Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons joined 41 of their Democratic Senate colleagues on April 10 in requesting a minimum of $400 million in federal funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services Hiring Program to help local law enforcement bolster their community policing efforts.

“When officers establish a presence on their patrols using community policing principles, they can develop positive relationships with the communities they serve,” the senators wrote in a letter to Sens. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, and Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire, chairman and ranking member of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice & Science. “In turn, these relationships increase law enforcement’s ability to solve local crimes and resolve public safety problems. This proactive approach to policing prevents crime from occurring, saving taxpayers the high societal costs associated with crime, incarceration and services for victims.”

The COPS program was designed to advance public safety by addressing the full-time officer needs of state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies. COPS provides federal funds directly to local law enforcement agencies to hire new and/or rehire career law officers and to increase crime prevention efforts. As cities and towns across the country grow in population, the senators emphasized the need for increased funding in order to meet the demand by state and local law enforcement agencies.

“Ongoing crime and violence in our cities continue to demonstrate the vital need for increased police protection in our communities,” the letter continued. “Therefore, as you determine the funding levels for this program, we ask that you support funding for the COPS Hiring Program at the highest possible level.”

The COPS program has wide support from major law enforcement organizations including the Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of Police Organizations, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Major Cities Chiefs Association.

A copy of the letter can be found at bit.ly/2UrCSzq.