Congress May Restore $1B School Security Funding Program

WASHINGTON

WASHINGTON – A group of Senate leaders intend on pushing Congress to restore more than $1 billion for Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and Secure Our Schools programs.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., spoke of his group’s intentions May 2 to help restore the programs that had nearly been eliminated under Republican-led Congresses and the Bush administration. Part of the COPS program, Secure Our Schools provides grants for metal detectors, locks, improved lighting, school security assessments and security training for students at schools across the country. Under the program, the federal government pays half the cost for school security equipment, while state and local governments cover the rest.

According to the Ithica Journal, the Government Accountability Office reports the COPS program has spent more than $115 million in Upstate New York, decreasing crime by almost 30 incidents per 100,000 residents.

Republican Congresses and the Bush administration have maintained that the programs were never meant to be permanent and that COPS had run its course after fulfilling its promise of hiring 100,000 new police officers in three years.

The proposed 2008 U.S. budget calls for no money for either program, but some in the now Democrat-led Congress hope to make a change.

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