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.


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 community policing.

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:

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.


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 goals.

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 healthier.

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:

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 department as:

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.


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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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 program.

  6. 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.

  7. 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 officers goal.

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)


Grant Type

Officers Funded
PHS 2,003 $148,421,993
PHASE I 2,570 $189,027,136
AHEAD 3,976 $282,944,668
FAST 6,049.5 $394,422,013
MORE 35,851.7 $966,924,476
UHP 41,874 $3,027,412,482
TOTAL 92,324.2 $5,009,152,768

Source: Office of Community Oriented Policing Services



Since 1994, the OIG's involvement with the $8.8 billion COPS program has included the following:

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.