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

Taking Back Our Streets Act of 1995 : hearings before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, on H.R. 3 ... January 19 and 20, 1995 online

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Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on the JTaking Back Our Streets Act of 1995 : hearings before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, on H.R. 3 ... January 19 and 20, 1995 → online text (page 19 of 51)
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sioners — and they would have the control over this — wanted to do
so, for you to be able to gain some money for additional prosecutors
in the county or in the city.

Mayor Ashe, I would suggest that that means that those pro-
grams of prevention that you were concerned about when we use
the term that the law enforcement unit would have to be substan-
tially participants in, where they might not be, you still could do
that. It is just that the language is more suggestive.

And I would like to go to Mayor Ashe with a question right off
the bat. This morning, we had the Associate Attorney General
here, Mr. Schmidt, testifying, and he expressed very strong res-
ervations about the broad language we had here, giving the cities
and the counties the right to make choices without really any for-
mal restrictions, as long as they come within the crimefighting lan-
guage. He felt that that would be subject to great abuse.

And I think" L remember under LEAA grants a few years ago,
where some sheriffs, frankly, and some city officials, in this case,
I think, police, may have bought equipment and done all kinds of
things with it, which got all kinds of notoriety. We have attempted
to restrict this. And there is other language coming into this to do
that.

Do you think that concern would justify the type of bill that cur-
rently exists that targets specific mandates on the money?

You defended, frankly, in your testimony, the broad language
that we have got here, but I know that there are those who say
that if we give it, that somehow some cities and some communities
are going to do some pretty wild things with it. What do you say
to that?

Mr. Ashe. Congressman, first of all, let me say that we applaud
General Schmidt for the way in which he has implemented this leg-



226

islation, and it is not our intent to get into an argument with him.
But we think the flexibiHty which is contained in your legislation
is very positive. To the degree that anyone would say that local
governments would abuse their authority, we would respectfully
disagree. You could always find somebody somewhere who does
what they shouldn't do. Even in the Federal Government that can
occur on occasion.

We would point out — and the mayors met in Knoxville before No-
vember 8, and we met a week later after November 8 in Chicago,
mayors representing both political parties and selected mayors, to
discuss this. And we see this approach which provides additional
flexibility, recognizes that Knoxville is different from Wichita or
Oklahoma City or Sacramento, and you may find one mayor that
will emphasize hiring additional officers and another mayor may
emphasize midnight basketball, if they don't have a curfew for mid-
night. But, again, you have put into the local officials that respon-
sibility. And as the generals pointed out, we are answerable to our
electorate and we are subject to being discharged by the electorate.

I think that this approach is a good one. And we also recognize
that the climate is different. This legislation is going to change. It
doesn't mean that we are in criticism of last year's legislation. We
are not. We supported it. But when an opportunity comes along to
improve and to reach another plateau, then I think we should ac-
cept it. And mayors by and large are pragmatists. We are realists.
We deal with the hand that has been dealt us.

Mr. McCOLLUM. You just like this one better. You liked the last
one, but you like this one better.

Mr. Ashe. We think this portion of the bill is an improvement
over last year's version.

Mr, McCOLLUM. Some folks are going to say that now because
we merged the cops on the streets program with the grant pro-
grams and we come up with an alternate local block grant pro-
gram, that when you apply to your county commission as a sheriff
for more deputies and police, if you will, in that sense, that the
county commission is more likely to go out and do midnight basket-
ball than give you another additional law enforcement folks.

How do you think across the country that is going to prevail? Are
most county commissions and city commissions, in your judgment,
going to generally listen to the local law enforcement needs first or
are they going to go out and try a lot of fancy new prevention pro-
grams?

Mr. Peed. I think county commissioners would like the local re-
sponsibility to make these decisions at the local level. I think they
want the grant money and they want the money in law enforce-
ment. They want law enforcement officers as opposed to any other
programs.

Mr. McCoLLUM. So you are going to get your law enforcement
needs met. You are not worried about that under this program.

Mr. Macy, would you concur with that? Are you going to get your
law enforcement needs met to have this open-ended and have the
law enforcement people make the decisions?

