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Schumer Says COPS Funding Would Restore Police Jobs

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – U.S. Senator Charles Schumer is proposing an ambitious plan to restore cuts to the Community Oriented Policing Services program, known as COPS. He says it would help Buffalo restore cuts to its police force.

"If there is any place in this whole country that needs the COPS program, it's Buffalo," Schumer said.

The New York Democrat wants to stop the Bush Administration's proposed cuts to the COPS program. He says COPS helps cities like Buffalo hire police officers. The President wants to redirect the funding to homeland security in the war against terrorism. But Schumer says cities still need to fight crime on the streets.

Schumer says Buffalo has already suffered police layoffs due a fiscal crisis and cannot afford to lose funding from the COPS program. He is proposing legislation that would provide Buffalo with $3.6 million to hire 48 officers. The Senator admits it will be an "uphill battle" but believes there's enough support.

"We have a darn good chance to do this," Schumer asserted. "Fortunately, when we wrote the COPS bill, we included the whole country. We made sure that some suburban police departments and smaller towns here in Erie County would get the money. So we are getting an outcry from one end to another. The need is greater here because of the fiscal crisis and border, but everywhere in the country they are feeling it."

Mayor Masiello says if the COPS money is restored, his first priority would be to bring back officers he was forced to lay off last week.

"This COPS money, as the senator has articulated, will go a long way to first and foremost put back the personal we had in the police department," Masiello said. "It will also augment the department with technology and other resources to help them fight crime."

Schumer expects the proposed legislation to hit the House floor this month. If COPS funding is cut, he said Buffalo would lose almost $2 million.