Casey Urges Vice President Biden to Include Increased Funding For Law Enforcement In Recommendations to the President

| January 14, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. (EYT) – On Friday U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) sent a letter to Vice President Joe Biden urging him to include increased funding for law enforcement in his violence reduction task force’s recommendations to President Obama.

The Vice President is poised to recommend to the President a variety of measures to reduce gun violence early next week. Senator Casey’s letter points to the success of the COPS program, Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne-JAG) program and the Bulletproof Vest Partnership program and urges additional investment.

“In the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, our nation needs a comprehensive solution to tackle this kind of senseless violence, and that should include additional resources for law enforcement,” Senator Casey said. “There are commonsense steps we can take to ensure that such a tragedy never happens again. One step should be an immediate boost in resources to our local first responders.”

Local law enforcement officials are uniquely positioned to prevent violent crime and to respond when it occurs. Since 1993, communities across the Nation have successfully leveraged COPS grants to prevent violent crime and to ensure immediate and thorough responses to crimes. Similarly, the Byrne-JAG program has supported innovation and helped law enforcement agencies implement evidence-based strategies, and the Bulletproof Vest Partnership program has enabled departments to purchase much-needed vests.

In his letter, Senator Casey urged the Vice President to recommend additional resources for COPS programs, which puts additional officers on the job, the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne-JAG) program, which helps police buy additional equipment and the Bulletproof Vest Partnership program, which helps police officers obtain lifesaving vests.

The full text of Senator Casey’s letter to Vice President Biden is below:

Dear Vice President Biden,

Following the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, I deeply appreciate your leadership in seeking solutions to prevent violent crime. I also admire your long history of support for local law enforcement officials, both in the Senate and as Vice President. As the Nation considers all options to address this serious issue, including appropriate support for mental health programs and reevaluation of existing gun policies, I urge the inclusion of increased funding for local law enforcement as one element of a comprehensive approach.

I share your appreciation for law enforcement officials that act as first responders and prevent crime in their communities. Accordingly, I urge your task force to include a recommendation of higher, sufficient levels of funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, which was established by legislation you sponsored and advanced in the Senate, the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne-JAG) program and the Bulletproof Vest Partnership program. Support for these effective programs must be a key component of an overall violent crime reduction strategy and should be reflected in the President’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget.

As you know, local law enforcement officials are uniquely positioned to prevent violent crime and to respond when it occurs. Since 1993, communities across the Nation have successfully leveraged COPS grants, including COPS hiring programs grants, to prevent violent crime and to ensure immediate and thorough responses to crimes. Similarly, the Byrne-JAG program has supported innovation and helped law enforcement agencies implement evidence-based strategies, and the Bulletproof Vest Partnership program has enabled departments to purchase much-needed vests. Unfortunately, funding for these programs has decreased dramatically in recent years. Funds appropriated for COPS hiring programs have declined from $298 million in Fiscal Year 2010 to $141 million for Fiscal Year 2012. Over the same period, funding for Byrne-JAG was reduced from $519 million to $470 million and from $30 million to $24 million for the Bulletproof Vest Partnership program.

News reports indicate that law enforcement officials in Newtown, Connecticut responded very quickly and that their arrival may have been the reason that the alleged killer ended his rampage. As your task force considers the many important issues to avoid another such tragic event, we must recognize and support the critical role played by first responders, as well as equip them with the necessary resources. I look forward to continued collaboration between us and our staffs to address this important issue.

Sincerely,

Robert P. Casey, Jr.

United States Senator

Source: Robert P. Casey/Senator for US

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Category: Local News, News, State News

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