Mr. Macy. I think it is the best program. I think that we will
have the cooperation and it gives us the chance, again, to design
programs that specifically fit the crime problem that we have. And,



227

again, I have lived in several places across the country. They are
all totally different. And a program that might be effective some-
where else, won't work in my community. And I think that if there
is an abuse, there should be a cure for the abuse, but I think we
need the flexibility.

Mr. McCOLLUM. Thank you all very much.

Mr. Schumer.

Mr. Schumer. Thank you.

And, well, I hope for your gentlemen's sake, that this works out
as well as you think it is going to, but I have my doubts. So let
me begin first with Sheriff Peed.

Bill McCollum asked you a question about whether midnight bas-
ketball or sheriffs. I am sure that in most parts of the country they
would choose sheriffs. How about lowering taxes or sheriffs? That
is the way it is going to end up here. They can use this money the
way it is written to pay for existing sheriffs out of the Federal dol-
lars and then — now I know Mayor Ashe would like that, but I am
not sure you law enforcement folks would like that. And then they
say, OK, now we can take that tax levy money from our locality
that we were using for sheriffs and reduce the property tax, also
a worthy goal. But if the choice — let's take my argument for grant-
ed — were lowering the property tax or putting on more sheriffs,
where do you think most localities would go?

Mr. Peed. I believe that the public supports increased taxes for
law enforcement.

Mr. Schumer. So you think they would still go to sheriffs. I
would submit to you. Sheriff, that in many localities, they wouldn't
go that way. I mean, some they would, but they would say, look,
we can cover more ground with the existing sheriffs, we are going
to make it more efficient. And there is nothing like the political
payback of saying we are going to reduce the property tax at the
end of the year.

Mr. Peed. That is for mayors and county commissioners to de-
cide.

Mr. Schumer. DA Macy, you even have a more difficult problem,
in my opinion, because I have found on the law enforcement end
of things, guess who gets squeezed the most? Not the cops on the
beat or the sheriffs, but the prosecutors. And I have spoken to a
few people in your association who are worried with the huge flexi-
bility, since the money doesn't go directly — as it does in our crime
bill — to prosecutors, we at least have a billion dollars that has to
go to prosecutors, that you are going to end up with virtually noth-
ing because the police are a more potent force than the DA's and
than the prosecutors.

Building prisons has some appeal, although I think that that
won't happen either. But don't you worry about that. That again,
given the fact that they could lower property taxes, given the fact
that they could raise cop on the beat — we call it cop on the beat,
sheriff — I don't know what they call it out where there are sheriffs.
Sheriff in the car? Anyway, are you worried about that at all? I
know some of your members are.

Mr. Macy. No, I am not. Maybe I am a little selfish. I have been
DA for 15 years and was just reelected. I feel like in my community
we have a good working relationship between the various compo-



228

nents of the system. And if the poHce department had a grant that
I thought would help lower crime, I would support it.

On the same token, if I have got a good program, they would
support me. And I might mention that a couple of years ago we
started an antitruancy program with the schools, police, and my
department working together.

Mr. SCHUMER. Forget what is in Oklahoma City where every-
thing may work out just wonderfully. But don't you find that
among your various members, that there is competition among the
various law enforcement groups, that there is competition for the
small amount of law enforcement dollars?

I have found lots of competition, and I usually found the prosecu-
tors ending up with the short end of the stick. So you have got a
lot of arrests, but you don't have enough prosecutions. You haven't
found that among your membership?

Mr. Macy. I am sure it exists amongst our membership.

Mr. ScHUMER. Yes, I am sure it exists, too. Well, Mr. Ashe, I
suppose if I were a mayor, I would go for this. But you know, as
you say, you liked last year's crime bill. You don't like this one.

How would you feel, Mayor Ashe, if there were no — I don't know
if I should get into that. That is not nice. I was going to ask you
about assault weapons being added on to the bill, and that would
change all your plans, but I won't. I will just throw it out into the
ether and see

Mr. Ashe. If I may first of all express appreciation for your work
last year. And we think we were very helpful.

Mr. Schumer. You were.

Mr. Ashe. And our comments in support of the flexibility provi-
sion of this bill is not meant in criticism of last year at all.

Mr. Schumer. I understand.

Mr. Ashe. It is simply a recognition, and we understand that leg-
islation is a product of compromise. I might say in answer to an-
other question, page 43 of the bill does provide that maintenance
of effort must be maintained.

