Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) today voted in favor of H.R. 2862, the Science-State-Justice Appropriations for FY 2006. While Smith was pleased that funds were included for several important local projects, he is concerned about the lack of funding of the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and the Edward Byrne Memorial Formula Grants, both of which help fund increased policing efforts in local communities.
“I am pleased that the Committee included their support for valuable programs and organizations such as the Washington State Methamphetamine Initiative, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe Gang Prevention Program and World Vision’s ‘Vision Youth Program’ which leads local tutoring and mentoring activities,” said Smith. “These, among others, are programs and organizations that I have lent my support to in this year’s appropriations process.”
Smith, however, is concerned about the level of funding for the COPS program which he sees as critical for the safety and security of the citizens of Washington State.
“Washington State’s first responders rely on these funds for the personnel, training, support and equipment they need,” said Smith. “In the last ten years, the COPS Hiring program has added hundreds of officers to Washington State law enforcement agencies. As a result, crime has gone down in our local communities. Over the past few days, I have voted for several amendments that would fully fund this program and it is my hope that when this bill reaches the conference committee, COPS funding will be fully implemented.”
Smith is also concerned about the funding level for Byrne grants, given to States to help in the fight against crime. Many task forces created by Byrne grants in Washington State are facing massive cuts. In the Ninth Congressional District, alone, three task forces will be affected. The Valley Narcotics Enforcement Team, located in South King County, will be cut by 76%, the Tacoma Regional Drug Task Force will be reduced by 62% and the Thurston County Narcotics Team will be reduced by 20%.
“The cuts to these programs are disappointing because they have been effective partners in fighting crime,” said Smith. “As a former prosecutor, I know how important it is for law enforcement agencies to have the staffing and tools needed to effectively fight crime. The Byrne Grants were an effective tool in providing our crime fighters with what they need. It’s my hope that, during the conference committee, greater funding will be provided for Byrne Grants and I will work with my colleagues toward that goal.”