It’s hard to believe that 25 years have passed since the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 was passed and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services was established. We at the COPS Office are proud of the resources we’ve made available to state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement over the past two and a half decades—the grant funding we’ve provided, the officers added to our streets, and the progress made in helping advance the field through training, technical assistance, and publications. Just a few highlights and accomplishments include the following:
- The COPS Office has invested more than $14 billion in advancing community policing through dozens of grant programs.
- COPS Office funding has been awarded to approximately 13,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide, and over 130,000 additional officers have been added through COPS Office hiring funds to protect our communities.
- The COPS Office has invested approximately $945 million in American schools through a variety of grant programs such as Secure Our Schools, COPS in Schools, School-Based Partnerships, and the Safe Schools Initiative. In 2018, the COPS Office was pleased to award $25 million through the new COPS Office STOP School Violence: School Violence Prevention Program, which benefited 91 communities, 5,300 schools, and more than three million students.
- Approximately 700,000 people—both law enforcement and community members—have received COPS Office– funded training in one or more areas.
- Since 2018, the COPS Office Collaborative Reform Initiative for Technical Assistance Center (CRI-TAC) has provided critical and tailored technical assistance resources to law enforcement agencies on a variety of topics, delivering individualized technical assistance using leading experts in a range of public safety, crime reduction, and community policing topics. CRI-TAC’s goal is to provide technical assistance to law enforcement agencies that will enhance their organizational, public safety, crime reduction, and community policing effectiveness while maintaining local control and accountability for effective policing in their communities.
- The COPS Office has more than 600 published resources currently available, along with the Community Policing Dispatch e-newsletter, The Beat podcast series, and the What’s New in Blue video series.
- The COPS Office manages the implementation of the National Blue Alert Network, which supports the use and integration of Blue Alert plans throughout the United States to rapidly disseminate information to law enforcement agencies, the media, and the public to aid in the apprehension of violent criminals who kill, seriously injure, or pose an imminent threat to law enforcement.
- The COPS Office Preparing for Active Shooter Situations (PASS) program increases law enforcement and public safety by providing funds for scenario-based training that prepares officers and other first responders to safely and effectively handle active-shooter and other violent threats. Tens of thousands of first responders have received training since the inception of PASS in 2017.
- On behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice, the COPS Office manages the implementation of the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act and partners with the Bureau of Justice Assistance in heading the National Officer Safety and Wellness Group.
We simply can’t describe in detail here all the additional funding programs and innovative initiatives administered by the COPS Office throughout the past 25 years and the wide range of areas in which COPS Office funding has left a lasting impact on law enforcement and our nation’s communities. As we move forward into our second quarter-century, the COPS Office will focus on safeguarding the physical and mental health of our nation’s officers, changing the narrative on law enforcement to focus on the incredible work of the men and women who protect and serve our communities and providing assistance designed by the field, for the field. We’ll continue to examine both emerging and consistent challenges facing law enforcement, such as hate crimes, elder justice and elder abuse, the growing threat to public safety presented by unmanned aircraft systems (drones), officer hiring and retention efforts, the particular challenges in policing rural jurisdictions, and how to provide assistance to the front lines in the conflicts along our borders. Most important, the COPS Office looks forward to continuing our efforts to advance community policing, reduce violent crime, and build trust and mutual respect between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
Happy 25th Anniversary, COPS Office!