Mr. Schumer. I know, but I have been in the State legislature
before I was here, and with just words like that, you mayors and
all the localities and all of them are very good at saying, oh, yes,
maintenance of effort, and then nothing comes out at the other end
of the tube. I can give you a hundred examples of that.

Mr. Ashe. I would point out it is in the law. And I might also
say that we had, in terms of taxes, I have had a tax referendum,
a referendum by the voters and took the sales tax to the people of
the city of Knoxville, and the people themselves voted to increase
their tax three-quarters of a penny, part of which was for addi-
tional police officers. And, frankly, that is how I got it passed, was
hiring additional police officers and hiring additional firefighters.
So given the right program — and I represent a fairly conservative
part of the country — voters are willing to pay more if they know
what it is going to.

Mr. Schumer. I agree with you, and I believe in dedicated taxes.
But let me ask one final question.

Would you support a provision in this bill — in New York when
we see a yellow light, sorry about this, we sort of speed up instead
of slow down.



229

Mr. Ashe. I have done the same.

Mr. SCHUMER. Don't tell anybody.

Mr. Ashe. Just between you and me.

Mr. SCHUMER. It will stay that way, Mr. Ashe, I assure you.

My quick question is this — it is a slow yellow today — what if
there were a provision in there that really toughened up the main-
tenance of effort, that said if you had 1,000 cops on your payroll
before you applied, you would have to have 1,000-plus x, the num-
ber you applied, during the period of the grant; would you support
that?

Mr. ASHE. I have no problem in a serious, conscientious mainte-
nance of effort. I can assure you that whatever funds we receive
in Knoxville, I am not going to use that to pay the 380 officers that
we currently have. People in my city know what we have today.
They would know if I was playing games and I think would hold
me accountable and would hand my opponent a very nice issue.

I have no problem with the Congress seriously looking at tighten-
ing that up. I hope it doesn't become so burdensome that we spend
all of our time with auditors. But we should maintain current ef-
fort.

Mr. SCHUMER. And go above it when you get the grant.

Mr. Ashe. And go above it, exactly. That is what I meant.

Mr. SCHUMER. Thank you, Mr. Mayor, and I appreciate all the
gentlemen's comments.

Mr. McCOLLUM. I thank you very much, Mr. Schumer,

I want to point out what the maintenance of effort means. That
what Mayor Ashe and Mr. Schumer are talking about is the ref-
erence in this bill that said funds made available under this title
to units of local government shall not be used to supplant State or
local funds, but shall be used to increase the amount of funds that
would, in the absence of this title, be made available from State or
local sources. So the idea of using this to keep from having to have
taxes or give tax breaks is clearly against the intent of the pro-
posal.

At this time, I will yield to Mr. Schiff.

Mr. Schiff. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Macy, I believe you were elected district attorney in Okla-
homa City in 1980. I was elected district attorney in Albuquerque
in 1980, and I think we had a few customers in common going up
and down 1-40, and we would call each other and say, watch out
for the next one. I don't know if you recollect that, but I remember
talking to you on the phone.

I would like to get into three things: One is simply in agreement
with what Mr. Schumer said a moment ago. And that is, I think
when we talk about the law enforcement end, without getting into
what is crime prevention, I think prosecutors and the judicial sys-
tem often get shortchanged. You don't get from police and sheriff
to prison in a due process country like ours without a system of
prosecutors and judges and juries and, where necessary, public de-
fenders, where required by law to prove a case beyond a reasonable
doubt. And each case can be an extremely expensive process.

I have watched portions of the O.J. Simpson case, as others have,
and I want to say that while the media attention is unusual in that
case, a lot of specific circumstances, motion to suppress, DNA test-



230

ing, I have seen case after case, I am sure you have also. And I
am saying there is an illustration of how much time and effort it
takes for the individual serious case to be heard and resolved. So
I want to back up what has already been said on that.

I have one question and one comment remaining. The question
is, we had Mr. Schmidt, Associate Attorney General speak earlier.
You may have heard him. And I asked him specifically about the
Youth Handgun Safety Act, which, among other things, makes it
a Federal offense for minors to possess handguns under most cir-
cumstances. It is an act that I supported and that the administra-
tion wanted. And I asked Mr. Schmidt how many prosecutions
have been under this act so far, and he said, very few, we are
working on it. And maybe we haven't had a lot of prosecutions be-
cause State and local government have the situation under control.

