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Center for Data Analysis Report #00-10 on Crime

September 25, 2000

The Facts about COPS: A Performance Overview of the Community Oriented Policing Services Program

By , , and

Introduction

One of President Bill Clinton's priorities when taking office was to put 100,000 additional police officers on America's streets to help fight crime. On September 13, 1994, the President signed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (P.L. 103-322), authorizing the Attorney General to implement a six-year, $8.8 billion grant program to enable state and local law enforcement agencies to hire or redeploy 100,000 additional officers for community policing efforts.11 Attorney General Janet Reno announced the establishment of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) in October 1994 to administer these grants. Since then, the COPS program has developed into a set of different federal grants that had cost American taxpayers $7.5 billion by the end of fiscal year (FY) 2000.12

It is reasonable for policymakers, community leaders, and taxpayers to question how effective the COPS program has been in meeting its objective of placing 100,000 additional police officers on the street.13 As recently as August 14, 2000, President Clinton reaffirmed this objective and then took credit for having succeeded in placing "more than 100,000 new community police officers" on the streets14 (though in congressional testimony, the COPS Office sometimes redefines the objective of the program to be the funding of 100,000 officers).15 This objective has been closely tied to the overarching goal of reducing crime.16 To meet this objective, it is reasonable to expect COPS grants to be targeted to the communities most plagued by violent crime.

At a fundamental level, the issue of whether or not the COPS program has indeed achieved its goals can be addressed by analyzing two assertions:

  1. More Police. Many of the supporters of the COPS initiative assert that its grants are responsible for adding 100,000 police officers to community patrols. To test for the accuracy of this assertion, Heritage analysts estimated the number of new police.

  2. Lower Crime. Supporters also assert that the COPS program awarded grants to the communities with the greatest need. Heritage analysts tested the accuracy of this assertion by examining awards in terms of per capita population and crime rates.

Confounding the goal of putting 100,000 additional police officers on the street is the possibility that recipients will supplant the funds--substitute funds from one source for another. In the case of COPS grants, supplanting occurs when state and local governments use program funds to hire officers they would have hired using their own money if the COPS program did not exist.17 In the 1994 Crime Act, Congress specifically prohibited states and local governments from using federal funds to supplant local funds.18 Determining whether supplanting has in fact occurred is necessary for the effectiveness of the program to be evaluated accurately.

How well the Justice Department has allocated the COPS funding can be discerned by analyzing crime rates and population sizes for communities that received the grants, as well as by observing the concentration of grants among law enforcement agencies. Thus, determining whether the COPS grants went primarily to communities that have high violent crime rates, rather than to safer communities, is important to the analysis.

To answer these questions, Heritage analysts first combined U.S. Department of Justice data on the COPS grants that have been awarded to police agencies across the country with data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reports on violent crime, officer employment, and population. This merged microdatabase makes possible an analysis of crime rates and COPS grants on an agency-by-agency basis.

THE COPS PROGRAM: GRANTS AND GOALS

To meet the goal of placing 100,000 additional police officers on the street, the COPS Office developed both hiring and redeployment grant programs for state and local law enforcement agencies. (See box on "Major COPS Programs.")

Hiring grants, such as those awarded under the COPS Universal Hiring Program (UHP) and the Accelerated Hiring, Education, and Deployment (AHEAD) program, are intended to fund the employment of new police officers. These grants usually last for three years.19

Redeployment grants under the Making Officer Redeployment Effective (MORE) program usually last for one year. They fund the costs of equipment, technology, and support services (including civilian positions) so that current officers can be freed from administrative duties and deployed to the streets to accrue additional hours of community-related policing.20 After the grant period, agencies are expected to use their own monies to continue funding the positions that were created under COPS and to keep track of the extra community policing hours that result from the equipment or technology purchased.21

MAJOR COPS PROGRAMS

The major hiring and redeployment initiatives administered by the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program account for almost $5.9 billion (90 percent) of the more than $6.5 billion granted from December 1993 to May 2000.1

  • Police Hiring Supplement (PHS). Although the COPS program became official with the enactment of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act in September 1994, Congress appropriated funding for community police officers in the fiscal year (FY) 1994 appropriation bill for the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State (P.L. 103-121). Total amount awarded in December 1993: $148,000,000.

