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Thursday, May 6th, 2021

Bipartisan group of U.S. representatives support police funding initiative

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A group of lawmakers recently requested increased funding for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) and the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) programs in Fiscal Year (FY) 2022.

U.S. Reps. John Rutherford (R-FL) and Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), co-chairs of the House Law Enforcement Caucus, led a group of 159 members in requesting the increased allotment.

“The Byrne JAG and COPS programs are the cornerstone of our federal justice assistance programs,” the lawmakers wrote in correspondence to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee. “Since their inception, Byrne JAG and COPS grants have enabled law enforcement agencies to better protect their communities and promote community policing initiatives that form vital bonds between officers and those they serve.”

The Byrne JAG program enables states and local governments to support a range of activities to prevent and control crimes based on their local needs and conditions. The COPS Office has placed more than 130,000 sworn law enforcement officers in communities nationwide by providing grants to hire officers through the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program.

Support of the Byrne JAG and COPS programs is important to the safety of communities and continued efforts to improve policing nationwide, but acknowledged funding for both programs have been cut over the past decade and must be restored to previous levels.

“These programs provide critical federal dollars to build upon successful crime reduction efforts and ensure officers maintain strong relationships with their communities,” the lawmakers concluded. “For these reasons, we respectfully request that you include increased funding for the Byrne JAG and COPS programs in the FY22 CJS appropriations bill.”