Business Tax Filing
by the Vice President on the Additional Police Officers and New Technologies
December 14, 1998
10:45 A.M. EST
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you very
much, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the White House. Sheriff
Sullivan, thank you for your kind words and for your wonderful work,
not only in Arapahoe County, but also as Chairman of the National
Attorney General Reno, it's always an honor to be with you, especially
in an event like this because, since you came and joined this administration,
crime has been in steady retreat all across the United States of America.
And we have had a long series of events, here and elsewhere around
the country, where we have worked in partnership to give new resources
to local law enforcement officers; to create new partnerships at the
federal, state and local levels; and to put new tools in the hands
of those who are right on the front lines of fighting crime. And the
results are really quite remarkable, and we appreciate your great
leadership in this battle.
To the other members of the law enforcement community who are here,
my thanks to you as well. Associate Attorney General Ray Fisher, we
looked at a crime mapping operation out in Los Angeles on one of the
many trips that we've made together. Jeremy Travis, Director of the
National Institute of Justice; Mayor pro-tem Dan Tonkovich of Vancouver,
WA -- one of the many local leaders here. They also include Mayor
Charlie Smithgall of Lancaster, PA; Mayor Rudy Garcia of Union City,
NJ; Mayor Jim Mathias of Ocean City, MD; Mayor James Grimes of Frederick,
MD; Mayor Phillip Yerington of Davenport, IA; Mayor Jay Alperin of
Delray Beach, FL.
I also want to acknowledge Joe Brann of the COPS Office and the Justice
Department; Joe's done an outstanding job, as I know the Attorney
General agrees, in helping to lead our efforts here and Joe, we really
appreciate it. This is a great success story for the United States
of America. I want to thank the members of the law enforcement community
standing behind me, and the others who are gathered here in the audience.
I'm here with the privilege of making two important announcements
about our continuing efforts to fight crime, and to fight drugs, and
to fight violence, by harnessing the powerful new technologies of
the 21st century to meet the oldest threats to our safety and well-being.
Just yesterday, we gained new evidence that rising crime rates are
no longer a fact of life in America. I mentioned a moment ago, in
talking about the Attorney General's leadership, that we have seen
a series of good reports of crime declining in the United States.
And according to preliminary crime data released by the FEI, crime
rates are continuing to decline for the seventh straight year. This
is really good news. And in the first six months of this year, 1998,
serious crime fell by another 5 percent, with large reductions in
murder and other violent crimes leading the way. And if these trends
hold out for the rest of the year, the number of murders will have
been cut by almost 1/3 since President Clinton and I took office.
That really is good news.
Of course, this dramatic reduction did not happen by accident. First
and foremost, it happened because of the uncommon valor by the men
and women in blue all across the United States of America. We honor
you and we thank you.
It also took a new national crime-fighting strategy, merging together
elements that had never before been used in combination -- more community
police officers walking the beat, walking sidewalks and establishing
relationships with every shopowner, every parent and grandparent,
every community leader. Also tougher punishment, to send the signal
that swift and certain punishment is going to follow the commission
of a crime, and that means locking up repeat offenders for good. They
commit such a big percentage of the crimes, when you get a lot of
them off the streets for good, well, that accounts for a lot of the
reduction right there. And also getting gangs and guns and drugs off
And then the third element, smarter prevention strategies to give
young people constructive alternatives to just standing on the street
corner and letting their idle hands become the devil's workshop. We've
had a huge commitment to giving our children safe and supervised places
to learn and play, especially while their parents are still at work.
And we're continuing that, incidentally, with our major after-school
initiative, which you're going to be hearing more about.
Well, today we're here to focus on the first part of that three-part
strategy -- community policing. With today's announcement, we will
have funded the addition of more than 92,000 new community police
officers all across the United States of America. In fact, we're under
budget and ahead of schedule in meeting our goal of 100,000 police
officers added to the beat by the year 2000. We're real excited about
that, especially since we can see the tangible difference that's being
made in the lives of families and communities across America.
But community policing is about more than just hiring the officers
and getting them on the beat. It's also about making sure they have
the highest-quality training available, and it's about giving them
the 21st century tools and technology that get them out from behind
their desks and put them back on the beat, and enable them to use
their valuable hours at work fighting crime better and faster.
This new crime-fighting technology really is working all across America.
In Los Angeles, police now have laptop computers so they can file
reports from their cars and spend less time back in the office and
traveling back and forth. I mentioned the trip Ray and I made; officers
would routinely spend two to three hours driving all the way back
down to headquarters -- I see some of these officers here smiling
in recognition of this -- driving back to headquarters, waiting in
line, dealing with the bureaucracy, filling out the report, then getting
back in their car and driving all the way back to the beat. Instead,
now, they sit down in their car, file the report from the car itself
and then, right away, they're back out fighting crime, right there
where they should be.