  • Phase 1. In October 1994, the COPS Office awarded Phase 1 grants to applicants not funded under the PHSprogram. Recipients included 392 state, municipal, county, and tribal law enforcement agencies. According to COPS, these grants made it possible for agencies to hire about 2,600 additional officers and deputies. Phase I grants are no longer awarded under this program. Total amount awarded in 1994: $186,000,000.

  • Accelerated Hiring, Education, and Deployment (AHEAD). Developed in 1994, these grants provide community policing funds to law enforcement agencies that serve populations of 50,000 or more. According to COPS information, about 4,000 additional community police officers were hired as a result of these grants. AHEAD grants are no longer awarded. Total amount awarded in 1995: $283,000,000.

  • Funding Accelerated for Smaller Towns (FAST). This program was developed in 1994 to simplify the application process for jurisdictions serving populations of less than 50,000. According to COPS, FAST grants have resulted in the hiring of more than 6,000 officers and deputies. FAST grants are no longer awarded. Total amount awarded in 1995: $390,000,000.

  • Universal Hiring Program (UHP). These grants are open to all law enforcement agencies, regardless of population served. Since FY 1995, most COPS hiring grants have been awarded under this program. According to COPS, as of February 1999, more than 42,000 officers and deputies had been hired with UHP grants. Total amount awarded in 1995-2000: $3,450,000,000.

  • Making Officer Redeployment Effective (MORE). MORE grants are designed to expand the time available for community policing by current law enforcement officers rather than to fund the hiring of additional officers. The program is open to all law enforcement agencies regardless of population served. Grants can be used to fund up to 75 percent of the cost of equipment and technology, support resources (including civilian personnel), or overtime. For each $25,000 in federal funds received, agencies must redeploy the equivalent of one full-time sworn officer to community policing. The first grants were awarded in FY 1995. According to COPS, as of February 1999, the program had funded the redeployment of 35,852 officer full-time equivalents. Grants continue to be awarded under this program. Total amount awarded 1995-2000: $1,147,000,000.

  • Cops in Schools (CIS). The CIS program, initiated in 1999, provides federal funds to law enforcement agencies for the hiring of community police officers for schools. Total amount awarded 1999-2000: $259,000,000.

  • Other Grants. Approximately 10 percent of COPS funding is awarded in grants for other purposes, such as research and demonstration grants related to community policing, funding to combat methamphetamine use and gang violence, and grants that encourage the hiring of military veterans. Total amount awarded 1994-2000: $683,050,831.

1. The descriptions of the programs are from prepared statement of Robert L. Ashbaugh, Acting Inspector General, U.S. Department of Justice, on the Community Oriented Policing Services Program for the Subcommittee on Crime, Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives, 106th Cong., 1st Sess., October 28, 1999, pp. 43-44. Totals for the grants are based on data in the COPS Management System for awards between December 1993 and May 2000. These totals do not include grants awarded between May 2000 and September 30, 2000. They also do not include other expenses such as administrative costs. When all expenditures are considered, the total cost of the program by the end of FY 2000 is $7.5 billion. Description for the CIS program from U.S. Department of Justice, Community Oriented Policing Services Web site at http://www.usdoj.gov/cops/gpa/grant_prog/cis/default.htm   (August 17, 2000); description for other grants from http://www.usdoj.gov/cops/gpa/grant_prog/default.htm  (August 24, 2000).


Effect on Total Number of Officers

According to FBI data in the Uniform Crime Reports, there were 87,435 more officers in the United States in October 1998 than there were in October 1993, an increase from 553,773 to 641,208 officers.22 Much of this growth undoubtedly is due to long-term trends that predate the establishment of the COPS program, such as rapid population growth during the 1980s and economic growth. Given the rapid growth in the number of officers during various periods before 1993, it is likely that a large portion of the observed growth in officer strength after 1993 would have occurred even without the COPS program.

It is difficult to estimate the total net change in officer strength that can be attributed directly to COPS program grants, but the Heritage analysis identified a set of scenarios in which the number of officers grew between 1993 and 1998 at rates similar to those seen in previous periods (see Chart 1). For example:

  • Had the number of police officers grown between 1993 and 1998 at the rate experienced between 1975 and 1993, there would have been 601,591 officers in 1998. Using the 19-year trend, the increase in officers would be 39,617.

  • During the 10 years prior to 1993, the number of officers grew at an annual rate of 1.91 percent. If growth during the 1993-1998 period had matched this rate, 608,682 police officers would have been reported in the United States in 1998. Using the 10-year trend, the increase in officers would be 32,526.

