Friday, January 09, 2009

Leahy pushes for aid to rural police in stimulus

Add rural law enforcement to the list of potential beneficiaries of the economic stimulus package being prepared for Congress. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., "this week introduced the Rural Law Enforcement Assistance Act, which would authorize $75 million a year over the next five years in new ... grant money for state and local law enforcement in rural states such as Vermont and in rural areas within larger states," Erin Kelly writes for the Burlington Free Press. "The money could be used to hire and train police officers, buy equipment and fund special crime-fighting task forces. The grants also could be used for crime prevention and drug treatment programs."

Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, had several law-enforcement officials testify before his panel yesterday, all of whom pushed for restoration of recent cuts in federal support for local police. "The one dissenting voice ... was David Muhlhausen, a senior policy analyst for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank," Kelly reports. He said expanding such programs wouldn't stimulate the economy. “The federal government should not become a crutch on which local law enforcement becomes dependent,” he said. (Read more)

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