NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

C.O.P.S. Program Falls Short Of Goal

July 29, 1999

It will be impossible to meet the Clinton administration's goal of putting 100,000 additional police officers on the nation's streets by 2000, according to a report from the Justice Department's inspector general (IG). Moreover, in a new report, IG Michael Bromwich questions whether "several thousand" officers already funded under the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program "will ever materialize."

  • As of February 1999, only 50,000 had been hired, says the IG's audit of the COPS program, and, based on government projections, only about 60,000 officers -- not 100,000 -- will be deployed by the target date in fall 2000.
  • Funding 100,000 new officers by the end of 2000 is different from having that number of new officers hired and deployed on the streets, says the IG; that figure has been the publicly stated goal of the administration since proposing the 1994 law authorizing the program.
  • The IG says Justice officials now count an additional officer as soon as the department approves a city's grant request.

COPS officials say the full complement of officers funded by the $8.8 billion program will be on the streets by 2002. They dispute the IG's findings, which are based on audits of 149 grant communities that were published in April.

Source: Michael R. Bromwich (Inspector General), "Management and Administration of the Community Oriented Policing Services Grant Program," Audit Report 99-21, July 1999, Office of the Inspector General, Audit Division, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.; Kevin Johnson, "COPS Program Goal Won't Be Met by 2000," USA Today, July 27, 1999.


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