  • Duplicating the 1989-1993 trend in officers employed would result in 634,977 officers in 1998. Using the five-year trend, the increase in officers would be 6,231.




These projections, based on an extrapolation of previous growth patterns in officer employment, suggest that the number of officers at the end of 1998 was 6,231 to 39,617 higher than the historic trends would predict (depending on the period examined).23

The findings of this Heritage analysis are compatible with results of investigations conducted by independent analysts within the federal government. For instance, the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General reported in 1999 that, at most, only 59,765 additional officers would be added to the street by the end of FY 2000.24 A report from the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) found that, in its first four years, COPS had put only 30,155 additional officers on the street.25

However, the findings of the inspector general's report suggest that even these official reports are likely to overestimate the number of additional officers hired under the COPS program and put on the streets. An audit of 147 "high risk" grantee cases selected by the COPS Office and supplied to the inspector general found evidence that 41 percent of these agencies used their COPS grants to supplant (or substitute for spending) their own local funds.26 As a result, these COPS-funded officers and projects simply had displaced officers and projects that would have been funded with state and local revenues and without a net increase in officer strength.

Many of the grants made under the COPS program do not actually go toward the hiring of new officers. Rather, they are used to purchase equipment and to hire clerical employees so that sworn police officers can be redeployed from administrative tasks to community policing activities.27 These reassigned officers (or more accurately, the full-time equivalent of the person-hours freed by MORE funds) have been included in the definition of "additional officers on the street" used by the COPS Office and the White House. In fact, over one-third of the additional "officers" that the COPS Office claims it placed on the streets as of February 1999 represent grants issued for equipment and administrative staff under the MORE program alone.28

In many cases, these reassignments of officers from desk work to community policing are notional, not real. The Justice Department Inspector General's audit of a selection of "high risk" grantees found that almost four in every five (78 percent) agencies that received grants for equipment or clerical staff "either could not demonstrate that they redeployed officers or could not demonstrate that they had a system in place to track the redeployment of officers into community policing."29

In addition, these Heritage estimates are broadly consistent with data in the National Evaluation of the COPS Program report funded by the COPS Office and published by the United States Department of Justice.30 According to this report, at the end of 1998, the COPS program had increased the number of additional officers in the United States by a net total of between 36,288 and 37,523. Moreover, under their most optimistic scenario, the authors of this report found that the number of additional police officers employed due to the COPS program would peak at only 57,175 by the year 2001.

To arrive at a figure closer to "100,000 new officers on the street," Justice Department analysts include not just additional officers who are hired because of the COPS program, but also officers who have been "redeployed" to community policing activities as a result of the purchase of equipment and the hiring of civilian administrative staff.

However, even after including these "redeployed" officers, the COPS program is not projected to reach its goal of 100,000 additional officers by 2003. According to the COPS-funded report, by 1998, the program had been responsible for either the hiring or redeployment of a total of between 45,376 and 48,428 officers. Based on the same assumptions, the Justice Department researchers found that the number of officers hired or redeployed under the COPS program would peak at between 68,991 and 84,630 in 2001.

A common conclusion noted in the research of The Heritage Foundation and the Justice Department's own inspector general has been reiterated in this COPS-funded report by the team of Justice Department researchers, who note that "(w)hether the [COPS] program will ever increase the number of officers and equivalents on the street at a single point in time to 100,000 is not clear."31

Effect on Officer Strength in Large Agencies

The size of the COPS program at the national level says little about how grants have been distributed to specific communities. Studying the experience of individual police forces by examining the data for a cross-section of agencies, rather than national-level statistics, permits researchers to answer more detailed questions. For example, were COPS funds distributed to the communities of greatest need or to areas with little crime relative to the rest of the nation?

To help answer this question, Heritage analysts studied 315 of the nation's largest police forces (see Table B-1 in Appendix B, infra). By concentrating on agencies that covered more than 100,000 persons in 1998 and that reported valid crime and officer employment data for the years 1994, 1995, and 1998, Heritage analysts were able to focus on the effects of the COPS program in a variety of cities with very different crime problems.

