Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Important, Targeted Investments For Law Enforcement

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins announced today that the Senate Appropriations Committee, on which she serves, has approved significant resources for law enforcement as part of the Fiscal Year 2016 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill. The bill must now be considered by the full Senate.

The bill provides funding for many programs that benefit Maine, including:

  • $50 million toward aiding victims of human trafficking. These grants help states and local organizations enhance the services available to assist victims of human trafficking. Senator Collins has been a tireless advocate for the tens of thousands of American children and teenagers who fall victim to sex traffickers every year.

“The investments in this bill will empower our law enforcement officials to combat human trafficking and ensure that victims have the support and resources they need,” said Senator Collins.

  • $35 million toward Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS). This program consists of six regional centers serving nearly 9,000 federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, linking thousands of criminal justice agencies in their efforts to combat multi-jurisdictional crimes.

“The increased funding for RISS will support efforts to fight crime at all levels of law enforcement. Maine’s police officers, detectives, and sheriffs repeatedly tell me how effective RISS tools are in helping to solve crimes,” said Senator Collins.

  • $41 million toward Drug Treatment Courts and $5 million toward Veterans Treatment Courts. These courts can help prevent crime, reunite families, and aid individuals as they work to overcome their addictions. ?

“I have seen firsthand the difference these courts can make in helping individuals turn their lives around,” said Senator Collins. “Studies have also shown Drug Courts to be highly cost-effective investments, saving taxpayers more than $3 in avoided criminal justice costs for every $1 investment.”

  • $382 million toward the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program and $212 for Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program provides federal funding toward a broad range of activities to prevent and control crime. This funding includes research aimed at identifying new ways to reduce crime and restore vitality in troubled neighborhoods. The COPS program helps state and local law enforcement offices recruit, train, and retain police officer positions. This funding also supports several anti-drug task forces that help meet the need for additional resources and training to address these crimes.

“This investment signifies a strong commitment to the men and women who are fighting crime and protecting our communities every day,” said Senator Collins. “It is critically important that we provide law enforcement with the tools and resources required to not only keep our neighborhoods safe, but also to identify and integrate new methods that have proven successful.”

  • $22.5 million toward the Bulletproof Vests Partnership Grant Program. This program provides matching federal grants to state and local authorities to purchase bulletproof vests for officers on the street. In 2014, Maine received more than $143,000 through this program, supporting 48 jurisdictions and purchasing over 400 vests for police.
  • $7 million toward Anti-Heroin Task Forces. These task forces provide additional resources to help law enforcement address heroin and prescription opioids abuse.