United States. Congress. House. Committee on the J.

COPS program : hearing before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, December 7, 1995 online

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Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on the JCOPS program : hearing before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, December 7, 1995 → online text (page 1 of 7)
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Y 4. J 89/1:104/79

Cops Program Serial Ho. 1^, 104-1...








DECEMBER 7, 1995

Serial No. 79

Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary


For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402
ISBN 0-16-053555-7



Y 4. J 89/1:104/79

Cops Progran, Serial Ho. 1^, 104-1...








DECEMBER 7, 1995

Serial No. 79

Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary


For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402
ISBN 0-16-053555-7

HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois. Chairrruut


GEORGE W. GEKAS, Pennsylvania
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
BOB INGLIS, South Carolina
SONNY BONO, California
FRED HEINEMAN. North Carolina
ED BRYANT, Tennessee
BOB BARR, Geoiigia

JOHN CONYERS, Jr., Michigan
BARNEY FRANK, Massachusetts
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
JACK REED, Rhode Island
MELVIN L. WATT, North Carolina
ZOE LOFGREN, California

Alan F. Coffey, Jr., General Counsel /Staff Director
Julian Epstein, Minority Staff Director

Subcommittee on Crime

BILL McCOLLUM, Florida, Chairman



HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina ZOE LOFGREN, California


ED BRYANT, Tennessee MELVIN L. WATT, North Carolina
BOB BARR. Georgia

PAtn. J. McNULTY, Chief Counsel


Daniel J. Bryant, Assistant Counsel

Tom Diaz, Minority Counsel





December 7, 1995 1


McCollum, Hon. Bill, a Representative in Congress from the State of Florida,
and chairman. Subcommittee on Crime 1


Brann, Joseph E., Director, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services,
U.S. Department of Justice, accompanied by Benjamin Tucker, Deputy
Director 9


Brann, Joseph E., Director, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services,
U.S. Department of Justice:

Letter dated February 20, 1996, to Chairman McCollum, from Assistant
Attorney General Andrew Fois, Office of Legislative Affairs, U.S. De-
partment of Justice 64

Prepared statement , 12


Statement of Hon. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Representative in Congress from
the State of Texas 67




House of Representatives,

Subcommittee on Crime,
Committee on the Judiciary,

Washington, DC.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:42 a.m., in room
2154, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Bill McCollum (chair-
man of the subcommittee) presiding.

Present: Representatives Bill McCollum, Howard Coble, Fred
Heineman, Ed Bryant of Tennessee, Steve Chabot, Bob Barr,
Charles E. Schumer, and Robert C. Scott.

Also present: Paul J. McNulty, chief counsel; Glenn R. Schmitt,
counsel; Daniel J. Bryant, assistant counsel; Aerin D. Dimkle, re-
search assistant; Audray L. Clement, secretary; and Tom Diaz, mi-
nority counsel.


Mr. McCollum. If I could I'd like to call this Subcommittee on
Crime hearing to order this morning. We have a very important
topic to discuss. Some of our members are in a conference on the
Republican side on a caucus on the Democratic side. We even
called the meetings of our groups different names. I can't under-
stand that tradition totally, but that's the way it is. But we do have
a number of us present and we want to thank the witnesses for

Today we examine the community policing initiative, better
known as the COPS [Community Oriented Policing Services] pro-
gram which was established in last year's controversial crime bill.
The ostensible purpose of the COPS program is to put 100,000
more police on the streets. This was of course one of President
Clinton's major campaign promises. By all accounts the President
appears to be well on his way toward keeping this promise. The
Justice Department's COPS Office, as we will hear today, claims to
have added approximately 26,000 police to the streets though
grants it has issued over the past year. The Department's dedica-
tion to getting this job done quickly serves as a model of what an
agency is capable of doing when it is enthusiastic about its mission.

But as we all know today's hearing occurs within a particular
context. Yesterday the House adopted, with a substantial number
of Democrat votes, the conference report on the Justice, Commerce,
and State appropriations bill which eliminates the COPS program
and replaces it with an anticrime block grant system to local gov-
ernments. After the Senate adopts this report it will be sent to the


President who has vowed to veto the bill. Thus today, it is a con-
tinuation of yesterday's debate about the COPS grant versus Fox
grants. There is much to be said that the limits of time yesterday
did not allow. So, briefly, let me be the first to begin.

