MIDDLETOWN – After The Hill reported that the White House Transition Team has proposed a budget blueprint, which would eliminate the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), Representative Sean Patrick Maloney joined local civic and law enforcement officials to call on President Donald Trump to keep his campaign promise to support our law enforcement community and refrain from eliminating the federal Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office. In addition, Rep. Maloney wrote a letter to the President asking him to protect the program. The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) COPS program provides investments to allow state and local police departments to hire police officers, test new strategies, and acquire cutting-edge technology.
“Talk is cheap and it’s easy to say you support our law enforcement officers on the campaign trail, but it’s time to put your money where your mouth is,” said Rep. Maloney. “Shortchanging the people who risk their lives every day to protect us from the bad guys is not the way to save a buck and it sends the message that the government doesn’t care about America’s finest.”
“My number one concern is keeping our people here in Middletown safe – and one of the ways we do that is maintaining a right-sized police force,” said Middletown Mayor Joe DeStefano. “We need the resources the COPS office provides to keep five officers on the street, and yanking that money away from us would immediately make Middletown less safe and would violate the President’s promise to retain law and order.”
“We’re very concerned about the possibility of losing funding for five officers,” said Acting Police Chief, John Ewanciw. “We have five more guys on the beat because of this funding and I hope the President will reconsider this move because it would seriously hurt local departments here in the Hudson Valley – and throughout the country.”
Since taking office, Rep. Maloney has secured $1.6 million in COPS investments to local police departments. In 2014, Rep. Maloney announced a $500,000 COPS investment to allow the Newburgh Police Department to hire four new officers. In 2015, he announced a $600,000 investment for Poughkeepsie’s police department to hire five additional officers. Most recently, in 2016, he announced another $500,000 COPS investment in the Middletown police department to allow the department to hire four more police officers.
Created as part of the 1994 Crime Bill, the COPS Office awards grants to state and local law enforcement agencies to hire and train community policing professionals, acquire cutting-edge crime-fighting technologies, and develop and test innovative policing strategies. The budget blueprint referenced in media reports is based on recommendations from the Heritage Foundation, a special interest group, and calls for the total elimination of the program.
A full text of the letter can be found here and below:
Dear President Trump:
I write in response to recent reports regarding your budget blueprint, which includes plans to eliminate the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). Eliminating this office would wipe out funding that has supported 13,000 law enforcement agencies and enabled them to hire 130,000 officers nationwide.
You campaigned on a promise to support our law enforcement, and even styled yourself as the “law and order” candidate. Gutting or eliminating the COPS office would be a direct violation of that promise and would make our communities more dangerous. Reducing the budget is a worthy goal, but robbing law enforcement agencies of critical resources is not the way to achieve it.
In my home district in the Hudson Valley, COPS investments have assisted local police departments hire 13 police officers who are currently serving in Middletown, Newburgh and Poughkeepsie. For businesses, families and communities throughout my Congressional District this means more cops on the beat and a decrease in violent crimes. But the benefits of the COPS office are not just felt in the 18th Congressional District of New York; they are evident across the country and date back more than 25 years.
The COPS office has been an instrumental partner in helping local law enforcement address the changing world of policing, and the impact of reducing its budget or eliminating its services would be significantly felt throughout the country. For these reasons, I implore you to reconsider the proposal released by your Transition Team and remain committed to backing the badge.
Sean Patrick Maloney
Member of Congress