Washington, DC—Senate Democrats joined local officials at a press conference today to discuss the importance of funding local law enforcement and policing initiatives. The Senate will begin debating the Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations bill this week, and will seek to support important programs to fight crime in our schools and communities after years of cuts by the Bush Administration.
“With violent crime on the rise for the first time in 15 years, President Bush cut state and local law enforcement funding by almost $1.5 billion. The time to act is now," said Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, Chairwoman of the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee. “This bill provides $2.7 billion to give cops on the beat the tools they need to protect our communities from crime, gangs, drugs, domestic violence and crimes against children. The Democratic Congress will continue to stand up for families and neighborhoods by standing up against the President’s veto.”
Said Senator Robert Menendez: “The safety of our country begins with how safe we make our own communities. It starts in our neighborhoods, it starts in our schools, and it starts in our homes. By neglecting successful law enforcement programs, the Bush administration’s policies have made our communities less safe. The bill before the Senate this weeks reflects an understanding that we have to stop crime before it starts, and that our young people deserve our support. We can stop violence here in America – but we can’t do it without a strong commitment like this.”
“From the cop on the beat to elite counter-terror units, fighting crime and protecting homes and families takes time, commitment – and most of all, resources,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a former U.S. Attorney and Rhode Island Attorney General. “As Rhode Island’s Attorney General, I’ve seen firsthand that support from the federal government can make the difference between getting the manpower and equipment local law enforcement needs, and having to go without. I’m proud that Senate Democrats are working to strengthen initiatives that reduce crime and keep our communities safe.”
Said Scott Pfeifer, Principal of Centennial High School in Ellicott City, Md.: “One of the primary goals of principals is to create a personalized learning environment in which all students and staff feel free to pursue their interests and continued education and development. However, personalization cannot occur if students and staff are distracted by school crime and violence. The COPS in Schools program has provided principals with the resources they need to create and sustain a safe school environment, allowing a culture of learning and excellence to emerge. The COPS program has received a substantial increase in funding, and I urge you to adopt this increased amount.”