Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Clinton was right:

In this year's budget, the White House this year wants to cut off all the federal funding for 88,000 uniformed police officers under the COPS program we've had for 10 years. Among those 88,000 police are more than 700 members of the New York Police Department who put their lives on the line on 9/11.

...our policy was to put more police on the street and to take assault weapons off the street. And it gave you eight years of declining crime and eight years of declining violence. Their policy is the reverse. They're taking police off the streets while they put assault weapons back on the street.

--Clinton convention speech on Monday

Since 1995, Cleveland has received $34 million [in federal monery] for new police officers, Mayor Campbell said.

But this year it will receive only $498,000 from Washington for all police programs, and President Bush's proposed budget would cut that figure in half....

Donald Pussehl Jr., the police chief in Saginaw, summed up what many police officials are saying about the cuts and redeployments. "We are going backwards, and that's really unfortunate," Chief Pussehl said.

"We are having to discontinue many of the proactive strategies like community policing, which we developed in the 90's, and just go back to basics like sitting in patrol cars waiting for calls for service after a crime has been committed," he said.

...The community policing program, which was begun by President Bill Clinton, added 118,000 officers across the country. Mr. Bush has proposed $97 million for the program in the next fiscal year, down 80 percent from $481 million this year.

The president has proposed reducing money for the other two programs to $508 million from $884 million this year....

Gil Kerlikowske, the Seattle police chief, said police executives across the country were apprehensive.

"Just a couple of years ago we were sitting back and saying how good a job we had done, reaching out to the communities and reducing crime to record lows," Chief Kerlikowske said. "Now the money is drying up, and there is an uptick in crime, and I'm worried that a lot of our good work is going to disappear."

--New York Times yesterday

And, of course, gang violence is rising, it's way too easy to buy a gun even if you can't pass a background check, and the assault weapons ban is about to expire.

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