PENINSULA: Law enforcement agencies lament loss of Clinton-era funding

A Bush administration budget proposal to eliminate COPS grants is a bad idea, local law enforcement officials say.

They say the move would complicate an already difficult financial situation for police agencies in Jefferson and Clallam counties.

Smaller agencies — such as tribal police departments — say they have come to rely on the partial salary funding provided by COPS, the Department of Justice's Community Oriented Policing Services program.

President Bush wants to end the six-year-old program started by President Clinton to add 100,000 police officers nationwide.

Instead, Bush proposed bolstering cash grants for equipment and maintaining personnel grants for school-resource officers.

“The COPS program was a three-year commitment made by President Clinton, and the three-year commitment has been honored,” said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer.

“Programs never go away in Washington, and that's one of the reasons the government is so big.”

The program was a six-year effort, starting in 1994 and targeting 100,000 new officers by 2000.

The full report appears in the Friday/Saturday editions of the Peninsula News. Look for it at newsstands or click on “Subscribe” at left to get your own copy delivered by U.S. mail.

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