Reichert Secures Funding for COPS Hiring Program

Washington, DC -  Yesterday, Congressman Dave Reichert (R-WA), a law enforcement veteran of 33 years, secured funding for the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program on the House floor from Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee (CJS) Chairman John Culberson (R-TX) for Fiscal Year 2018. Prior to the Congressman’s efforts, funding for the program had been completely eliminated. 

Since first coming to Congress, Rep. Reichert has fought relentlessly to protect and strengthen funding for COPS Office programs, especially the COPS Hiring Program, which is consistently targeted for elimination or underfunded in appropriations bills. Earlier this year, he sent a bipartisan letter with Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) to President Trump outlining the importance of the COPS Office and particularly the Hiring Program. This competitive grant program provides struggling communities with necessary funding to address their personnel needs. With staffing shortages in law enforcement agencies across the country, the approximately 129,000 officers placed in communities by the COPS Hiring Program have been critical to protecting the safety of our neighborhoods and cities.

Below is the full transcript of the exchange, which took place on the House Floor, where Rep. Reichert described the vital importance of the program and Chairman Culberson committed to funding it. To watch a video of the colloquy on the House floor, click HERE.

Mr. Reichert: I rise for the purpose of engaging in a colloquy with the Chairman about the COPS Hiring Program. Managed by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS, the COPS Hiring program is vital to state and local law enforcement agencies. The program provides our communities with the much needed funding to hire law enforcement officers and meet public safety needs. Since its beginning, the COPS Hiring program has placed more than 129,000 officers in communities across the U.S. to advance policing and crime prevention efforts. Make no mistake; these officers are necessary for the safety of our neighborhoods, constituents, and loved ones. Staffing challenges not only jeopardize the safety of our men and women in uniform, but also directly lead to the breakdown in trust between law enforcement and community. From my over 33 years of experience in law enforcement, I know that police departments must have the staff necessary to effectively engage with their communities and proactively respond to their needs, instead of running from one crime to the next. COPS Hiring is a proven program that studies have shown reduces crime without a corresponding increase in arrests. Effective policing lowers crime rates and builds strong community relationships at the same time. Throughout my time in Congress, I have been fighting to keep this program funded. And this year is the same.

While I appreciate that the bill before us includes a $100 million increase for the Byrne-JAG law enforcement grant program, I am disappointed that it does not provide funding for the COPS Hiring program.

As this process moves forward, I urge you to include funding for the COPS Hiring program. We must continue this program that has been so important to state and local law enforcement. This program is not just good for those who put their lives on the line every day, but it benefits all citizens as our country works to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the communities they serve and protect. 

Chairman Culberson: I thank my colleague from Washington. I recognize the significant positive impact the COPS Hiring program has had and continues to have on communities across the United States, especially given the staffing shortages and current issues facing our nation’s law enforcement. As you know, the Senate has funded the COPS Hiring program in its bill, and I will work with the gentleman to fund COPS in conference.

Mr. Reichert: Thank you, Chairman. I appreciate all of your hard work on this bill. I yield back.