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What’s behind Ben Cline, House Republicans wanting to defund the police?

Gene Zitver
ben cline
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I firmly support law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line to keep us safe. As a former prosecutor, I’ve seen firsthand the immense good these men and women provide for our families and communities. By opposing the foolish and reckless proposals to defund the police, we can ensure there will always be law enforcement who are ready and willing to run towards the sounds of danger.

Ben Cline’s campaign website

Never mind. Now it’s Ben Cline and his fellow House Republicans who want to defund the police.

The Republican Study Committee budget would slash funding for law enforcement and community safety through the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program.

According to the RSC budget:

COPS was created in the 1990s as a means to support state and local law enforcement agencies with expenses like salaries, court programs, and juvenile justice programs. Conservatives support our men and women and blue but should question whether the government should involve itself in state and local law enforcement, even if it is only a matter of funding.

The RSC complains about COPS funding going to big cities that cut law enforcement budgets in 2020 in favor of other programs designed to reduce crime. But if reduced spending was wrong then, why is it OK now?

One part of COPS awards grants to local law enforcement to hire officers. In 2023 the hiring program funded 1,730 new positions — the vast majority in rural areas and small towns across the country.

Instead of trying to cut this and other programs designed to aid law enforcement, perhaps Cline should help police departments and sheriffs’ offices in the Sixth District apply for these grants.

Gene Zitver is the editor of ClineWatch.