Police Innovation

April 19, 1974

Report Outline
Programs to Improve Police Work
Hostile Climate of the Sixties
Advances in Selection and Training
Special Focus

Programs to Improve Police Work

Federal money for upgrading of local forces

The police are polishing up their image. After years of talking about the need for reforms, many of the nation's more than 40,000 law-enforcement agencies are doing something to upgrade the quality and training of their personnel, improve efficiency and create better relations with the community, particularly minority members. Behind many of the reforms is an unprecedented influx of money. Federal revenue-sharing programs have been a major source of these funds. The Treasury Department's Revenue Sharing Office, in its first report on actual uses of general revenue-sharing funds since the program began in December 1972, said on Feb. 28, 1974, that states and localities spent 23 per cent of their funds on public safety programs, including the police. The cities reported spending 44 per cent of their funds for this purpose.

Law enforcement traditionally has been considered a state and local matter. Until the late 1960s federal assistance to local law-enforcement officers was limited largely to a few training sessions supervised by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. But the alarming rise in the nation's crime rate in that decade prompted the federal government to reexamine its role in the crime problem. The President's Crime Commission said in its final report in 1967 that “although day-by-day criminal administration is primarily a state and local responsibility…the federal government can make a dramatic new contribution to the national effort against crime by greatly expanding its support of the agencies of justice in the states and in some cities.”

The following year Congress passed the Crime Control and Safe Streets Act. For the first time federal funds were authorized to assist states and localities in upgrading and updating their anti-crime programs. Title I of the act created a special federal agency, the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, to provide leadership and direction. Since the program began LEAA has allotted more than $2.4 billion to state and local governments to help them reduce crime and promote more effective justice. Law-enforcement agencies have used their portion of the grants to finance specialized patrols, community relations units, computerized communications systems, the latest crime-fighting equipment, and a wide range of training and education programs.

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Apr. 19, 1974  Police Innovation
Sep. 02, 1966  Police Reforms
Jan. 12, 1954  Federal Police Activity
Apr. 01, 1932  Proposed Expansions of Federal Police Activity
Crime and Law Enforcement