"Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2004" (H.R. 2763) continues
Congress' penchant for lavishly spending taxpayer dollars on
wasteful and ineffective programs.
prominent example is the Office of Community Oriented Policing
Services (COPS), which Congress proposes to fund at a level of 4.6
times more than the Bush Administration's budget request.
Instead, Congress should follow the
President's recommendations regarding eliminating grants to pay for
the salaries of state and local police officers and reducing
overall funding for COPS because it is supported by an abundance of
COPS program has failed as a crime-reduction policy.
COPS program did not meet its goal of placing 100,000 additional
officers on the street.
There is little to suggest that the COPS program has significantly
advanced the community policing movement, which began several years
before COPS was created.
COPS program misused taxpayer dollars by producing a self-serving
evaluation of its effectiveness and presenting the study as
Further, a review of the U.S. General Accounting Office found that
the COPS-funded evaluation was poorly designed and the findings can
be interpreted as "equivocal, inconsistent, and inconclusive."
Instead of following President Bush's recommendation and
recognizing the failure of COPS to be an effective program,
Congress intends to appropriate over $756 million for COPS-$593
million above the President's request. With new spending by the
federal government since 2001 growing at an alarming rate-55
percent of this new spending is unrelated to the war on terrorism-Congress can
start practicing fiscal discipline by following the President's
recommendation for COPS.
President's FY 2004 budget proposal wisely concluded:
government-a government responsible to the people whose dollars it
takes to fund its operations-must have as its core purpose the
achievement of results. No program, however worthy its goal and
high-minded its name, is entitled to continue perpetually unless it
can demonstrate it is actually effective in solving problems.
Programs such as COPS with
a long history of poor performance are prime candidates for
reductions because they not only have failed to achieve their
goals, but also have assigned to the federal government functions
that fall within the expertise, jurisdiction, and constitutional
responsibilities of state and local governments.
David B. Muhlhausen,
Ph.D., is a Senior Policy Analyst in the Center for
Data Analysis at The Heritage Foundation.
Office of Management and
Budget, Budget of the United States Government: Fiscal Year
2004--Appendix (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office,
2003), pp. 643-644, at
www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2004/pdf/appendix.pdf (April 8,
Gareth Davis, David B.
Muhlhausen, Dexter Ingram, and Ralph Rector, "The Facts About COPS:
A Performance Overview of the Community Oriented Policing Services
Program," Heritage Foundation Center for Data Analysis Report No.
CDA00-10, September 25, 2000, at www.heritage.org/research/crime/cda00-10.cfm;
and Christopher S. Koper, Jeffrey A Roth, and Edward Maguire,
"Putting 100,000 Officers on the Street: Progress as of 1998 and
Preliminary Projections Through 2003," in National Evaluation of
the COPS Program: Title I of the 1994 Crime Act, eds. Jeffrey A.
Roth, Joseph F. Ryan, Stephen J. Gaffigan, Christopher S. Koper,
Mark H. Moore, Janice A. Roehl, Calvin C. Johnson, Gretchen E.
Moore, Ruth M. White, Michael E. Buerger, Elizabeth A. Langston,
and David Thatcher (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice,
Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice, 2000),
Jihong "Solomon" Zhao and
Quint Thurman, A National Evaluation of the Effect of COPS
Grants on Crime from 1994 to 1999, University of Nebraska at
Omaha, December 2001, p. 20. The report was subsequently published
as Jihong "Solomon" Zhao, Matthew C. Scheider, and Quint Thurman,
"Funding Community Policing to Reduce Crime: Have COPS Grants Made
a Difference?" Criminology and Public Policy, Vol. 2, No. 1
(November 2002), pp. 7-32.For
background information on the COPS-funded study, see Muhlhausen,
"Why the Bush Administration is Right on COPS."
Laurie E. Ekstrand, "Technical
Assessment of Zhao and Thurman's 2001 Evaluation of the Effects of
COPS Grants on Crime," U.S. General Accounting Office, GAO-03-867R,
June 12, 2003, p. 4. For a
review of the GAO report, see David B. Muhlhausen, "GAO Critiques
Research Touting COPS Program Effectiveness" Heritage
Foundation WebMemo #313, July 16, 2003, at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Crime/wm313.cfm.