Yesterday I challenged the President to take a closer look at the
block grant proposal and to reconsider his veto threat. I believe
that his rejection of this idea and his insistence on continuing the
COPS program amoimts to an argument of form over substance,
and in these days when we're fighting a budget battle over a lot
of other issues it doesn't seem to me that we should be doing a
form over substance debate. It ought to be based purely on sub-

Now why do I say that there's nothing more than form over sub-
stance? Well for starters, that's the opinion of local government
leaders. The president of the National League of Cities, Columbus
Mayor Greg LaShutka, wrote me yesterday, "we believe your legis-
lation," he says, "could lead to initiatives and programs that would
put more, not less, officers on the street than current law. It would
permit cities to purchase equipment to move trained personnel onto
the streets and to take other actions to ensure more effective and
efficient responses. Equally important, it is more balanced in meet-
ing the needs of cities with disproportionate limited resources and
higher crime and violence rates. These are critical issues to us."

As Mayor LaShutka has aptly put it, supporters of the COPS
program have created a false dichotomy. They argue that we must
make a choice between more cops on the beat or block grants. That
is not the choice, in my judgment at least. The real choice is be-
tween more cops versus more cops at a lower cost to localities with
more flexibility.

As you can see in the chart that's been put up over here, and I
used again on the floor debate yesterday, it clearly demonstrates
that only about one-third, at the most, of all block grant money in
the proposal in the Commerce, State, and Justice bill over the next
5 years would be needed to be spent on hiring police for the Presi-
dent to reach his goal of 100,000 cops. In fact the cost could be sub-
stantially less than $3 billion if communities used the COPS-
MORE approach, which allows localities to purchase equipment
and staff" support as a way of getting more police on the streets at
a much lower cost. Incidentally, it appears that more than one-
third of the administration's 26,000 cops were brought on under
this program — this COPS-MORE program — demonstrating that
local government has a preference for flexibility and better infra-
structure. The simple truth is that with block grants communities
mav end up hiring far more than 100,000 police.

There are other reasons why block grants are better options for
assisting localities in their battles against crime and why the presi-
dent should support them. First, they are a better deal for local
governments. Many jurisdictions will get more money, they will
spend less of their own funds with a 10-percent match rather than
the current 25-percent match under the COPS program, and they
will have more flexibility. Second, everyone participates. Nearly
7,000 localities have chosen not to apply for COPS grants and an-
other 600 turned down their grants when they were offered, pri-
marily because they could not aff'ord them. Third, block grants are

distributed on the basis of a formula that favors localities in which
violent crime is the highest.

In contrast to this, COPS grants have been spread throughout
the countrv with no particular regard according to the GAO, to the
rate of violent crime. Among the nations cities with the highest vio-
lent crime rates, many received a disproportionately smaller
amount of their State's total COPS funding. For example, the city
of Portland, OR, which accounts for 56 percent of all violent crimes
committed in the entire State of Oregon, received less than 1 per-
cent of all COPS funding awarded to Oregon. And I can discuss
other examples and I'm sure that our witnesses are fully aware of
this disparity and we need to have some response to that and I
hope we get it during the hearing today.

Finally, let me anticipate an argument that we are most cer-
tainly going to hear. We will be reminded today that the LEAA
program of the 1970's involved instances of abuse and wasteful
spending and that block grants should be opposed because some
local governments may engage in such practices again. Well let's
set this record straight. LEAA and block grants adopted by the
House yesterday are very different in both purpose and structure.
The most significant differences are the accountability provisions
built into the block grant program. All eyes in the local government
community as a matter of law will be on the decisionmakers when
it comes to what is to be done with the block grant money. If you
say we cannot learn from the past and reinvent Government pro-
grams, then you must think reforming welfare is a waste of time
and it should simply be abolished.

I also know that law enforcement groups oppose block grants and
I understand where they are coming from. With a COPS program
they have a guarantee that more police will be hired. I personally
am confident that over time, as block grants are used in dozens of
different ways to improve daily working conditions for police as
well as to hire new officers, law enforcement will come to see the
benefit of this approach. There's a lot more that could be said, but
I simply want to conclude by welcoming our witnesses from the
Justice Department and telling them that our criticisms with the
COPS program in no way reflects on their fine efforts to administer
the program nor in my respect for what they are doing or the jobs
that they are doing generally.

I would like, at this point in time, to recognize Mr. Schumer for
any comments he might like.

Mr. Schumer. Well thank you Mr. Chairman, and first I want
to thank you for holding this hearing. In advance, I have to apolo-
gize for myself and mv Democratic colleagues. We have a Budget
Director — now Chief of Staff— Leon Panetta, is now before a Demo-
cratic Caucus revealing the President's budget and that's where
most of my colleagues are or will be and we'll be trying to scadattal
in and out so we can pick up both, but I want to thank you for your
understanding. This hearing was originally scheduled today and
when they couldn't find a room moved back to yesterday. Then I
asked the chairman out of the beneficence of his heart in office to
move it back to today and it was, so we appreciate that and are
sorry for all these conflicting scheduling problems.

