Sen. Chris Coons secured funding for law enforcement priorities, including support for the Bulletproof Vest Partnership, Children’s Advocacy Centers, the Byrne-JAG program, Missing and Exploited Children programs and the Community Oriented Policing Services program in the remaining appropriations bills for fiscal 2019, which passed the Senate and House Feb. 14 with strong, bipartisan support.
President Donald Trump signed the legislation into law Feb. 15.
“Serving on the Appropriations Committee is an honor, but it’s also a unique opportunity that allows me to fight for funding and programs that are important to Delaware,” said Coons. “As co-chair of the Senate Law Enforcement Caucus, I’m particularly proud that I was able to secure funding for important programs like the COPS program, the Bulletproof Vest Partnership and the Byrne-JAG program that keep our men and women of law enforcement safe. I’m very glad that we also secured funds for Children’s Advocacy Centers and Missing and Exploited Children programs that help children and families who have endured the unthinkable.”
Coons fought for the $22.5 million appropriations to the Victims of Child Abuse Act, which helps fund Children’s Advocacy Centers in the U.S. Delaware has three CACs, one in each county. Delaware’s CACs served more than 1,600 children and conducted more than 1,500 forensic interviews last year.
Coons also fought for $82 million to fund Missing and Exploited Children programs across the country and in Delaware. A portion of this funding will be dedicated to investing in the technology needed to keep pace with the evolving threat against children and will be used to assist law enforcement in protecting child victims of trafficking and sexual abuse.
This appropriations bill also supports numerous programs that Delaware’s law enforcement has come to rely on. Coons, co-chair of the Senate Law Enforcement Caucus, was pleased to see $25 million in funding for the Bulletproof Vest Partnership. Since 1999, the BVP has provided more than $350 million in federal funds for more than 1.3 million vests. Additionally, the Byrne-JAG program is funded at $423.5 million, an increase of $8 million more than the fiscal 2018 level and $21.5 million more than the president’s request.
Additionally, the bill supported more than $228.5 million in funding for Community Oriented Policing Services. Community policing begins with a commitment to building trust and mutual respect between police and communities. It is critical to public safety, ensuring that all stakeholders work together to address crime in the community. Since 1994, the COPS Office has invested more than $14 billion to help advance community policing.
The appropriations bill includes $10.11 billion for the U.S. Coast Guard, which will support a robust U.S. Coast Guard operations and support the budget, including additional military personnel. Coons fought to secure additional funding for the U.S. Coast Guard Shore Facilities and Aids to Navigation account at $255 million. This funding will help vessels navigate safely and efficiently when moving cargo on America’s waterways. Coons is hopeful a portion of this funding will be directed to the repair of the many priority aids to navigation on the Delaware River.
The bill includes about $417 million for anti-drug programs, which is $1 million more than the fiscal 2018 level and $388 million more than the president’s budget request.
The Senate bill rejects the president’s proposed move of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas and the Drug-Free Communities programs from ONDCP to other agencies. The HIDTA Program is funded at $280 million, the same level as 2018. The DFC program is funded at $100 million, a $1 million increase over the fiscal 2018 enacted level.
The bill includes $7.25 billion in discretionary funding for the U.S. Courts, which is $142 million more than the fiscal 2018 level and $29 million more than the president’s budget request. The Defender Services account is funded at a level of $1.150 billion, $72 million more than the fiscal 2018 enacted level.