greenbaum@mail.house.gov

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Representatives Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) and Dave Reichert (R-WA), co-chairs of the House Law Enforcement Caucus, led a bipartisan letter signed by 173 colleagues requesting that Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Chairman John Culberson and Ranking Member José Serrano provide sufficient funding in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 appropriation bill for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) Program and the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) programs.

“These programs are critical to ensuring that state and local law enforcement have the tools, programs, personnel and resources necessary to protect and serve their communities, including in efforts to prevent further gun violence and help stem the opioid epidemic,” the Members write. “Since their inception, the Byrne JAG and COPS programs have enabled law enforcement agencies to form vital partnerships among communities and law enforcement officers, combat criminal activities, and develop and implement problem-solving and crime prevention programs nationwide.”

Last year, Reps. Pascrell and Reichert sent a letter to President Trump outlining the importance of the COPS Office. Prior to the release of the President’s budget, Reps. Pascrell and Reichert led a letter signed by 133 of their colleagues in support of robust financial support for the COPS Office in FY19. The letters highlighted the critical role the COPS Office serves to support the law enforcement community and improving community policing efforts across the country to keep neighborhoods safe. The letters also raised concerns about any proposals that would jeopardize the work of the COPS Office. The President eliminated the COPS Office in his FY19 budget.

Background on the Byrne JAG Program

The Byrne JAG program allows states and local governments to support a broad range of activities to prevent and control crimes based on their own local needs and conditions.  Grants can be used for state and local initiatives, technical assistance, training, personnel, equipment, supplies, contractual support and information systems for criminal justice for any one or more of the following areas: 1) law enforcement programs; 2) prosecution and court programs; 3) prevention and education programs; 4) corrections and community corrections programs; 5) drug treatment programs and 6) planning, evaluation and technology improvement programs.

COPS Office Background

Since its inception, the COPS Office has placed more than 130,000 sworn law enforcement officers in communities across the country by providing grants for the hiring of officers through the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program. These grants provide federal resources to communities with public safety needs that may lack the funds to hire law enforcement officers. Additionally, the COPS Office is responsible for implementing legislation authored and co-sponsored by Reps. Pascrell and Reichert. Specifically, the COPS Office oversees implementation the Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act (Public Law: 114-12), which establishes a nationwide Blue Alert communications system to help disseminate information on serious injury or death of a law enforcement officer in the line of duty, an officer who is missing in connection with the officer’s official duties, or an imminent and credible threat that an individual intends to cause the serious injury or death of a law enforcement officer. Finally, the COPS Office is responsible for overseeing implementation of the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act (Public Law: 115-113), which allows the COPS Office to make grants available to initiate peer mentoring pilot programs and develop training to meet law enforcement mental health needs.

Text of the bipartisan letter follows:

 

March 14, 2018

 

The Honorable John Culberson                            The Honorable José Serrano

Chairman                                                                   Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice,                Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice,

Science, and Related Agencies                              Science, and Related Agencies

House Appropriations Committee                       House Appropriations Committee

Washington, DC 20515                                          Washington, DC 20515

 

Dear Chairman Culberson and Ranking Member Serrano:

Thank you for your ongoing and diligent efforts to appropriately rebalance limited resources in order to support our nation’s highest priorities. As you begin to craft the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) appropriation bill for Fiscal Year 2019, we respectfully urge you to include sufficient funding for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) Program and the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) programs — in particular, the COPS Hiring program. These programs are critical to ensuring that state and local law enforcement have the tools, programs, personnel and resources necessary to protect and serve their communities, including in efforts to prevent further gun violence and help stem the opioid epidemic.

The Byrne JAG and COPS programs are the cornerstone of our federal justice assistance programs. Since their inception, the Byrne JAG and COPS programs have enabled law enforcement agencies to form vital partnerships among communities and law enforcement officers, combat criminal activities, and develop and implement problem-solving and crime prevention programs nationwide.

The strength of the Byrne JAG program is in its impact across the criminal justice system, from law enforcement to prosecution and courts, crime prevention and education, corrections and community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, program planning, evaluation, technology improvement, and crime victim and witness initiatives.

The COPS Office and its corresponding programs provide invaluable resources and technical assistance to state and local law enforcement agencies, keeping our communities safe. Sufficient funding is critical to ensuring that law enforcement has the resources necessary to effectively and efficiently protect the public, because in recent years law enforcement agencies have experienced shrinking budgets and difficult decisions concerning operational readiness and number of officers on patrol.

