More Funds To Hire Policemen

To reach a "critical mass" of policing against illegal drugs and other street crime, President Clinton said Friday the Justice Department will provide money for 700 additional police officers to target specific neighborhoods in 18 American cities.

"We have to focus our resources on high-crime, high-need neighborhoods to bring the benefits of community policing to every area," Mr. Clinton said in a Rose Garden announcement.

"In the difficult areas, that means we have to reach a critical mass of police officers and community policing before it can make the necessary difference," he added. Offering a few examples, the president said Chicago's police department would get an extra 150 officers to fight drugs, Miami would get another 170, and Baltimore an extra 100.

"We have to do more and more to push back the frontiers of crime," President Clinton said in a ceremony attended by police chiefs and city officials from across the country.

The grants are offered under the current COPS community policing program. That program, which seeks to put 100,000 extra police officers on the streets, was part of the 1994 crime law.

With these grants, police can use the funds to target a special problem, such as drug activity or gangs, in a particular community.

Cities receiving grants are:

  • Baltimore
  • Bessemer, Ala.
  • Birmingham, Ala.
  • Buffalo, N.Y.
  • Camden, N.J.
  • Chicago
  • Cleveland
  • El Paso, Texas
  • Flint, Mich.
  • Fort Pierce, Fla.
  • Fresno, Calif.
  • Greenville, Miss.
  • Hartford, Conn.
  • McAllen, Texas
  • Miami
  • Monroe, La.
  • Muskegan, Mich
  • San Bernardino, Calif.
Those cities were chosen because they have high rates of both crime and poverty, said a second White House official.

Rep. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., an author of the community policing provision in the 1994 law, said the pilot can only help a declining trend in crime to continue.

"The crime bill was the first national policy on crime, and the results are clear: Crime is down 20 percent across America," Schumer said. "By 1999, the crime bill will have put 100,000 new cops on America's streets. That makes everyone feel safer - except criminals."

The White House said the latest grants will help bring the number of new officers to 75,000.