In 1998, these 315 police departments served a combined total of 94 million persons, or 34.8 percent of the U.S. population.32 In the same year, these agencies handled 50.2 percent of all violent crimes reported to agencies that comply with the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports program.33 Between December 1993 and the end of 1997, these 315 police forces received a total of $1.58 billion in COPS grants--or 45.0 percent of the estimated $3.5 billion the COPS program had awarded by the end of 1997 to all existing police departments listed by the FBI as law enforcement agencies.34

Agencies That Reduced Their Forces
A surprising result of the analysis for the large police agencies was the number that had received sizeable COPS funding but had actually reduced the number of officers they employed.

  • The Atlanta Police Department received $15.3 million ($11 million for hiring new officers) from 1993 to 1997, but the total number of officers reported to the FBI declined by 4.9 percent (75 officers) from 1994 to 1998.

  • The Seattle Police Department received $4.4 million ($1.8 million for hiring new officers) from 1993 to 1997, but according to data the department reported to the FBI, the agency downsized by 3.2 percent (41 officers) from 1994 to 1998.

EFFECT ON OFFICER STRENGTH AMONG THE LARGEST 20 AGENCIES

Table 1 shows data for 20 agencies that received the largest amount of funding under the COPS program between 1993 and 1997. With few exceptions, the agencies with the largest awards are located primarily in central city zones of major metropolitan areas. The four largest recipients are the police departments in New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Chicago. This distribution of funding should not be surprising considering the size of the populations these agencies serve and the high crime rates they report to the FBI.

The FBI data for the 20 agencies receiving the largest volume of COPS grants strongly support the finding that federal COPS funding has had relatively little impact on growth in the numbers of officers that agencies put on the street. Given the size of their grants--from $11.1 million to $284.2 million--it is reasonable to expect that all 20 agencies had increased their officer strength substantially and that the increases in the number of sworn officers occurred largely in proportion to the amount of funding received.

However, the data these agencies provided fail to support these expectations. In fact, in the case of two of the 20 largest recipients of COPS funding, the number of officers employed actually fell. Other agencies saw only slight increases in officer strength, while police forces that received a fraction of their funding saw much larger increases in the number of officers. For example:

  • Among the 20 largest recipients of funding between 1993 and 1997, the Atlanta Police Department reported data to the FBI indicating that that between 1994 and 1998, their force was reduced by 75 officers despite receiving a total of $15.3 million ($11 million for hiring new officers) in COPS grants.

  • Although the Miami Police Department received $45.9 million ($34.4 million for hiring new officers) in COPS funding from 1993 to 1997, its force strength reported to the FBI increased by only 21 officers from 1994 to 1998. By contrast, the number of officers reported to the FBI in San Francisco grew by 363, though the city received only $13 million ($7.1 million for hiring new officers) in COPS funding. In other words, although Miami received 3.5 times as much COPS funding as had San Francisco, the increase in Miami's officer strength was less than 6 percent of that achieved by San Francisco.

Relationship Between Grants Awarded and Need

To evaluate the degree to which COPS funding has been allocated to areas that have the most pressing community policing requirements, Heritage analysts calculated "need" by examining violent crime rates and population.

COPS Grants and Violent Crime

The first measure Heritage analysts employed is the amount of money awarded to an agency for every violent crime reported in 1995. The basic premise of this calculation is that areas with large numbers of violent crimes have the greatest need for strengthened community policing and thus should receive higher levels of COPS funding.

The results of this analysis (see Table 2) suggest that there are wide disparities in the allocation of funding relative to the number of violent crimes reported, even among the nation's largest recipients of grants. In fact, funding per violent crime was found to vary enormously among the 20 largest recipient agencies. For example:

  • The Sacramento Sheriff's Department, which dealt with 1,488 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in 1995, received almost $4,400 per violent crime committed, while Nashville's Metropolitan Police Department received less than 10 percent of this amount despite a rate of 5,321 violent crimes per 100,000 residents.

  • Of the 20 large police agencies receiving the greatest awards, at least five had violent crime rates in 1995 that were below the average for the 315 agencies serving more than 100,000 residents (2,472). These include the Sacramento Sheriff's Department, the Sacramento Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the San Diego Police Department, and the San Francisco Police Department.

COPS Grants and Population Served

Heritage Foundation analysts also computed need based on per capita COPS funding for the top 20 recipient agencies for total grants received between 1993 and 1997, based on average population between 1994 and 1997 (see Table 3). The reason for using a per capita measure is that in many areas, violent crime is rare and the major function of police agencies is to tackle other serious, if less threatening, problems such as traffic enforcement, minor property crimes, and general quality of life issues.