We have three localities represented right here, Knoxville TN,
Oklahoma City, and Fairfax, VA. I would like to know if your three
communities have the problem of violent teenagers under control,
that you don't need any Federal prosecution assistance?

Mr. Macy. Any answer to that — the juvenile crime is out of con-
trol. The children in Oklahoma City, which I consider one of the
safest cities in the Nation, are being shot down in the hallways of
their schools. They are being shot out on the streets. We have a
tremendous wave of violence, and it does involve a lot of carrying
handguns into school.

Mr. SCHIFF. So you could use some help under appropriate Fed-
eral law to prosecute violent teenage criminals?

Mr. Macy. Yes, we could definitely use it.

Mr. Ashe. The answer is, yes, to your question.

Mr. SCHIFF. Yes, you could use the help?

Mr. Peed. The answer is, yes, it is going up. But Fairfax County
is unique in terms of our population. Out of 136 jurisdictions in the
State of Virginia, we are 99th in terms of safety. We have a very
safe jurisdiction.

Mr. SCHIFF. So you have the problem of violent teenagers under
control?

Mr. Peed. It is going up, but not as significantly as say Rich-
mond.

Mr. SCHIFF. Could you use some help from the Federal authori-
ties under the law that we just passed?

Mr. Peed. Certainly.

Mr. SCHIFF. I just wanted to make sure that Mr. Schmidt had
not heard something I had not heard over the past several months.

I want to conclude, Mr. Chairman, with one observation. I think
that the point that Congressman Schumer raised that a total flexi-
bility — or the more flexibility there is in Federal grants to local
governments, speaking generically, the more possibility there is
that local government will use the funds for a purpose not intended
by Congress. But I have to say if the choice is — and maybe we can
tighten our bill, because the possibility exists — but I want to say,
unequivocally, that if it is a choice between giving State and local
elected officials, like district attorneys and mayors and sheriffs,
among others, the flexibility to use funds in their own community
as they see fit and what we did in the crime bill that passed last
year, in which we tell local law enforcement this is how you are



231

going to police and this is how you are going to prosecute, and here
is all the i's you have to dot and t's you have to cross in order to
get the grants, I will take flexibility every time.

I yield back, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. McCOLLUM. Thank you.

Mr. Scott.

Mr. Scott. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

First, I wanted to make a comment. At the end of the last panel,
one of the panelists indicated a need to do something about crime
immediately. I guess that suggested that Head Start and some
other initiatives that reduce crime long term are not quick enough.

I would point out that in hearings last year, we heard from rep-
resentatives of the Sentencing Commission that the three-time
loser bill — those who would be eligible for sentencing under the
three-time loser bill would probably get about 30 years to serve
without the three-time loser bill.

If we compared that to Head Start for young people getting preg-
nant as teenagers, 30 years from now, today's Head Start students
will be grandparents and that is when the three-time loser effect
would start kicking in. Abolishing parole only starts protecting so-
ciety after those who would be denied parole would have been re-
leased on parole. And for murderers, 5, 10, 15 years from now, and
that is — that only — it also has to be offset by the fact that when
you abolish parole, some people would be getting out earlier than
they do now. I just wanted that on the record.

Mr. Peed, you mentioned the Neighborhood Watch Program. Do
you have that in Fairfax?

Mr. Peed. Yes, we do, we have a very successful one.

Mr. Scott. Do you have any quantitative evidence that it actu-
ally works and reduces crime?

Mr. Peed. I would not say that it is quantitative in terms of
measurable information, but you can point to things, like the fact
that we have 2,000 neighborhood watches in our jurisdiction, with
maybe active citizens totaling 10,000, 12,000, ^5,000 people.

Mr. Scott. And in those areas that have a neighborhood watch,
do you notice at least a slightly lower crime rate in those areas?

Mr. Peed. There may be some other studies that point to that,
but I don't have any at hand today.

Mr. Scott. How much do they cost?

Mr. Peed. Very little. Very little.

Mr. Scott. So for whatever good it does, it costs virtually noth-
ing to get that effect.

