Biden doubles funding for police hiring program

Speaking Security Newsletter | Advisory Note for Organizers and Candidates, n°89 | 18 June 2021

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The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office, for short) is a component of the Department of Justice (DOJ) that administers grants to state and local (and tribal) police forces.

There are several grant programs, but the biggest one in terms of dollars obligated is the COPS Hiring Program. Funding is provided to state and local governments to hire and/or rehire law enforcement officers. Some funding goes to bonus pay for existing officers, but overall the program does what its name suggests: inflate the size of police departments.

Biden more than doubled its funding in his budget request for fiscal year 2022. This year’s enacted funding is $156.5 million; Biden requested $388 million, or more than all COPS grant programs got in FY2021 combined.

The COPS program is Biden’s way of reforming the police through ‘community policing’ efforts. This is what he says in his criminal justice reform plan:

“[P]olicing works best when officers are out of their cruisers and walking the streets, engaging with and getting to know members of their communities. But in order to do that, police departments need resources to hire a sufficient number of officers...However, the [COPS] program has never been funded to fulfill the original vision for community policing.”

Yikes.

Thanks for your time,

Stephen (@stephensemler; stephen@securityreform.org)

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