Biden Doles Out Cash Grant to Cops

By Caitlin Taylor

Jul 28, 2009 3:09pm

ABC News’ Jon Garcia reports: It’s not quite “Beer Diplomacy,” but Biden delivers money to cops While President Obama seeks peace and reconciliation—through “beer diplomacy”—with the Cambridge, Mass. police department in the wake of the Gates/Crowley affair, Vice President Biden today sought to engender good will with law enforcement by doling out nearly $1 billion to pay for more cops. “One of the places that has been hardest hit – most essential for the wellbeing of our citizens and their safety – has been law enforcement.  We can’t achieve though the goal of a stronger community without stronger police forces,” Biden said before an audience that included law enforcement officers in Philadelphia. As part of the $787 stimulus package pushed through Congress earlier this year, the federally run Community Oriented Policing Services program (COPS) will be able to help state and local law enforcement by giving them enough money to pay for nearly 4700 police officers over the next three years.  The $1 billion it will cost is only a fraction of the $8.3 billion that was requested by those agencies, but Biden says the grants will go a long way in making communities safe. “I think it is the right thing to do, I think it is the necessary thing to do and I think it is a moral obligation we have.  We ask you to go out and defend us – you’re entitled to be equipped to be able to defend us,” he said. The plan isn’t without some controversy.  Police departments in four of the nation’s major cities—New York, Houston, Seattle and Pittsburgh—won’t get a dime of the COPS grant money because the US Justice Department determined the money was better spent elsewhere. The Justice Department “developed a formula in which fiscal health factors accounted for fifty percent of our decision and crime rates and community policing plans accounted for the other half. This uniform system of evaluating applicants allowed us to review applicants in a neutral and detached manner,” Dave Buchanan, acting director of the federal program, said in a written statement.   That system takes into account things like unemployment rates and other community statistics. But New York Mayor Bloomberg said in a written statement, “To punish our police department because they have driven down crime with fewer resources shows the backwards incentive system that is sometimes at work in Washington.” The Justice department was quick to point out that New York has already received nearly $30 million of other Recovery Act money to pay for 200 police jobs. ABC News’ Jason Ryan contributed to this report.

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