DENVER – Attorney General John Suthers joined fifty-one other attorneys general in expressing concerns over the proposed substantial reductions in federal spending for state law enforcement and crime victims’ assistance in the Administration’s fiscal year 2007 budget request.
As chairman of the National Association of Attorneys General Law Committee, Suthers signed onto a letter submitted to Congress by the Association last Friday, the last weekday of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. The letter calls on Congress to fully fund the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program and the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), which assist state and local law enforcement in combating crime and violence in their communities.
“Funding these programs is crucial to ensure that our law enforcement has the adequate means to protect our citizens and assist victims,” said Suthers.
The letter also calls on Congress to preserve the Crimes Victims Fund, created as part of the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 and funded entirely through collections from federal criminal fines. The current Administration budget seeks to rescind the balances in the Crime Victims Fund, resulting in the loss of over one billion in funding available for crime victims’ services.
“I am pleased to join my colleagues in calling on Congress to put law enforcement and victims’ assistance at the top of their priorities. As National Crime Victims’ Rights Week comes to a close, we must renew our commitment to provide services to the innocent victims of crime,” said Suthers.
The restoration of the funds to the JAG and COPS programs has received widespread support from law enforcement and national criminal justice groups, including the National District Attorneys Association and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Similarly, several groups have insisted that funding for the Crime Victim Fund remain intact. Groups supporting this measure include the National Center for Victims of Crime and the American Probation and Parole Association.