Washington, D.C. - February 18, 2011.
This week, the U.S. House is considering a budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2011. The current funding proposal expires on March 4, 2011. Analysis released today shows that the budget proposal will have a detrimental impact on law enforcement in Iowa.
Harkin’s full statement on the budget proposals before Congress can be found here.
“Cutting essential law enforcement funding is not the answer,” said Harkin. “Iowa continues to face a meth problem, with the number of meth labs up 50 percent since 2007. And, drugs and crime continue to impact our communities. Cuts to law enforcement will make our streets less safe and our nation less secure.
“There is no question that the time has come for tough budget decisions, but the smart way to bring down the deficit is for Congress to pursue a balanced approach of major spending cuts and necessary revenue increases.”
Below are some specific cuts Iowa will face in law enforcement if the House budget is enacted.
State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance by the Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs (OJP)
The House proposal cuts $250 million from State and local law enforcement assistance by the Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs (OJP). If enacted, this will result in significant cuts to essential programs that are critical to ensuring Iowa’s cities and towns are safe and drug free. Most significantly, this would inadequately fund the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants (JAG) program.
One of the most important uses of this funding is for multi-jurisdictional drug task forces, which help local law enforcement reduce drug-related violent crime and gang activity in our communities. Nationally, Byrne/JAG funding leads to over 200,000 arrests, over 50,000 weapons seized, and the breakup of over 9,000 methamphetamine labs each year.
Last year over $24 million in OJP grants came to Iowa, supporting jobs for over 90 Iowans who are directly responsible for making our state safer. In Iowa, Byrne funded drug task forces:
• Were responsible for over 2,400 felony arrests;
• Dismantled 275 gangs;
• Seized over 8,200 illegal firearms;
• Seized nearly 20,000 kilograms of illicit drugs, like heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine;
These successes show we need to continue to support this program, not cut it back.
Drug Interdiction and Counter-Drug Activities
The House proposal would cut $50 million for drug interdiction and counter-drug activities. This includes funding for 14 state counter-drug plans and five regional counter-drug training centers, to include the Midwest Counterdrug Training Center (MCTC) at Camp Dodge. Without this funding, MCTC would be forced to close its doors, and thousands of law enforcement officials would go without necessary training. Additionally, federal funding for the Iowa Counterdrug Task Force would be cut, effectively shutting down the program.
If this cut were enacted:
• Nearly 7,000 Iowa law enforcement officials would not receive necessary counterdrug training at MCTC.
• State and local law enforcement officials would not receive support such as intelligence analysis and aviation support from the Iowa Counterdrug Task force.
• Thirty jobs would be lost at the Iowa Counterdrug Task Force.
• Twenty-three jobs would be lost at MCTC.