BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) — Congressman Anthony Brindisi (NY-22) announced a plan to double police department funding through the Department of Justice’s COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) hiring program.
Brindisi told the Associated Press he will do so by adding an amendment to a government spending bill that would double the funding for the COPS hiring program.
“We have a three-pronged crisis right now that is going to demand a surge in federal COPS grant funds to give police departments the tools, training and teams they’ll need to serve and protect,” Brindisi said.
In 2020, the grant program distributed more than $350 million to police departments across the country. Brindisi said the plan would raise that budget to around $700 million.
The Democrat, who represents parts of the Southern Tier and Central New York, including Binghamton and Utica, said COVID-19 has decimated local budgets in his district.
“In districts across the country, retirements in police departments also loom and filling those positions will require dollars,” Brindisi said. “Even more, many communities are now conceiving what their own departments will look like in the future, and we have to help them fund that process.”
In June, Binghamton received a $250,000 grant from COPS to hire two new police officers. Police departments across New York state will have to draft and adopt plans to address racial bias by April 2021 or risk losing state funding, per Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative.
Brindisi is up for reelection in November. His opponent, Republican Claudia Tenney, called the move a “phony proposal,” pointing to those in the Democratic party who have pushed police reform, including Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“Anthony Brindisi is desperate to hide his anti-police record from voters – now that polls reveal our communities support our police,” Tenney said. “Brindisi knows that his ‘defund the police’ allies like AOC and Nancy Pelosi will kill this bill.”
Tenney spoke alongside local Republican leaders at a “Back the Blue” rally held by the New York Republican Party in Vestal earlier this month. She has the endorsement of the New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association.
Brindisi said he expects to see bipartisan support for the amendment.