Mr. Peed. You get lots of eyes and lots of cars and lots of people
involved.

Mr. Scott. And so if we are going to put a little money some-
where, that would be a nice place to put it, because you get a lot
of return for your money.

Mr. Peed. I would agree with that.

Mr. Scott. Are you involved in the restitution process for res-
titution?

Mr. Peed. In Fairfax, yes. We do have restitution.

Mr. Scott. Have you heard complaints from some people that
they do not get appropriate due process in determining the amount
of the restitution?



232

Mr. Peed. I never hear complaints from the offenders. I hear lots
of complaints from the victims that they don't get restitution, or
there is no way to be compensated, either civilly, or it is not court
ordered or it is not enforced collections. So I hear complaints from
the other side.

Mr. Scott. In the mandatory process, do you see any problems
in that being implemented?

Mr. Peed. No, sir, I do not. NSA supports that, and I would go
so far as even putting civil actions there in terms of asset seizures.

Mr. Scott. The provision in the bill gives the court the ability
to consider the defendant's ability to pay and only kicks in the
sanctions when they, in fact, have the ability to pay and don't pay.
Is that an appropriate process?

Mr. Peed. I believe that they should pay something, even if it
takes them a long, long time to pay and over a lifetime. We do have
a case in Fairfax where on an DWI, a victim in a DWI case was
ordered by the court to pay $1 a year for life and they have to meet
at the courthouse to pay that $1. So that guy driving that car has
to meet that family every year at the same time, to meet that fam-
ily and give them that $1. It just shows the continuous grieving
process.

Mr. Scott. Mr. Ashe, good to see you again.

Mr. Ashe. Good to see you, Congressman.

Mr. Scott. You had mentioned support for the flexibility in the
bill, and I was not quite clear, because you had expressed support
for the prevention initiatives, whether or not you supported the re-
duction in money for — in the block grant that would cover preven-
tion?

Mr. Ashe. I think to answer your question. Congressman, we are
all aware, due to the makeup of the 104th Congress, that there are
going to be changes in the funding and that the funding will prob-
ably not be as high as it was in the prior Congress.

Mr. Scott. If it is the same amount of funding, would you sup-
port a shift in the funding?

Mr. Ashe. Let me finish answering your question. We think the
proposal of letting mayors and local officials decide how they are
going to spend money, whether it is officers, equipment, or crime
prevention, neighborhood crime watches, or midnight basketball, or
whatever it might be, is a local decision that ought to be made lo-
cally, and we are very comfortable with this portion of the bill. And
that is not meant as criticism of last year's bill, because, obviously,
we supported last year's bill. But we think this is a good way to
go forward.

I think you are going to find a lot of mayors, frankly, using a
large portion of the money for crime prevention. In Knoxville, we
will use part for additional officers but we will also use it for pre-
vention.

Mr. Scott. I understand that you like the flexibility. My ques-
tion is whether you like the reduction in the total amount.

Mr. Ashe. Obviously, we don't like it, but we are not here to
argue that it ought to be reduced.

Mr. Scott. The National Association of Counties has apparently
sent the chairman a letter which opposed the reduction in total



233

funding for prevention. You would support that aspect of their posi-
tion?

Mr. Ashe. We would obviously — if the — I am not here as a budg-
et setter for the Congress. If the Congress in its wisdom can find
the money to do it, that would be great. But if the Congress in its
wisdom feels that it can't, particularly if it is reduced, it is even
more important that the flexibility be provided.

Mr. Scott. Do you have examples of prevention programs that
work?

Mr. Ashe. Well, you were asking in terms of neighborhood crime
watches, and we can provide the figures later for you, but we have
examples in Knoxville of where we have started neighborhood
crime watches, and as you say correctly, with a relatively small
amount of manpower involved, where you can compare the crime
rate today versus what it was several years ago, and there has
been a reduction in those neighborhoods. It does work.

Mr. Scott. Do you have a study that shows that?

Mr. Ashe. I wouldn't necessarily call it a study, but I will get you
the figures and provide them to the subcommittee.



Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on the JTaking Back Our Streets Act of 1995 : hearings before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, on H.R. 3 ... January 19 and 20, 1995 → online text (page 19 of 51)