In Charlotte-Mecklenburg, officers have instant access to databases
of criminal records and information on everything from domestic violence
to alcohol abuse so that, when they respond to a call, they are better
informed and much more effective as a result.
If we want to keep crime rates going down -- and we do -- we have
to make sure that law enforcement across the country is able to make
the best of all these new advances and use them effectively. And so
today I'm proud to announce a major new step toward putting these
cutting-edge crime-fighting tools in the hands of our law enforcement
officers all across America.
Today we are providing nearly $93 million in brand-new grants to fund
new technology in communities all across America to fight crime and
keep these crime rates coming down. This is an advance because, with
these crucial funds, law enforcement in 44 states can not only fight
crime better, they can also redeploy more than 3,700 officers, putting
them out in the communities where they can do the most good in cracking
down on crime. So it's not only the new community police officers
that we're funding; it's also the redeployment of a lot of these officers
that are now having to waste -- well, I wouldn't say "waste", but
spend too much of their time doing paperwork and dealing with the
bureaucracy in their departments.
Let me tell you how some of these COPS MORE grants that I'm announcing
today are going to be used. In Guilford County, NC, our grants will
fund a computer-aided dispatch system to map crime, deploy officers
more quickly and help officers fill out reports on the spot. In New
Haven, CT, these funds will help create an automatic vehicle-location
system so that dispatchers know exactly how long it will take for
police to arrive on the scene when they get a distress call or an
In Davenport, Bettendorf and Scott County, IA, these grants will enable
law enforcement to perform instant background checks without returning
to headquarters, again saving critical minutes on the job. And in
Sheriff Sullivan's Arapahoe County, CO, these new resources will give
investigators new computer workstations so they can electronically
file cases with their local DA's office.
I've been especially impressed by the success of what we call "crime
mapping" as a crime-fighting tool. It helps police combine real-time
information about crime on the streets with the resources to find
the criminals and prevent future crime in a highly targeted way. It
has been a big success in my home state of Tennessee where, for example,
Knoxville police recently used computerized mapping to compare rape
locations and the residences of known sex offenders, and they used
it ultimately to catch a serial rapist.
And it's also worked in rural communities like McClean County, MO,
where it enabled law enforcement to analyze and stop a series of farm
burglaries. In fact, the dramatic success of crime mapping has now
been documented in this new crime mapping case-studies report, just
published by the Justice Department and the Police Executive Research
Now, the Attorney General is authorizing me to say to all of you and
your colleagues around the country today, that any police department
that wants instruction in how to use this crime mapping technique
will be able to get it from the Justice Department. And I urge all
of you to take advantage of it, because this really is an advance.
And, you know, our ability to handle large quantities of complex information
and share it with a group of people that all need to know it, and
work together in partnership on the basis of that information -- that
basic strategy has been used time and again throughout the history
of civilization to empower us to make big leaps forward, from the
invention of writing to the invention of the printing press and on
forward. In the area of crime fighting, you could say that the development
of the new, sophisticated versions of crime mapping represents that
kind of revolutionary advance in making crime fighting much more effective.
And what they do is, they get all the people who need to know these
facts in the same place; give them the same information in a very
sophisticated way; their leaders are able to hold everybody accountable
for what they do on the basis of that information. And they're able
to allocate resources in a very targeted way. They're able to measure
the quality of the performance throughout the police department or
sheriff's office. And they're able to get the results that they're
So I really do urge you to get a copy of this, study it and then,
if your department is not presently taking advantage of this technique,
please contact the Attorney General and the National Institute of
Justice. And we will make certain that you and your department get
the training necessary to put these techniques into practice.
This special training has already paid off in the communities that
have been the pioneers in taking it. And so I'm excited about it,
and I urge bordering jurisdictions to use this to coordinate their
data collection. When you've got communities that have been bedeviled
by these jurisdictional lines -- and I see some heads nodding on that
one, too -- where you have different law enforcement agencies and
different geographic and political subdivisions -- this technology
enables you to hurdle those barriers and foster the kind of seamless
cooperation in fighting crime that has eluded some of these multiple
and overlapping jurisdictions in the past.
There is a simple reason we're investing in these highly effective,
21st century crime-fighting tools. It is because of our belief that
even a single crime in America is one too many. Even a single family
threatened by violence is unacceptable. As crime and criminals become
more sophisticated, we are committed to giving law enforcement the
tools to match them, to defeat them, and to make our communities as
safe as they can possibly be.
That's what these new investments are all about. By hiring more community
police officers, and by putting powerful new resources into the hands
of those police, we will bring the crime rate down even lower and
build the stronger, safer future that our families deserve.