I want to welcome Director Joe Brann and his deputies, and a
special welcome of course to Deputy Director Benjamin Tucker,
who's a fellow New Yorker with a distinguished record of police
work. He knows community policing all the way from walking a
beat to top level management because he's been there and done

Now in light of yesterday's vote on the Justice appropriations
bill, this hearin^f is in my judgment a little late; it would have been
late yesterday, it's late today. It strikes me as a case of fire, ready,
aim, because yesterday we shot the program. Today we're going to
see how it's working. And so this hearing may seem moot and may
even seem bland on the surface, but it's no secret that it is charged
with high voltage politics.

As my friend Chairman McCollum said on the floor of the House
vesterday, the COPS program highlights fundamental differences
Detween how Republicans and Democrats want to fight violent
crime on America's streets. We, our side, is convinced that commu-
nity policing — the cop on the beat — ^is the best and most certain re-
turn for the American taxpayer's dollar. Every cop on the beat
trained in true community policing is a foot soldier in America's
war against gangbangers, violent muggers, carjackers and other
violent felons. The cop on the beat stops violent crime on the street
before it happens. If the COPS program were fully tuned it would
increase America's police strength — our own domestic army against
violent crime — by 20 percent, 100,000 new cops. It guarantees,
guarantees that federal tax dollars go to serious crimefighting.

Now our friends on the other side think a better way to fight
crime is simply to write a blank check to America's local politi-
cians. Those politicians may indeed decide to hire cops. But they
may simply balance a local budget through creative accounting that
gets around any nonsupplanting clause any Washington lawyer can
write on his best day. My guess is that more than half the money
would go to that. We wouldn't see cops, we would see old cops being
paid by this money; they would be new, they said they'd be new,
but they would be the same old cops and the American people
would not see an increase of police on their streets. In a sense the
block grant almost inevitably at best becomes a revenue sharing
program. Or, they may decide to buy expensive toys or hire a pla-
toon of local bureaucrats.

Well I say to them, my fellow Americans, try calling a bureaucrat
the next time your neighborhood is plagued by violent crime. That's
the basic choice. That is the fundamental choice between us. Real
cops versus maybe cops, maybe not. My good friend from Florida,
who in my judgment has complete integrity on this issue, keeps
saying well there could be more cops under this law. The bottom
line is simple: if cops are so good then make sure they happen.
Don't keep saying, oh there might be more cops. That's an argu-
ment for austere approach.

If you say, in all honesty what this approach says is, maybe it's
not cops, maybe it's something else that's needed, I would then say
that I don't trust large numbers of our local elected officials to put
the money where it ought to be because of the natural political
pressures and forces on them. If they had done it right to begin
with we wouldn't need any kind of crime bill at all to supplement

them and to help them. And I don't blame them. But I know what
it's like to be a local elected official having hung out with so many
of them. So we have a basic choice.

The fundamental difference between the Republican side and the
Democratic side, real cops versus maybe cops. Maybe not. How
many times have our Republican friends, however many times they
may talk about cops that could be theoretically be hired under a
block grant, the fact is simple. It is also possible, and my colleagues
on the other side are very good at pointing out the foibles when
Government programs go wrong, well we know that it's possible
under this bill that not one single cop could be hired.

And so however much they talk about preserving local choice,
that's not an ideological straitjacket. Because when it comes to
prison money they're willing to have Washington call the shots and
tell State governments what to do. I have no problem with Wash-
ington calling the shots. We're given the money, we ought to put
some constraints on it. The problems with the prisons of course,
and that's not the subject of today's hearing, it is the way it's done,
but I have nothing against telling the States that they ought to
toughen up their laws if they want to get more prison money.

Because this is a basic matter of principle for us. President Clin-
ton, in my judgment correctly and courageously, has drawn a line
in the sand on the survival of this program. So you can be sure
that in the weeks ahead we in the public will hear much more
about the program.

Now, I want to put the politics aside for a minute and I don't
mean politics in any derogatory sense; this is an issue difference
that is decided by elected officials. That's politics. And give credit
where credit is due, to Director Brann and his staff. Because you
folks have done a remarkable job.

You started with an enormously ambitious program from scratch.
Within 1 year you've taken it further than its critics said it could
possibly go in 6. I remember all the articles: there will be no more
than 20,000 cops after 5 years— we have 26,000 after 1. And they
will be going out on the streets, or they are on the streets already.
Seventy-five percent of those for whom grants are approved have
already been hired. More are being hired every day. And police de-
partments are being helped with new equipment that takes cops
out from behind desks and puts them on the street. So this is a
team that we ought to be proud of because they're well on their
way with keeping the contract Congress made with America last
year: a promise to put 100,000 new cops on the street.