We appreciate the difficulty you face in appropriating adequate resources for the programs under your jurisdiction and we thank you for your work. Support for the Byrne JAG and COPS Hiring programs is imperative to the safety of our communities. These programs supplement the manpower and incentivize collaboration across agencies necessary to build upon successful crime reduction efforts of the past twenty years. For these reasons, we respectfully request that you include strong funding for the Byrne JAG and COPS programs, especially the COPS Hiring program, in the FY2019 CJS appropriations bill.

Sincerely,

Signatories:

Bill Pascrell, Jr.

Dave Reichert

  1. Donald McEachin

Alma S. Adams, Ph.D.

Rick W. Allen

Lou Barletta

Andy Barr

Nanette Diaz Barragán

Joyce Beatty

Ami Bera, M.D.

Donald S. Beyer, Jr.

Earl Blumenauer

Suzanne Bonamici

Brendan F. Boyle

Robert A. Brady

Anthony G. Brown

Julia Brownley

Cheri Bustos

  1. K. Butterfield

Bradley Byrne

Mike Capuano

Salud O. Carbajal

André Carson

Earl L. Buddy’ Carter

Kathy Castor

Judy Chu

David N. Cicilline

Steve Cohen

Barbara Comstock

Gerald E. Connolly

Jim Costa

Ryan A. Costello

Joe Courtney

Kevin Cramer

Charlie Crist

Joe Crowley

Elijah E. Cummings

Carlos Curbelo

Danny K. Davis

Rodney Davis

Peter DeFazio

Diana DeGette

John K. Delaney

Rosa L. DeLauro

Val Butler Demings

Mark DeSaulnier

Ted Deutch

Daniel M. Donovan, Jr.

Keith Ellison

Tom Emmer

Eliot L. Engel

Anna G. Eshoo

Adriano Espaillat

Elizabeth H. Esty

Dwight Evans

Brian Fitzpatrick

Bill Foster

Lois Frankel

Marcia L. Fudge

Tulsi Gabbard

Ruben Gallego

Tom Garrett

Vicente Gonzalez

Paul A. Gosar

Josh Gottheimer

Garret Graves

Michelle Lujan Grisham

Colleen Hanabusa

Vicky Hartzler

Alcee L. Hastings

Denny Heck

Jody Hice

Brian Higgins

French Hill

James A. Himes

Steny H. Hoyer

Jared Huffman

Randy Hultgren

Hakeem Jeffries

Bill Johnson

Mike Johnson

Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr.

William R. Keating

Robin L. Kelly

Trent Kelly

Joseph P. Kennedy, III

Daniel T. Kildee

Ron Kind

Peter T. King

Steve King

Adam Kinzinger

Steve Knight

Ann McLane Kuster

Doug LaMalfa

Leonard Lance

James R. Langevin

Rick Larsen

John B. Larson

Barbara Lee

Sander Levin

John Lewis

Ted W. Lieu

Daniel W. Lipinski

Frank A. LoBiondo

Zoe Lofgren

Billy Long

Alan Lowenthal

Ben Ray Luján

Stephen F. Lynch

Tom MacArthur

Sean Patrick Maloney

Doris Matsui

James P. McGovern

David B. McKinley, P.E.

Jerry McNerney

Martha McSally

Patrick Meehan

Gwen S. Moore

Seth Moulton

Stephanie Murphy

Jerrold Nadler

Grace F. Napolitano

Richard E. Neal

Richard M. Nolan

Donald Norcross

Eleanor Holmes Norton

Beto O’Rourke

Tom O’Halleran

Jimmy Panetta

Donald M. Payne, Jr.

Ed Perlmutter

Scott H. Peters

Collin C. Peterson

Jamie Raskin

Kathleen M. Rice

Cedric L. Richmond

Mike Rogers

Jacky Rosen

Keith J. Rothfus

Lucille Roybal-Allard

Raul Ruiz

Bobby L. Rush

Linda T. Sánchez

John P. Sarbanes

Jan Schakowsky

Adam B. Schiff

Bradley S. Schneider

David Scott

Terri A. Sewell

Carol Shea-Porter

Brad Sherman

Kyrsten Sinema

Albio Sires

Louise Slaughter

Adam Smith

Jason Smith

Steve Stivers

Eric Swalwell

Mark Takano

Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson

Mike Thompson

Scott Tipton

Paul Tonko

Norma J. Torres

Niki Tsongas

Michael R. Turner

Juan Vargas

Marc Veasey

Filemon Vela

Timothy J. Walz

Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Bruce Westerman

Frederica S. Wilson

Rob Woodall

John Yarmuth

Don Young

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