AG (202) 514-2008 TDD (202) 514-1888

ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO ANNOUNCES INNOVATIVE CRIME BILL COMMUNITY POLICING PROGRAM TO COMBAT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE Program Could Be Imperiled By Upcoming Congressional Votes ALEXANDRIA, VA -- Attorney General Janet Reno today announced a new national initiative to provide funding for innovative community policing efforts aimed at reducing incidents of domestic violence. The announcement of the $10 million Community Policing to Combat Domestic Violence Program followed a meeting with city officials, police and victims advocates in Alexandria, Virginia. But this and other community policing initiatives could be jeopardized if Congress makes good on its threat to eliminate the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office as it decides this month on whether to provide the funds it promised in last year's crime bill. Yesterday, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee with jurisdiction over the Justice Department voted to eliminate funding for the COPS program. "The decision yesterday to cut this program was a terrible mistake," Reno said. "The families of America, the communities of America deserve more help in fighting domestic violence. This is not the time to turn our backs on the needs of local police and the victims of crime." Under the Community Policing to Combat Domestic Violence Program, the Justice Department's COPS Office will distribute up to $10 million to local law enforcement agencies to develop and strengthen innovative community oriented policing programs addressing domestic violence. "The initiative we have started today is a new, historic step in the battle to combat domestic violence," Reno said. "For the first time in history, the federal government will work with local police departments to develop innovative programs to combat spousal and family abuse. It would be a terrible mistake to pull the rug out just as this initiative is getting its legs." Joining the Attorney General at the meeting and the announcement Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA) a leading supporter of the Violence Against Women Act, which passed as part of President Clinton's Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. The meeting was hosted by City of Alexandria Mayor Patsy Ticer.

Reno stressed that the Community Policing to Combat Domestic Violence Program will rely on the innovative ideas of local law enforcement and advocacy groups. "We don't claim to have all the answers, but by working with local law enforcement and victims advocates, we hope to help find the solutions to this terrible problem," Reno stated. The Justice Department also distributes Violence Against Women grants to the states to assist in training prosecutors, police and prevention programs and service providers who handle cases of sexual abuse and domestic violence. All fifty states have been approved for grants totalling $26 million in the current fiscal year. The Justice Department also announced today that 14 awards ranging from $53,000 to $75,000 have been awarded to Indian tribal governments in 9 states to improve law enforcement, prosecution and victim services for Indian women. The grants are particularly important because many reservations lack any services for women who are victims of domestic violence or sexual assault. Victims themselves may live miles from a shelter or safe house, and may not even have access to a telephone. Often victims must return home to their abuser because there is no alternative housing available. When the Crime Act passed last year, Congress committed to spend more than $1.6 billion over the next six years for grants to combat domestic violence and sexual assaults, yet this year, the House of Representatives has already proposed to cut $50 million from the program. The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee voted yesterday to eliminate $25 million more. Attorney General Reno called on Congress to fulfil the commitment made last year. "These cuts will mean fewer police and fewer prosecutors to fight domestic violence, rape and sexual assaults. Now, more than ever, we need to keep our promises and continue to combine national resources with local know how." ### 95-472