Letter writing

Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, today sent a second letter to the Department of Justice encouraging it to fund the Stockton Police Department’s request for aid. His first letter failed to do the trick.

 

Here is Round 2:

 

July 1, 2009

Attorney General Eric Holder

U.S. Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20530-0001

Dear Attorney General Holder:

I recently learned that the Department of Justice informed the City of Stockton that if any stimulus funds are made available from the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Recovery Program, it will provide funding for no more than 20 officers.  I also understand that at this point in time, the Department of Justice has not made a decision as to whether Stockton will receive any funding at all. 

I was also informed by your office that the decision to cap available funding reflects the Department’s prioritization of resources for large cities, a choice that comes at the expense of communities like Stockton.  I am writing to express my deep disappointment in the Department’s decision and to urge you to quickly provide the maximum amount of available funding to Stockton, which faces a shortfall of several dozen officers. 

Stockton has suffered tremendously during this economic downturn, and problems such as a high rate of foreclosures have been compounded by a high crime rate.  Stockton’s residents can ill-afford to lose a substantial number of police officers.  Stockton’s police officers perform heroically, but a reduced police force will be less able to serve the city’s needs.  Although Stockton is a medium-size city, it suffers from the second-highest rate of violent crime in California and the eighth-highest in the nation. 

Stockton’s residents deserve the same level of public safety as those in larger cities.  I would like to know how the COPS program came to the decision to distribute funding based on sworn police force size, and whether or not other factors such as crime rate were considered prior to instituting the funding cap.

Although predominantly supported by local revenue, federal funding for law enforcement is important to quality of life, economic well-being, and public safety in Stockton.  I urge you to consider Stockton’s unique needs when evaluating its application and to recognize the importance of an adequately staffed police force for its future.  I also strongly encourage you, or a senior representative from the Department of Justice, to visit Stockton to see firsthand the importance of continued support for the city’s public safety programs. 

I appreciate your consideration of this letter, and I urge you to provide as much funding to Stockton as possible.  Please do not hesitate to contact me or Shilpa Rajan of my staff at (202) 225-1947 if you have any questions.  I look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,

Jerry McNerney

Member of Congress

Cc: Tim Quinn, Acting Director of the COPS program

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