80th Annual Meeting

WHEREAS, in 1994 Congress passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, and authorized the expenditure of $8.8 billion over six years through the newly created Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) within the United States Department of Justice; and

WHEREAS, between 1995 and 2002 approximately $1 billion was annually appropriated to the COPS office for the creation of law enforcement jobs and the creation of law enforcement initiatives; and

WHEREAS, in Fiscal Year 2009, the COPS Office was appropriated over $1 billion to fund the hiring, re-hiring and retention of nearly 5,000 law enforcement positions; and

WHEREAS, the COPS Office was appropriated only $243 million in Fiscal Year 2011 and $111 million in Fiscal Year 2012 for COPS hiring grants; and

WHEREAS, since it was established the COPS Office has funded over 123,000 officers and deputies; and

WHEREAS, the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) provides local governments, states and tribes with critical funding necessary to support a range of program areas including law enforcement, prosecution and courts, crime prevention and education, corrections and community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, planning, evaluation, technology improvement, and crime victim and witness initiatives; and

WHEREAS,  local police departments are able to use the flexible funding which Byrne JAG provides to address their greatest needs, fill gaps, and test emerging and evidence-based approaches to local public safety challenges; and

WHEREAS, in 2001 Congress passed the Floyd D. Spence National Defense Authorization Act in which it created the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program, which is administered by the Department of Homeland Security; and

WHEREAS, the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program is designed to provide federal grants directly to local fire departments and Emergency Medical Services organizations to help address a variety of equipment, trainings and other firefighter-related needs; and

WHEREAS, in 2004, in response to concerns over the adequacy of firefighting staffing, Congress enacted the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Act as part of the 2004 National Defense Authorization Act; and

WHEREAS, the SAFER grants, which are administered by the Department of Homeland Security, are designed to improve and/or restore local fire departments' staffing and deployment capabilities in order to more effectively respond to emergencies, lower response times, and ensure personnel are appropriately trained for emergency scenes; and

WHEREAS, the priorities for the 2011 SAFER grant are to rehire laid-off firefighters, retain firefighters who may be laid off and to fill firefighter positions that were not filled due to economic factors; and

WHEREAS, since 2001, the AFG Program has awarded nearly $6 billion in grants and since 2005 the SAFER grant has awarded over $1.8 billion in grants to fire departments around the United States; and

WHEREAS, the grants awarded through the COPS office, Byrne JAG, AFG, and SAFER programs provide valuable assistance in ensuring public safety throughout the nation and have the overwhelming support of the nation's Mayors; and

WHEREAS, the economic downturn has resulted in many municipalities having to cut police services, and many of those municipalities have seen a rise in their crime rate; and

WHEREAS, the economic downturn has resulted in many municipalities having to cut firefighting services, and many of those municipalities have seen a rise in their fire and emergency services response times; and

WHEREAS, dedicating resources to maintaining and replenishing public safety departments in the nation's cities will act as a catalyst for economic growth;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors reaffirms its strong support for the COPS, Byrne Jag, AFG and SAFER federal grant programs, which support the nation's police and fire services; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the U.S. Conference of Mayors urges Congress in setting federal budget priorities for Fiscal Year 2013, to place public safety first and increase funding for these four programs which are so critical to the safety of our cities.