While the bulk of these agencies can be found in jurisdictions that have high violent crime rates, a surprisingly high number are located in areas with low violent crime rates.

  • For agencies shown in Table 3, the COPS awards ranged from over $120 per person in Miami to slightly more than $30 per person in Worcester, Massachusetts.

  • There is nearly a tenfold disparity in the level of funding per capita between the Miami Police Department, which received $122 for each of the nearly 379,000 citizens it serves, and the San Diego Police Department, which received only $13 per person despite serving nearly 1.16 million residents.

In 1995, 315 police agencies served jurisdictions having over 100,000 persons and reported crime data for all 12 months of the year. The average violent crime rate for these agencies was 2,472 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants. At least four of the 20 agencies that received the largest amount of per capita funding that year had violent crime rates below this average (Sacramento Police Department, Sacramento Sheriff's Office, Knoxville Police Department, and Worcester Police Department).

Two of the agencies with the highest per capita funding were found in the Sacramento area of California. Despite having violent crime rates well below the national average for communities of their size, the Sacramento Sheriff's Department received per capita funding that was 3.8 times the average for agencies serving more than 100,000 residents, while the Sacramento Police Department received funding per person that was over 5 times this average. Among agencies covering more than 100,000 residents, the two Sacramento police forces accounted for 1.15 percent of the population and 0.82 percent of violent crimes. However, these two agencies received 4.8 percent of all COPS funding awarded in the 1993 to 1997 period to this group.

Concentration of COPS Funding 

Determining the concentration of COPS grants can shed light on which, if any, local agencies received a disproportionate share of the federal COPS subsidies for hiring new police officers. This is a particularly important factor in analyzing whether agencies that have relatively low crime rates have received disproportionately large federal subsidies--funds that could go to more pressing needs.

Although most major police agencies receive some COPS funding, by far the largest portion of grant dollars has been distributed to comparatively few police departments. While 276 of the 315 largest agencies received at least some funding under the program, the top 10 largest recipients received almost half (47.7 percent) of the monies allocated under the program between 1993 and 1997 (see Table 4). The 10 largest recipients of COPS grants serve areas that represent 21.3 percent of the population and 24.3 percent of the crime reported by these 315 agencies.

Almost half of the COPS funds awarded to the nation's 315 largest agencies over the 1993 to 1997 period was allocated to 10 agencies. However, the concentration of awards is heavily affected by the 18 percent of the total funding received by the New York City Police Department. Nine other agencies receiving the largest COPS awards were allocated approximately 30 percent of the funding distributed to the nation's 315 largest police forces between 1993 and 1997 (see Table 4). They received close to one in every three dollars awarded in COPS program funds. However, these nine agencies represent only 13.4 percent of the population and 15.2 percent of violent crimes reported in those jurisdictions.

Conclusion

At a cost of almost $7.5 billion at the end of FY 2000, the COPS program represents the federal government's most significant criminal justice initiative of the last decade. Had the goal of hiring 100,000 additional officers been realized, the effect of the COPS program would have been to federalize the funding of nearly one in every six local and state police officers, with enormous implications for the future relationship between Washington and local and state governments.

However, the COPS program has not fulfilled its goal: Far fewer officers have actually been placed on the streets than the more than 100,000 the President claims. Part of the explanation for this failure is that COPS funding has been used to supplant money that state and local authorities would have spent otherwise to hire additional officers.

Moreover, some large agencies receiving COPS funding actually have cut their officer strength since the program began. Regrettably, much of the funding has flowed to communities that have a relatively low need for additional community policing while areas with more pressing needs have received little or no assistance.

Gareth Davis is a Policy Analyst in the Center for Data Analysis, David B. Muhlhausen is a senior policy analyst in the Center for Data Analysis, Dexter Ingram is a Database Editor in the Center for Media and Public Policy, and Ralph Rector is a Research Fellow in the Center for Data Analysis at The Heritage Foundation.


Appendix A

Methodology

Test of the Trend Analysis
Heritage Foundation analysts calculated the geometric mean over several time periods to determine the trend in the total number of officers employed in the absence of the COPS program. To test the robustness of geometric mean-based estimates for the number of officers employed, we estimated a set of five Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) models35 using FBI data for the growth in the number of officers between 1975 and 1993. Depending on how they were specified, these models forecast a national sworn officer strength in 1998 that ranged between 599,571 and 618,614. The actual reported officer strength in October 1998 was 641,208.

