U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) announced today that he along with five other Members of the Washington State Delegation have written a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Appropriations asking that they restore the irresponsible cuts to the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program which the President eliminated in his Fiscal Year 2006 Budget.

According to the letter, “The Administration’s FY 2006 budget fails to include any future funding for the COPS program. As a result, local Washington law enforcement will be crippled.” The letter goes on to state that, “In the last ten years, the COPS Hiring program has added over 400 officers to Washington State law enforcement agencies.”

“These funds are critical for the safety and security of the citizens of Washington State,” said Smith. “The COPS program has been a central and successful component of our fight against crime. It is shameful that the current Administration would eliminate funding for COPS and, in doing so, risk making our communities less safe.”

The complete text of the letter is below:

March 17, 2005

The Honorable C.W. Bill Young                       The Honorable David Obey Chairman                                                          Ranking Member

Committee on Appropriations                            Committee on Appropriations

H-218 Capitol                                                  1016 Longworth HOB

Washington, DC  20515                                   Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Young and Ranking Member Obey

As members of the Washington State Delegation, we are opposed to cuts in assistance to local law enforcement. We are writing to ask that the Appropriations Committee please increase the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) funding to reflect the needs of the first responders in our communities and restore the Bush Administration’s proposed cuts for the Fiscal Year 2006 Budget.

The Administration’s FY 2006 budget fails to include any future funding for the COPS program.  As a result, local Washington law enforcement will be crippled.  Washington’s first responders rely on these funds for the personnel, training, support and equipment they need.  Under legislation passed by the House last year, the COPS program should be funded at $1 billion. Unfortunately, the program only received approximately $500 million in FY 2005.

The President has gone out of his way to thank our police officers for making our country more secure.  We believe the full extent of our gratitude is measured in how we fiscally prioritize their technical, operational, and hiring needs.  Furthermore, we do not agree with assertion that the COPS program is ineffective.  In the last ten years, the COPS Hiring program has added over 400 officers to Washington State law enforcement agencies.  We strongly believe that the Fiscal Year 2006 funding levels for the COPS program must be increased to continue to show the federal governments commitment in helping our law enforcement community do their job.

Without full funding, Washington law enforcement will suffer and, as a result, so too will the security and safety of Washington State citizens. As such, we respectfully request that the Appropriations Committee reconsider the President’s cuts in the COPS program and restore funding to these important programs.

Thank you for your consideration.  We look forward to working with you in a bipartisan manner on this issue.

Sincerely,

//SIGNED//

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith

U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks

U.S. Rep. Brian Baird

U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen

U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee