POLICE HIRING AND REDEPLOYMENT GRANTS
SUMMARY OF AUDIT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
OCTOBER 1996 - SEPTEMBER 1998
The purpose of this report is to summarize the audit work performed through September
30, 1998 by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), Audit Division, with respect to
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grantees.(3)
The grants fund the hiring of new police officers or the redeployment of existing officers
to the nation's streets. Before providing the results of our work and our conclusion, we
present background information on community policing, the Department's oversight
responsibilities, and the various COPS grant programs and grant requirements.
B. OVERVIEW OF THE COPS GRANT PROGRAM
In 1994, the President pledged to put 100,000 additional police officers on America's
streets to promote community participation in the fight against crime and to help reduce
violence and prevent crime.(4) He subsequently signed the
Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (Crime Act), authorizing the
Attorney General to implement over six years an $8.8 billion grant program for state and
local law enforcement agencies to hire or redeploy 100,000 additional officers to perform
The Attorney General had discretion to decide which Departmental components would
administer the Community Policing Program. Management of this program entails both program
and financial management. Although the Department of Justice already had a component, the
Office of Justice Programs (OJP), that was experienced in administering grants, Justice
officials believed that a new, customer-oriented organization was needed to process the
anticipated high volume of grants. Therefore, the Attorney General established the Office
of Community Oriented Policing Services to administer the grant programs and to advance
community policing across the country. The COPS office is headed by a Director who reports
to the Associate Attorney General.
COPS has four primary goals:
- To increase the number of community policing officers on the street by 100,000;
- To promote community policing across the country;
- To help develop an infrastructure to support and sustain community policing after
federal funding has ended; and
- To demonstrate and evaluate the ability of agencies practicing community policing to
significantly reduce the levels of violence, crime and disorder in their communities.
Responsibilities of the COPS office include: (1) developing and announcing grant
programs, (2) monitoring programmatic issues related to grants, (3) receiving and
reviewing applications, and (4) deciding which grants to award.
OJP is responsible for financial management of the COPS program and is charged with:
(1) disbursing federal funds to grantees, (2) providing financial management assistance
after COPS has made an award, (3) reviewing pre-award and post-award financial activity,
(4) reviewing and approving grant budgets, and (5) financial monitoring of COPS awards.
C. THE CONCEPT OF COMMUNITY POLICING(5)
Community policing is a customer oriented approach to building partnerships between
local law enforcement agencies and community residents to make communities safe and
liveable. The Sanford, Maine Police Department described community oriented policing as:
determining what citizens expect from their police department, assessing the
capacity to meet those expectations, and working together as a community toward common
Community policing is problem solving at the level closest to the problem and directing
police resources to the neighborhood level to help solve problems and build self-reliant
neighborhoods. Community policing also involves the traditional tools of law enforcement.
The police department is responsible for the enforcement of criminal and traffic laws. The
difference between community policing and traditional policing is that enforcement
strategies are based upon priorities set by the community identifying problems and
marshaling the appropriate resources to bear on the problem. Therefore, like all policing,
community policing seeks to prevent crime and make the public safer and communities
Community policing is not just taking police out from behind desks or from inside
patrol cars and putting them on foot or bicycle patrol. According to a 1994 study, Understanding
Community Policing - A Framework for Action, prepared by The Community Policing
Consortium (The Consortium),(6) in
order for community policing to be successful, the police must: develop positive
relationships with the community, involve the community in the quest for better crime
control and prevention, and pool their resources with those of the community to address
the most urgent concerns of community members. Problem solving is the process through
which the specific concerns of communities are identified and through which the most
appropriate remedies to decrease these problems are found.
Community policing does not mean that solving crimes is not an
essential part of police work. Rather, community policing recognizes that preventing
crimes is the most effective way to create safer neighborhoods.
The concept of community policing has gained momentum in recent
years as police and community leaders search for more effective ways to promote public
safety and to enhance the quality of life in their neighborhoods. Although the term
community policing may be new, the concept is not. According to the Consortium's study,
Sir Robert Peel, founder of the London Metropolitan Police in 1829, is credited with
planting the seed of community policing in his principle that the police are "to
maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic
tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police." Since Peel's
time, a social distancing developed between the police and the communities they serve. The
Consortium's study cited the following as possible causes for the social distancing:
- Police managers assigned officers to rotating shifts and moved
them frequently from one area to another to eliminate corruption.
- Police managers instituted a policy of centralized control,
designed to ensure compliance with standard operating procedures and impartiality.
- The expanding role of automobiles replaced foot patrols and
officers who knew the residents of a neighborhood.
- Rapid telephone contact with the police through the 911 systems
resulted in police answering an overwhelming number of calls for service that left little
time to prevent crimes from occurring and limited police interaction with the community.
- Statistics, rather than the type of service provided or the
service recipients, became the focus for officers and managers. For example, data on crime
patterns and trends, incidence of crimes, efficiency of dispatch, and calculated quickness
and outcome of police response became ends in themselves.
- Random patrolling also served to further break the link between
communities and police. Police were instructed to change routes constantly in an effort to
thwart criminals. However, community members also lost the ability to predict when they
might be able to interact with their local police.
- Growing professionalization in police departments resulted in an
attitude that the police know what is best. As a result, community involvement in crime
control was seen by many as unnecessary. The primary function of the police was crime
control and enforcement of the law.
The inability to address the climbing crime rate and social
unrest during the 1960s in an effective and appropriate manner brought demands by civic
leaders and politicians for a reexamination of police practices. As a result, the
Presidential Commission on Criminal Justice in 1967 stressed improvements in policing and
community involvement as a few of the strategies to reduce the overall crime rate. The
approach of getting the community involved in reducing crime reflected a change in
thinking towards policing. Research conducted by the University of Nebraska described the
difference in organizational structure between a traditional and community oriented police
Traditional police organizational structures have been
characterized as being rigid, centralized paramilitary organizations. Community policing
initiatives mandate a change in organizational style with an emphasis on feedback from the
lower ranks and in some instances, replacing sworn officers with civilians in clerical,
technical, and professional duties.
D. OFFICER HIRING AND REDEPLOYMENT INITIATIVES
The following major grant programs were established to meet the
President's goal of putting 100,000 additional officers on the street.(7)
These grants are almost exclusively hiring or redeployment grants. Hiring grants fund the
hiring of additional police officers. Redeployment grants fund the costs of equipment and
technology, and support resources (including civilian personnel) to free existing officers
from administrative duties and redeploy them to the streets.
- Police Hiring Supplement. In 1993, prior to the passage of
the Crime Act, Congress provided funds for the Police Hiring Supplement program (PHS), a
competitive program awarding grants directly to law enforcement jurisdictions to hire
additional officers. This program, administered by OJP, provided almost $150 million as a
"down payment" towards deploying 100,000 additional police officers on the
street. One-half of the PHS funds were designated for jurisdictions with populations of
150,000 or less and one-half for jurisdictions with populations above 150,000. These
grants made it possible for jurisdictions to hire a total of about 2,000 officers and
deputies. The positions are counted toward the 100,000 officer goal. Grants are no longer
awarded under this program.
- Phase I. In October 1994, the COPS office awarded its first
$200 million in grant funds, as directed by Congress, to applicants not funded under the
PHS program. The COPS office awarded Phase I grants to 392 state, municipal, county, and
tribal law enforcement agencies. These grants made it possible for agencies to hire about
2,600 additional officers and deputies. Grants are no longer awarded under this program.
- Accelerated Hiring, Education, and Deployment (AHEAD). This
program was developed in 1994 and provided funds to law enforcement agencies serving
populations of 50,000 or more. COPS AHEAD permitted agencies to begin recruiting and
hiring new officers immediately in anticipation of subsequent COPS grant funding.
Applicants were required to submit a "Letter of Intent to Participate" to COPS.
Under COPS AHEAD, about $283 million in grants were awarded to policing agencies to fund
the hiring of about 4,000 additional community policing officers. Grants are no longer
awarded under this program.
- Funding Accelerated for Smaller Towns (FAST). This program
was developed by COPS in 1994 to simplify the application process for jurisdictions
serving populations of less than 50,000. Law enforcement agencies in these smaller
jurisdictions were only required initially to submit a one-page, fill-in-the-blank
application form to apply for a grant. Under COPS FAST, about $394 million in grants were
awarded to policing agencies to fund the hiring of more than 6,000 officers and deputies.
Grants are no longer awarded under this program.
- Universal Hiring Program (UHP). This program is open to all
law enforcement agencies, regardless of the jurisdictions' population. All hiring grants
awarded after FY 1995 are made under this program. Only agencies that have not received
another COPS hiring grant are required to submit the UHP application. Under the UHP,
recipients of COPS FAST and COPS AHEAD grants are required only to submit a UHP Officer
Hiring Request form and revised budget information to be considered for a grant. According
to COPS, as of February 1999 more than $3 billion in UHP grants had been awarded to fund
the hiring of about 42,000 officers and deputies. Grants are still awarded under this
- Making Officer Redeployment Effective (MORE). The COPS MORE
grant program is designed to expand the time available for community policing by current
law enforcement officers, rather than fund the hiring of additional officers. This program
is open to all law enforcement agencies, regardless of the jurisdictions' population.
Grants are awarded for up to 75 percent of the cost of equipment and technology, support
resources (including civilian personnel), or to pay overtime.(8)
For each $25,000 in federal funds received, agencies must redeploy the equivalent of one
full-time sworn officer to community policing. The first grants were awarded in FY 1995.
According to COPS, as of February 1999, about $967 million in grants were awarded under
the MORE program to fund the redeployment of 35,852 officer full-time equivalents. Grants
are still being awarded under this program.
- Small Community Grant Program. Although not a hiring or
redeployment grant, this program is open to communities with a population of less than
50,000. The grants supplement Phase I, FAST, or UHP grants and help to pay for a portion
of the fourth-year salaries and benefits of existing COPS-funded officers. These one-time
grants are specifically for the retention of previously funded COPS grant police officer
positions. The officers are not counted toward the President's 100,000 additional police
According to COPS, as of February 1999, COPS and OJP had awarded
about $5 billion in grants under the first six programs to fund the hiring or redeployment
of more than 92,000 officers, of which 50,139 officers had been hired and deployed to the
streets. COPS obtains its "on the street" officer count by periodically
contacting grantees by telephone.
The following table illustrates the officers funded and dollars
awarded for all hiring and redeployment grants.(9)
OFFICERS FUNDED AND GRANT TOTALS
THROUGH FEBRUARY 1999
Source: Office of Community Oriented Policing Services
E. OIG INVOLVEMENT
Since 1994, the OIG's involvement with the $8.8 billion COPS
program has included the following:
- In 1994, the OIG began working with OJP and later with COPS in
reviewing program announcements and application kits. Our focus was on applicant
eligibility and accountability issues.
- From 1994 to 1996, we performed pre-award reviews of 40
applicants. Because no funds had been disbursed, our work concentrated on whether
information contained in grant applications was adequately supported and whether community
groups and public/private agencies were consulted in formulating grant applications.
- From October 1996 through September 1998, we performed 149 audits
of COPS and OJP hiring and redeployment grants. We continue to perform additional grant
audits as our resources permit. Our audits focus on: (1) the allowability of grant
expenditures; (2) the source of matching funds; (3) the implementation or enhancement of
community policing activities; (4) hiring efforts to fill vacant sworn officer positions;
(5) plans to retain officer positions at grant completion; (6) grantee reporting; and (7)
analyses of supplanting issues.
During 1998 we also provided training to and received training
from COPS and OJP. These training sessions help to increase the OIG's and COPS/OJP's
understanding of each organization's goals and objectives.
We are currently performing a program audit of COPS' and OJP's
implementation and administration of the COPS grant program.(10)
3 Eleven of the 149 reports in this summary are
grants funded under the Police Hiring Supplement (PHS) program. PHS grants are
administered by the Office of Justice Programs and are described in greater detail in
Section D of this report.
4 The goal of increasing the number of police
officers on America's streets by 100,000 is central to an assessment of the COPS program.
Unfortunately, the issue has become clouded and confused because of conflicting statements
made by Administration officials, on the one hand, and statements made to us by officials
in the COPS office, on the other. The perception that the Administration's goal has been
to deploy 100,000 additional officers on the nation's streets by the year 2000 has been
created by statements contained in the President's budget highlights, annual reports of
the Attorney General, and statements from the COPS office itself. However, COPS officials
have stated to us that its goal is to provide funding for 100,000 cops by the year
2000. There is obviously an enormous difference between "on the street" and
"funded." This issue will be addressed at some length in our internal audit
report on the COPS program, which will be released in the next few months.
5 The material in this section was drawn from a
variety of sources. See Appendix IV for the references.
6 The Community Policing Consortium was created
and funded in 1993 by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance.
Responsibility for the Consortium has since been transferred to the COPS office. The
Consortium is a partnership of five police organizations in the United States:
International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Organization of Black Law
Enforcement Executives, National Sheriffs' Association, Police Executive Research Forum,
and the Police Foundation. The Consortium's primary mission is to deliver community
policing training and technical assistance to police departments and sheriff's offices
that are designated COPS grantees.
7 COPS and OJP do not target grants to law
enforcement agencies on the basis of agency needs. The General Accounting Office suggested
that targeting federal aid on the basis of measurable need and the ability to pay could
help scarce resources go further. ( GAO Report No. GAO/GGD-97-167, issued September 1997.)
It should be noted that at present sufficient funds exist to meet the needs of all who
have applied. Of the $8.8 billion authorized for the COPS program, only about $5.4 billion
had been obligated through February 1999.
8 Use for overtime was allowable for
the 1995 MORE grants and unallowable for subsequent MORE grants.
9 The table does not include more than
$400 million in non-hiring and non-redeployment grants that COPS has awarded.
10 See Section I of this report for a
description of the scope of our COPS program audit.