Based on these ARIMA projections, if the number of officers grew at the 1975-1993 rate between 1993 and 1998, there would have been between 22,594 and 41,637 fewer officers. By contrast, a trend analysis based on the annual percentage growth rate of officer strength between 1975 and 1993 projects 39,617 fewer officers in 1998 than were actually employed. Based on this analysis, the difference between actual officer strength in 1998 and the numbers projected by a set of trend forecasts (see Table A-1) likely represents the upper limit of such forecasts.

Selection of Large Agencies
Using crime statistics supplied by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and funding data from the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), researchers in Heritage's Center for Data Analysis examined the experience of communities served by the nation's largest police agencies during the period between 1994 and 1998. The data used in this study are for the large police agencies that served populations of 100,000 or more in 1998. Of these 374 agencies, 59 had reported incomplete data on the number of violent crimes or the number of officers employed. These 59 agencies were excluded from this study.

Databases

FBI Uniform Crime Reports Database
Data on crime rates and population were taken from the FBI Uniform Crime Reports for 1995 and 1998. These data were obtained from the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD) at the University of Michigan's Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) Internet site.36

For the purposes of this analysis, "violent crime" includes all homicides, rapes, robberies, and assaults reported by the relevant agency. The definition of violent crime used in this report includes both aggravated assaults and simple or non-aggravated assaults. Including all forms of assaults offers a more comprehensive picture of the level of violent crime in a community than would the more typical measure including only aggravated assaults. The broader definition of violent crime also reduces measurement differentials between jurisdictions caused by differences in the legal definition of aggravated assault.

The level of violent crime within an area is reported for 1995, the middle year in the 1993-1997 period during which the grants considered in this analysis had been allocated.

Statistics on the number of law enforcement officers employed by the agencies are taken from the 1994 and 1998 editions of the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program Data Police Employee Data.37 These computer files were copied from the NACJD Web site.38 Data contained in these files are taken from the Law Enforcement Employees Report questionnaire, which the FBI sends annually to law enforcement entities. The FBI requests that agencies report their number of employees as of October 31 of that year. Data used in this analysis include only full-time sworn officers with the full power of arrest.

Due to the amount of time required to recruit and train a new officer, there is a significant time lag between the date on which a COPS-funded project begins and the date on which the newly funded officers become part of an agency's full-time sworn officer strength. In addition, although the COPS program began officially in 1994, grants for community policing operations were authorized by Congress in FY 199439 and had a starting date of December 1993. To account for these factors, this Heritage analysis is based on changes in an agency's officer strength between 1994 and 1998, and the amount of COPS funding received by an agency between December 1993 and the end of 1997. This time lag of one year allows an agency the many months that it typically takes to recruit and train an additional officer.

COPS Database
The amount and type of funding received by agencies under the federal COPS program was derived from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services Management System database. The list of grants in this database has been linked to the crime and officer employment data described above by means of a unique identification number, known as the ORI, for each law enforcement agency.40

Approximately 3,900 (26 percent) of the entities listed in the COPS Office database did not have ORI numbers that matched the ORI numbers in the FBI's comprehensive list of U.S. police agencies in its 1998 Uniform Crime Report system. Heritage researchers analyzed data on each record that could not be matched. Almost 1,000 of the previously unmatched records were subsequently identified in the FBI's list of U.S. law enforcement agencies and included in the analysis (see Table A-2).

Although great care was taken to avoid inaccurate matches, it is possible that in a small number of individual cases, the UCR data may have been mismatched to information from the COPS database. 41 Mismatches between the databases can occur as a result of differences in the way agency titles and addresses are reported on the various forms they submit.

Many of the 2,949 entities listed in the COPS database that could not be matched to a police force in the FBI's list of agencies were found to be non-law enforcement institutions that received grants for purposes such as research, training programs, fellowships, and other activities designed to support community policing. These non-law enforcement institutions do not typically employ police officers or collect crime reports.

It is also possible that the unmatched records may represent grant awards to police agencies that did not exist in 1998 and so would not appear in the FBI's 1998 Uniform Crime Reports. These agencies would have been abolished in the period before 1998 or established after 1998.

