Conyers Introduces “Shield Our Streets Act” to Bolster Cash-Strapped Local Law Enforcement & Safeguard Our Communities
(WASHINGTON) – Today, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), joined by cosponsors Representative Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security Subcommittee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Representative Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), and Representative Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) introduced H.R. 3069, the Shield Our Streets Act. As a result of state budgetary cuts, local governments face dwindling law enforcement budgets and police department resources are being stretched thin in order to make up the difference. The Shield Our Streets Act creates additional law enforcement funding grants to help law enforcement agencies and local governments continue to police and safeguards streets across the United States in spite of these budget cuts. Following the introduction of the bill, Rep. Conyers issued the following statement:
John Conyers, Jr.
“Our local law enforcement agencies and local governments face increasingly tighter budgets, so Congress must redouble its efforts to help them protect our communities from crime. Police officers are on the front lines in the fight against crime, and we need to do even more to ensure that our local law enforcement agencies are sufficiently staffed with officers and sheriffs. Local governments also need the funding and flexibility to pay for crime fighting equipment and programs which they identify as priority needs. For instance, in my district, the City of Highland Park needs assistance in paying for street lights that will deter criminal activity on its streets. In this time of austerity, it is essential that we support the brave men and women within our communities that put their lives on the line every day to maintain public safety.”
The bill creates two new types of law enforcement funding grants:
· Shield Police Hiring Grants, a new category of grants to be implemented by the Attorney General, would provide additional funding to law enforcement agencies that operate in Elevated Need Localities. An “Elevated Need Locality” is a county (or unit of local government which is not part of a county) which (1) has a crime rate above the national average, and (2) has had budget reductions during the most recent 5-year period. These law enforcement agencies could apply to the Attorney General to receive funds to hire law enforcement officers, or to rehire officers who have been laid off due to budget reductions.
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