WNC LAWMEN SUPPORT MEADOWS BILL TO PUT MORE COPS IN SCHOOLS
Representatives from more than 12 law enforcement agencies across the state's 11th Congressional District gathered at Hendersonville Elementary School Wednesday morning to support a bill that “transcends party lines.”
Congressman Mark Meadows introduced the Protect America's Schools Act on Feb. 15 to resurrect the “Cops in Schools” program started by President Bill Clinton in 1998. The program was cut in 2005 after placing more than 6,500 police officers in schools.
“The key is to make our students and teachers safe,” Meadows told the media inside the school library. He added that the “genesis of where this bill came from” surrounded him in the law enforcement officers who stood on either side of him at the podium.
Meadows found $134 million “unobligated” in the budget for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He proposes to use the funds to provide for an annual allotment of $30 million to assist local law enforcement agencies in the hiring of new officers to police schools.
He said that with the continuing onslaught of shrinking budgets, agencies are charged with doing “more with less,” but the unspent NOAA funds would help law enforcement agencies deal with threats that have come to the forefront after the December killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
This legislation would revitalize the Cops in Schools grant program, which has not been funded since FY 2005, and fund it at $30 million annually, Meadows said in a news release.
The CIS program, which was introduced by the Clinton administration more than 14 years ago, is specifically designed to assist local law enforcement agencies in the hiring of new officers. The $30 million to pay for this critical grant program would be offset by taking unspent funds from the operations budget of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“The recent school massacre in Newtown, Conn. sent shockwaves across the country,” Meadows said in the release. “As a father, I grieved with the families who lost a loved one that day. And as a legislator, I vowed that I would take action to prevent future tragedies.
“According to a recent Gallup poll, 53 percent of Americans believe that increasing police presence at schools would be very effective in preventing future tragedies. After speaking to local law enforcement, superintendents and principals in my district, I believe this is the best path forward.
“The Protect America's Schools Act is a bipartisan, solutions-oriented approach to addressing school shootings that should transcend party lines. It is not the only answer, but it is a critical step forward to protect our nation's children. Keeping our children safe is not only an area that both political parties can find common ground, but as lawmakers, it is our moral obligation.”
Representatives Bill Cassidy (La.), Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.), Gus Bilirakis (Fla.), Tom Rooney (Fla.), Rich Nugent (Fla.) and David Joyce (Ohio) are original cosponsors.
From blueridgenow.com and WHKP News reports