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Administration Registers Support for COPS Funding; Pasadena Police Chief to Head COPS Office

By Laura DeKoven Waxman
October 12, 2009

The Obama Administration used its October 5 Statement of Administration Policy on the Senate version of the FY 2010 Commerce-Justice'science appropriations bill to call for additional funding for the COPS program this year. The policy states, “The Administration is concerned about the adequacy of funds provided for key initiatives such as the COPS Hiring Grants Program and the Prisoner Reentry Initiative and additional funds are needed to maintain critical technology initiatives. Unfortunately, the Committee has only provided one third of the funding requested for the COPS Hiring Grant Program. By providing the Administration’s full request for this program, more than 1,500 police could be hired – or kept in their jobs – in cities and towns across the country.”

COPS hiring grants would be funded at $100 million in the Senate bill; the House bill would provide $298 million, the same amount the Administration requested in its FY 2010 budget proposal. Reentry programs would be funded at $50 million in the Senate bill; the House bill would provide $100 million, also the same amount the Administration requested. The Conference of Mayors has called for funding of COPS of at least $1 billion per year and full funding of the Second Chance Act, which authorizes the reentry programs.

Also on October 5, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the appointment of Pasadena (CA) Police Chief Bernard Melekian as Director of the COPS Office in a speech to the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Denver. Melekian has served as Pasadena’s chief since 1996. Prior to that he served in the Santa Monica Police Department for 23 years, and during his tenure there was awarded the Medal of Valor in 1978 and the Medal of Courage in 1980. “Because Bernie comes from your ranks, you can be certain that he shares your goals and understands your needs. And I know that he will be a tremendously effective link between Washington and the cities and towns where you serve,” Holder said.

The position is not subject to confirmation; Melekian is expected to begin serving as Director later in November.