#95

750 Administration of Justice:Eliminate the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services

Savings in Millions of Dollars
  • 2016
    248
  • 2017
    280
  • 2018
    286
  • 2019
    292
  • 2020
    298
  • 2021
    305
  • 2022
    311
  • 2023
    319
  • 2024
    327
  • 2025
    336
  • 2016-2020
    1404
  • 2016-2025
    3002

Sources

Savings are expressed as budget authority as reported on page 230 of “Analytical Perspectives, Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2015, Table 29-1. Federal Programs by Agency and Account”. Budget authority is not provided for 2025, but is assumed to increase at the same rate as the geometric mean of the previous nine years.

×

Technical Notes on Scoring

CBO Baseline

Unless otherwise noted, calculations for savings for each recommendation relies on the most recent Congressional Budget Office baseline, as found in “An Update to the Budget and Economic Outlook: 2014 to 2024,” published August 27, 2014, has been used.

Savings “Totals”

While totals for the five and 10 year savings are provided by section and for the complete set of recommendations, there are two reasons they should not be viewed as representing total savings for The Budget Book.

First, as noted in the introduction, The Heritage Foundation would recommend that the savings realized in the Function 050 Defense section would stay within the Department of Defense to strengthen the nation’s defense capabilities.

Second, the numbers cannot be deemed to represent the realized savings if every single recommendation were adopted because policy changes made in one program can impact spending levels in other programs.  Thus, the numbers in the table do not reflect any potential interactions between the various policy changes affecting spending or savings.

×

Heritage Recommendation:

Eliminate the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). This proposal saves $248 million in 2016 and $3.0 billion over 10 years.

Rationale:

Wanna save $3 billion? Cut the ineffective Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

Created in 1994, COPS promised to add 100,000 new state and local law enforcement officers on the streets by 2000. Research by The Heritage Foundation has demonstrated that COPS not only failed to add 100,000 additional officers1 to America’s streets, it was also ineffective at reducing crime.2

State and local officials, not the federal government, are responsible for funding the staffing levels of police departments. By paying for the salaries of police officers, COPS funds the routine, day-to-day functions of police and fire departments. In Federalist No. 45, James Madison wrote:

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.

When Congress subsidizes local police departments in this manner, it effectively reassigns to the federal government the powers and responsibilities that fall squarely within the expertise, historical control, and constitutional authority of state and local governments. The responsibility to combat ordinary crime at the local level belongs wholly, if not exclusively, to state and local governments.

The COPS program has an extensive track record of poor performance and should be eliminated. These grants also unnecessarily perform functions that are the responsibility of state and local governments.

Endnotes

  1.  David B. Muhlhausen, “Byrne JAG and COPS Grant Funding Will Not Stimulate the Economy,” statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee, May 12, 2009.  

  2.  David B. Muhlhausen, “Impact Evaluation of COPS Grants in Large Cities,” Heritage Foundation Center for Data Analysis Report No. 06-03, May 26, 2006. 

Wanna save $3 billion? Cut the ineffective Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

Contributing Expert

David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D. is a leading expert on criminal justice programs in The Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis. A Research Fellow in Empirical Policy Analysis at the think tank, Muhlhausen has testified frequently before Congress on the efficiency and effectiveness of law enforcement grants administered by the U.S. Justice Department.

See publications by David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D.

David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D.Research Fellow in Empirical Policy Analysis

Heritage Expert

Hans A. von Spakovsky is an authority on a wide range of issues – including civil rights, civil justice, the First Amendment, immigration, the rule of law and government reform -- as a senior legal fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies.

See publications by Hans A. von Spakovsky

Hans A. von SpakovskyManager, Election Law Reform Initiative and Senior Legal Fellow

Additional Reading