By Meredith Mays, Legislative Representative, IACP
he administration recently released its fiscal year (FY) 2010 budget proposal. The proposal includes $26.7 billion for the Department of Justice (DOJ), a 3.8 percent increase compared with FY 2009. The proposal also includes funds for state, local, and tribal assistance programs, such as the Edward R. Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne-JAG) program and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program. The proposed DOJ budget includes $512 million for the Byrne-JAG program and $761 million for the COPS program, including $298 million for hiring and $306 million for technology.
The proposal also includes $55.1 billion for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which is a 4.9 percent increase compared with FY 2009. DHS’s budget proposal is centered on five major priorities: counterterrorism; border security; enforcement of immigration laws; disaster preparedness, response, and recovery; and department unification.
The proposed DHS budget includes the following appropriations:
- $712.5 million for the State Homeland Security Grant (SHSG) program
- $665.25 million for the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI)
- $459.25 million for the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program (LETPP)
(Note that there is no separate line item for the LETPP. In accordance with the 9/11 Act, 25 percent of funds from the SHSG and UASI must be used for LETPP activities.)
The president’s submission of his budget proposal represents the first step in the federal budget process. Over the next several weeks, the House and Senate Budget Committees will begin work on drafting the congressional budget resolution. This nonbinding document serves as a statement of Congress’s priorities in the budget process. At the same time, the various subcommittees of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees will begin their efforts to craft the annual appropriations bills that fund the federal government.
House Passes IACP-Supported COPS Legislation
In late April, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1139, the COPS Improvements Act of 2009. The legislation, which the IACP strongly supports, seeks to fund critical state, local, and tribal law enforcement programs.
Specifically, the funds authorized in H.R. 1139 can be used for combating methamphetamine production and trafficking; supporting tribal law enforcement agencies; combating gun trafficking and reducing gang violence; hiring school resource officers and establishing school-based partnerships between local law enforcement agencies and local school systems to combat crime, gangs, and drug activities; paying for officers hired to perform intelligence, antiterrorism, or homeland security duties; and recruiting inactive military personnel to pursue the law enforcement profession.
In the letter of support the IACP stated, “Maintaining the flexibility of this program will ensure that it remains a valuable and critical resource to the state, local, and tribal law enforcement community. By funding this program, Congress will significantly strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to combat crime and violence in our communities.” H.R. 1139 has now been sent to the Senate for consideration.
Kerlikowske Confirmed as Head of ONDCP
In early May, former Seattle chief of police Gil Kerlikowske was confirmed by the Senate as director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). The IACP endorsed Chief Kerlikowske, declaring, “Chief Kerlikowske’s years of service have clearly demonstrated he has the qualifications and experience necessary to be an effective leader of the ONDCP.”
The IACP also stated, “The selection of the ONDCP Director is of critical importance to the IACP and the law enforcement community. It is vitally important that the views of the law enforcement community are embraced by those who shape our national policy for reducing the incidence of drug abuse and combating the crime and violence associated with the trafficking of illegal narcotics.”1
After being sworn in, Chief Kerlikowske released a statement, saying, “In the days and weeks ahead, I will immediately engage with my colleagues in the Federal government as well as our counterparts at the state and local levels to develop and implement a collaborative and transparent national drug control strategy that is comprehensive and balanced, grounded in science, and accountable to the American people.”2
Senate Passes Resolution Honoring Concerns of Police Survivors
In May, the Senate passed a resolution honoring the 25th anniversary of the founding of Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.), a nationwide support network for the surviving families and coworkers of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. C.O.P.S. also provides training to law enforcement agencies on survivor victimization issues and educates the public about the need to support the law enforcement profession and its survivors.
The IACP passed a similar resolution at its 115th annual conference in November 2008. The resolution states, “[T]he International Association of Chiefs of Police . . . strongly supports Concerns of Police Survivors, Inc., and encourages law enforcement agencies and organizations to support C.O.P.S.”3 ■
1The letter can be viewed at http://www.theiacp.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=W%2FigGtnwIXA%3D&tabid=391 (accessed May 15, 2009).
2“Welcome Message from Director Kerlikowske,” Pushing Back: Making the Drug Problem Smaller (ONDCP), http://pushingback.com/blogs/pushing_back/archive/2009/05/08/48359.aspx (accessed May 15, 2009).
3IACP, 2008 Resolutions: Adopted at the 115th Annual Conference in San Diego, CA, 44, http://www.iacp.org/resolution/2008Resolutions.pdf (accessed May 15, 2009).