The COPS Program has helped precipitate the policing brutality and budgetary crisis that we find ourselves in today. The so-called “Community Oriented Policing Services” or “COPS” program was a key component of the 1994 Crime Bill. Over the last 25+ years, on top of billions from other federal programs, COPS has funneled over $19 billion to state and local governments that have increased the presence and harm of policing nationwide, and in Black communities particularly.
- Some estimates show that the COPS Program directly contributed to the hiring of an additional 100,000 police officers nationwide.
- Congress keeps spending money on policing, instead of on communities, including just recently authorizing another $300 million a year towards the program.
- Attorney General Bill Barr and President Donald Trump are using the COPS program to send federal law enforcement agents into Black and brown communities through something called “Operation Relentless Pursuit.”
- The COPS program has also fueled the school-to-prison pipeline by funneling more than $1 billion to the expansion of policing and surveillance infrastructure in public schools and putting thousands of police officers inside of schools.
In addition to ending the COPS Program, Congress needs to immediately end the 1033 Program, which allows the federal government to transfer dangerous and aggressive military equipment and assets to local police departments, and stop sending additional billions of dollars to police departments through the Byrne Jag program.
We must use our voices NOW to let Congress know that they should no longer spend our money on policing, and should instead direct those billions of dollars towards supporting alternatives to policing and funding of vital resources that actually keep our communities safe.