Clinton Announces New Community Policing Grants
By John King/CNN
WASHINGTON (May 29) -- President Bill Clinton on Friday announced two new sets of grants designed to expand the community policing program established in the 1994 crime bill. The White House said the steps would bring the total number of positions funded by the federal government to more than 75,000.
"We have more to do to protect our children, more to do to fight juvenile crime, more to do to keep our kids and our schools free and safe from guns and from drugs," Clinton said.
The grants included $115.6 million to 553 police departments for 1,700 new recruits for the traditional COPS community policing program. Under this program, the federal government provides 75 percent of the funding for new community policing positions. After three years, the federal grant expires and communities must decide whether to fund the positions on their own.
Separately, the president announced a new initiative in which the local matching requirement would be waived for new community policing positions in "hot spots" with repeat crime problems. The president was awarding $106 million dollars to 18 cities to hire 738 new community officers for high-crime areas.
The federal government will fully fund those positions, in response to complaints from some cities that they cannot afford the 25 percent match for the traditional COPS program. But the grants still are for three years, after which communities must decide whether to keep the positions.
Clinton promoted the COPS program as a way to get 100,000 new police on the beat, and community policing is one factor most experts cite for the declining crime rate in recent years.
So far, the White House says more than 40,000 officers have been put on the street because of the program. After Friday's announcement, funding for another 35,000 positions will be in the pipeline, meaning communities have the money but are still either training or recruiting officers.