This is one Government's success story in a time when it's be-
come fashionable reflex to bash the Government. It's no wonder
you know, there's a missing table of witnesses here. The leaders of
all our police organizations. They're all in support of keeping the
COPS program. They're against the bill that the majority side has
put forward. I've said it before but I'll say it again: I bless the day
that Democrats and law enforcement are lined up together. I've
been trying to get that to happen for years. And here we are and
I'm glad.

And I want to say that the National Conference of Mayors want
the President to stand firm in support of the program, altnough ob-
viously there are going to be local government elected officials who


say give the money to us. Of course they want that. But you know
what? If you don't have a match, or you have a tiny match, and
you give them the money, the chances of it being wasted are much
greater. Because thev would have done it on their own if they need-
ed it that badly without some kind of match. So we want to give
them incentive. But yes, we want to say to localities that say you
can't find a way to find a quarter of the money, then you shouldn't
do this because you ought to need it and need it badly, which in
my constituency is the case. And I think in many.

So, I think no one, no one on this committee, no one in the Con-
gress can honestly say that 100,000 cops on the street is not a good
thing. They can say, well, maybe with the block grant it will come
out better but my guess is it will come out a lot worse. The cop
on the beat is our first and biggest line of defense against violent
crime. We are to make sure, not just leave it to chance or guess-
work, we are to make sure it happens. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. McCoLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Schumer,

Mr. Heineman, would you like to make any opening remarks?

Mr. Heineman. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Certainly I am for
COPS. Any way we can put cops on the street I'm for better polic-
ing anv way we can do that.

I'm kind of torn a little bit inside about whether we need more
cops on the street as opposed to less criminals on the street. And
I do know that the closest police department to where we're sitting
right now is the District of Columbia Police Department, who when
I worked up a budget with them and with the mayor, did they ever
bring up one time that they ever needed more cops? What they told
me is that they needed more utility of those cops that they have
in the form of funding for police cars that can't ride because they
don't have tires for them. They don't have enough money to buy
parts for the cars. They need more bulletproof vests than they
have. They need replacements. They need more bullets. They need
more computers for their vehicles. They need to upgrade their fa-
cilities and certainly having worked on that for the past 6 months
I can see exactly where they're coming from.

Now true, the District of Columbia probably was overstaffed in
the first place as it relates to cops. I'm not sure, we're going to have
to work that out in the next 5 years. But that police department
and two chiefs that I had interviewed, the current chief, Larry
Solsby, has given me a budget and has asked me to support that
budget and I have done that. We haven't gotten funding yet but
there's more to block grants than iust hiring police.

And our block grant program does give you the option of hiring
police and this is rather a paradox about hiring more police and
putting them on the streets even where your mayors and city man-
agers are concerned, because they know that when the federal
match pulls out they are going to have to carrv the whole load
themselves and right there there's kind of a pull as it relates to
where do we put the money that we don't have now. We need more
money to run the city as it is and to hire more cops is just to in-
crease the budget and cut down on other things. Human services,
perhaps. That depends on the individual cities.

And, yes, I a^ee with the gentleman from the other side and I've
also admired his position on police and law enforcement. I think he

has his priorities in the right place and LEAA was a boondoggle.
I was part of that. I was in New York City at that time and yes,
we did take money and have to spend it so that next year we don't
lose it. And I deplored that.

But this isn't LEAA. I think we've learned. I think there are
more constraints in the bill that we passed last Febru.ary with the
block grants in it. We do have a philosophical difference depending
on what side of the chairman you are sitting on. We believe the
best determinant as to how to spend that money resides at home
with the police chief I was a police chief as you know. I've said it
so many times that at times I assume people know that. I would
want the discretion as to where to put that money.

With your community policing there's more to community polic-
ing than just for policemen out there. And certainly you put your
community policing in areas where they are necessary. But there's
equipment you need to buy for that. There are sacrifices you have
to make at the local budgets to provide for community policing.

I think the block grant is just fine. I think that the match, the
10-percent match, exceeds what we have found in the 1994 crime
bill. I'm in favor of what I see today, what we legislated last Feb-
ruary and again, I said I like this crime bill as it is now constituted
because it ties in prisons and longer sentences and when you con-
sider that 7 percent of the criminals commit 66 percent of the
crime, we need to find places to put them and keep them in there.
More cops, and I find myself talking out of both sides of my mouth
when I say more cops are creating more prisoners, and right now
we don't have enough prisons to put them in, thereby taking those
that are already in and letting them out early to make room for
new prisoners. I don't have an answer to that right now, but it is
a paradox. And one which, if we can have the block grants now dis-

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Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on the JCOPS program : hearing before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, December 7, 1995 → online text (page 1 of 7)