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October 9, 1998

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Six years ago, some said crime was a problem we just could not fix. Today, because of our efforts, crime has dropped across the board to its lowest level in a generation, and respect for the law is on the rise. Our nation's law enforcement officers are at the center of that extraordinary success. They are cracking down on gun traffickers and working to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. They are working with local school authorities to promote school safety, and they are walking the beat and working with residents to prevent crime from happening in the first place.

President Bill Clinton
October 9, 1998

Today at the White House, President Clinton will honor this year's "Top Cops" -- an award given by the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) to pay tribute to law enforcement officers from across the country for service to the community during the preceding year. This year, 34 exceptional law enforcement officers from ten jurisdictions will receive this distinguished award. At the event, the President will announce the release of grants that will help communities hire more police officers and states improve their criminal history records.

Working To Keep Streets Safe And Stop Illegal Handgun Sales. The President will announce that the Justice Department's COPS Program will award grant money for 151 policing agencies across the country to hire 428 law enforcement officers. Today's announcement will bring the total number of officers funded under the President's COPS Initiative to over 88,500 -- keeping the COPS Initiative of 100,000 new officers ahead of schedule and under budget. The President will also announce the release of grant money through the Justice Department for states to improve their criminal history records, which will enhance the effectiveness of the Brady Law's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The President remains opposed to efforts in Congress to undermine the effective and timely implementation of NICS, which is scheduled to come on-line next month.

New Tools To Support Law Enforcement And Safe Communities. At today's event, the President will announce his intention to sign bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators DeWine (R-OH) and Leahy (D-VT) to provide $1.25 billion in funding to states over the next five years to upgrade communications technologies and criminal justice identification systems. In addition, this bill includes a proposal called for by the President to create a national compact on the electronic exchange of criminal history records for non-criminal justice purposes, such as employment checks on day care and elder care workers.

President Clinton: A Strong And Consistent Record Of Support For Law Enforcement. Since 1993, President Clinton has made law enforcement and crime fighting a top priority:

  • Protecting law enforcement from deadly assault weapons. The President's 1994 anti-crime bill banned 19 of the deadliest cop-killing assault weapons. This spring, the Department of Treasury generally banned the importation of more than 50 models of modified assault weapons;
  • Preventing criminals from buying handguns. In 1993, the President signed the Brady Bill. Since its passage, over 250,000 stalkers, fugitives, and felons have been prevented from buying guns. Fewer guns on our streets mean safer streets for our officers and families;
  • Giving the police the protection they deserve. In June 1998, the President signed the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Act to provide grants to help states and local governments defray the costs of purchasing bulletproof vests.

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