Data for all the agencies in this study apply only to individual police agencies and not to geographic entities such as counties, cities, or towns. For example, statistics for "New York " contain only data reported by the New York City Police Department (NYPD). The analysis in this study does not include funding, crimes reported, or officers employed by other police agencies that operate within the NYPD's jurisdiction, such as the New York/New Jersey Port Authority. In addition, estimates of COPS grants include only those funds that are paid directly to the NYPD as identified by its ORI code. Grants paid to other entities within New York City are not included, even in cases where this money is allocated to groups that provide services or funding in support of the NYPD's activities.

For purposes of this report, grants are dated according to the year of the starting date for the project funded. Alternative dates include the date that the application for funding was submitted and the date that the award of a COPS grant was announced. The project starting date was chosen because it represents the best indicator of when the COPS-funded project or officers actually begin the process of "hitting the street."

Appendix B

Table B-1 lists the 315 law enforcement agencies that serve populations of more than 100,000 and that reported valid crime and officer employment data for the years 1994, 1995, and 1998 to the FBI. Fifty-nine law enforcement agencies that covered populations of at least 100,000 were excluded from the analysis due to incomplete reporting to the FBI of crime and officer employment data for the years 1994, 1995, and 1998 (see Table B-2).

Table B-1
List of 315 Agencies Included in Study
in order of Rank by 1998 Population

Table B-1a 1 - 70
Table B-1b 71 - 140
Table B-1c 141 - 210
Table B-1d 211 - 280
Table B-1e 281 - 315

 
 

Endnotes

1. The $7.5 billion figure was obtained by summing appropriations designated for the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services and the Office of Justice Programs' funding for community policing grants. See Public Laws 103-121, 103-317, 104-134, 104-208, 105-119, 105-277, and 106-113.

2. See "About COPS: Rebuilding the Bond Between Citizens and the Government," U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, at http://www.usdoj.gov/cops/news_info/default.htm (August 28, 2000).

3. Press release, "COPS Office Announces Grants to Enhance Law Enforcement Infrastructures and Community Policing Efforts in Indian Communities," U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, August 22, 2000, at http://www.usdoj.gov/cops/news_info/press_releases/default.htm (August 28, 2000).

4. The authors gratefully acknowledge the role that Scripps Howard News Service played in initiating this project. Inquiries from Scripps Howard reporters about the relationship between COPS grants and crime rate change prompted analysts from the Center for Data Analysis to construct a database for this study.

5. Although the COPS program was officially created under the 1994 Crime Act, this paper references funding awarded in 1993 since Congress included funding for community police officers in the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 1994 (P.L. 103-121). The funds were awarded in calendar year 1993. The Department of Justice referred to these funds as Police Hiring Supplement (PHS) grants after the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) was created in 1994. PHS grants were superseded by a set of similar grants administered by the COPS Office. According to the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General, PHS grants were a "down payment" in the effort to deploy 100,000 additional officers on the street. See Michael R. Bromwich, Management and Administration of the Community Oriented Policing Services Grant Program, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General, Audit Division, Report No. 99-21, July 1999, at http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/au9921/9921toc.htm (August 18, 2000).

6. From a select summary of data published in the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports, U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/dtdata.htm#e&e (August 24, 2000).

7. Ibid.

8. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Evaluation of the COPS Program, August 2000, pp. 149-176.

9. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General, Special Report: Police Hiring and Redeployment Grants, Summary of Audit Findings and Recommendations, Report No. 99-14, April 1999. See also Bromwich, Management and Administration of the Community Oriented Policing Services Grant Program.

10. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General, Special Report: Police Hiring and Redeployment Grants, Summary of Audit Findings and Recommendations. See also Bromwich, Management and Administration of the Community Oriented Policing Services Grant Program.

11. Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (Public Law 103-322).

12. The $7.5 billion figure was obtained by summing appropriations designated for the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services and the Office of Justice Programs' funding for community policing grants. See Public Laws 103-121, 103-317, 104-134, 104-208, 105-119, 105-277, and 106-113.

13. David Peterson, "Democrats Take a GOP-Like Stance on Crime," Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minn.), September 6, 1992, p. A23.

14. William Clinton, "Remarks by the President to the Democratic National Convention," Staples Center, Los Angeles, California, at http://www.whitehouse.gov/library/hot_releases/August_14_2000_1.html (August 15, 2000).

