Nevada police protest federal COPS cut

WASHINGTON -- Nevada's largest police organization on Wednesday protested a Republican plan to terminate a federal grant program long popular with local law enforcement agencies.

The Las Vegas Police Protective Association sought to pressure Reps. Joe Heck and Dean Heller, both R-Nev., on the proposed GOP move to slash the COPS program.

The cut to COPS "would be devastating for the law enforcement community in Nevada and across the country," said Chris Collins, the association president. "Congressmen Dean Heller and Joe Heck have an obligation to denounce these unacceptable cuts that jeopardize the safety and security of Nevadans across the state."

Since the program was initiated during the Clinton administration, Collins said Nevada enforcement agencies have received $69.8 million.

COPS grants have funded 456 officers and sheriffs deputies, and allowed for the purchase of computers and communications equipment "that allow officers to spend more time on the streets."

"These grants have strengthened the ability of police officers from more than 61 local and state law enforcement agencies to work together to increase the safety of our residents as well as our tourists," Collins said in a statement.

The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday outlined a partial list of 70 spending cuts to be written into a bill funding the government for the remainder of fiscal 2011.

The House will vote on that bill next week, and could cut even more under pressure from GOP members who say the rollbacks should be deeper.

Among the listed cuts is a $600 million reduction in the COPS program that sends grants to local governments.

Since President Barack Obama had requested $600 million for COPS in his fiscal year 2011 budget, the Republican move seemingly would terminate the grants.

"Our congressional delegation needs to stand together to reject this ill-advised proposal," Collins said.

Contact Stephens Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at or 202-783-1760.