New Orleans Mayor Seeking More Federal Counter-Terrorism, Crime Funding
"Local police departments don't have the funding, training, or equipment to fully protect our country from terrorists," Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. "We need more police officers on the streets with the tools to do both community policing and homeland security support."
Citing terrorist attacks and mass shootings in New York City and Sutherland Springs, Texas, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu sent a letter this week to the two U.S. senators from Louisiana, Republicans John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy, calling for increased funding for counter-terrorism efforts and crime fighting.
"Whether a terrorist attack comes from a radicalized lone wolf or a coordinated cell, local and state police officers are now the tip of the spear in the domestic fight against both terrorism and violence. The ever-changing threat from terrorism and violence inside our country threatens cities of all sizes, with the attacks in New York, Las Vegas, San Bernardino, Orlando, St. Cloud, and more. Local police departments don't have the funding, training, or equipment to fully protect our country from terrorists," Landrieu said. "We need more police officers on the streets with the tools to do both community policing and homeland security support. We know that this looks like a well-funded COPS program in partnership with a robust UASI program. Unfortunately, both of those programs and more have been cut in recent years."
Landrieu had sent letters to Sen. Kennedy calling for this assistance earlier this year -- in March, July, and October. This latest one comes before Kennedy joins Landrieu to meet with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions; Landrieu's statement indicated he will discuss how Congress and the Trump Administration can strengthen local police departments in the fight against crime and domestic terrorism.
"Like the COPS program, which has been cut by over 80 percent since the 1990s, funding for homeland security grant programs to support local capabilities to prevent and respond to terrorist incidents have been cut by approximately 50 percent since they began in 2004. Last year, for example, only 28 metro areas received support through the Urban Area Security Initiative program, down from 64 in 2010," the mayor said. "We, the city of New Orleans, have not received this award since 2012. Unfortunately, President Trump wants to cut these critical terrorism-fighting resources by 25 percent. I have written our two U.S. senators before on these vital national security and public safety issues but have not even received a written response from our delegation members."