15. U.S. Department of Justice, Community Oriented Policing Services, at http://www.usdoj.gov/cops/ (July 28, 2000).

16. "Part 2: Justification of the Budget Estimates, Department of Justice," Hearing before the House of Representatives, Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, and the Judiciary, and Related Agencies, 106th Congress, 2nd Session (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2000), p. 3.

17. According to the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Inspector General, examples of supplanting the COPS grants include the following: (1) "A department with vacant positions at the start of the grant period, or at any time thereafter, hires no new officers other than COPS grant-funded hires"; (2) "No timely hiring, other than COPS-grant funded hiring, is done by a department to replace vacancies created by attrition existing at or after the beginning of the grant period"; and (3) "Grant funds are used to replace, or to allow the reallocation of, funds already committed in a local budget for law enforcement purposes." Cited in Bromwich, Management and Administration of the Community Oriented Policing Services Grant Program.

18. Title I, Section 1704(a) of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (P.L. 103-322) requires that "[f]unds made available under this part to States or units of local government shall not be used to supplant State or local funds, or, in the case of Indian tribal governments, funds supplied by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, but shall be used to increase the amount of funds that would, in the absence of Federal funds received under this part, be made available from State or local sources, or in the case of Indian tribal governments, from funds supplied by the Bureau of Indian Affairs."

19. Prepared statement of Robert L. Ashbaugh, Acting Inspector General, U.S. Department of Justice, on the Community Oriented Policing Services Program for the Subcommittee on Crime, Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives, 106th Cong., 1st Sess., October 28, 1999, p. 42.

20. See U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, at http://www.usdoj.gov/cops/gpa/grant_prog/more98/default.htm (August 23, 2000).

21. Ashbaugh, prepared statement, p. 42.

22. U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reports, 1975 to 1998. From U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/dtdata.htm#e&e (August 24, 2000).

23. By using an Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) model to analyze these numbers, it was found that these extrapolation-based calculations likely represent the upper limit of the degree to which the number of officers in 1998 exceeded the trend. See Appendix A, infra.

24. Bromwich, Management and Administration of the Community Oriented Policing Services Grant Program.

25. Norman Rabkin, Report to the Chairman, Committee on the Budget, and the Chairman, Subcommittee on Crime, Committee on the Judiciary House of Representatives: Community Policing, Issues Related to the Design, Operation, and Management of the Grant Program, GAO/GGD-97-167, September 1997, p. 4.

26. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General, Special Report: Police Hiring and Redeployment Grants, Summary of Audit Findings and Recommendations.

27. For more details of these programs, see p. 6.

28. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General, Special Report: Police Hiring and Redeployment Grants, Summary of Audit Findings and Recommendations. See also Bromwich, Management and Administration of the Community Oriented Policing Services Grant Program.

29. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General, Special Report: Police Hiring and Redeployment Grants, Summary of Audit Findings and Recommendations.

30. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Evaluation of the COPS Program, pp. 149-176.

31. Ibid., p. 18.

32. The 94 million population figure was obtained by summing the populations served by the 315 law enforcement agencies in the study.

33. For purposes of this study, violent crimes are defined as offenses of murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and assault. See Kathleen Maguire and Ann L. Pastore, eds., Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics 1998 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1999), p. 261.

34. For purposes of this study, police agencies are defined as agencies listed in the 1998 Uniform Crime Reports. See Appendix A, infra.

35. Robert Pindyck and Daniel Rubinfeld, Econometric Models and Economic Forecasts (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1983).

36. See the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD) at the University of Michigan's Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/NACJD/archive.html

37. The original data are from U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reporting Program Data [United States]: Police Employee Data 1994 and 1999. The 2000 version of the computer files is produced and distributed by the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

39. Although the COPS program was officially created under the 1994 Crime Act, this paper references funding awarded in 1993 since Congress included funding for community police officers in the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 1994 (P.L. 103-121).

40. An originating number (ORI) is assigned by the FBI to law enforcement agencies to track agency information.

41. Previous researchers have found errors and discrepancies in both Uniform Crime Reports data and the COPS management system. For example, see John R. Lott, More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun-Control Laws (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998). See also "Did the 'COPS' Program Add 100,000 Officers to America's Streets?" at http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ws/0,1246,28611,00.html (August 24, 2000) and U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Evaluation of the COPS Program, pp. 278-280.

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