May 12, 2005
Congressman Mike Capuano blasted Republicans for refusing to allow an amendment to H.R 1279, The Gang Deterrence and Community Prevention Act that would have reauthorized the Community Oriented Policing Program (COPS) for three years. H.R. 1279 passed in the House on May 11th.
"By refusing to allow my amendment, Republicans have once again demonstrated what their priorities are. The first line of defense against crime is to put officers on the streets and for years the COPS program has helped local communities do just that. Cities and towns are already struggling under the weight of additional financial burdens, and this refusal to reauthorize the COPS program does nothing to help ease those burdens," stated Congressman Capuano.
Republicans have not reauthorized the COPS Program since 2000. At the same time, they have cut hundreds of millions of dollars from the program. As a result, federal funding for hiring new police officers has been virtually eliminated. Last year, only $10 million was included in the federal budget for these efforts.
"I am particularly outraged that this amendment was not allowed in light of harsh penalties proposed by the so-called "Gang Deterrence and Community Prevention Act." Backers of H.R. 1279 claim that this legislation, with 24 new "mandatory minimum" sentences, will help reduce gang violence. If we are really serious about tackling this very difficult issue, we should be giving local police forces the tools they need to fight crime."
Contact: Alison M. Mills (617) 621-6208