Democratic Congressman Jim Matheson and Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder gathered in West Valley City Thursday to support federal grants for local law enforcement.
From a podium inside a Salt Lake County Sheriff’s office substation Democratic Congressman Jim Matheson warned against a proposal supported by his opponent, Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love, to eliminate all Department of Justice state and local grants. The money currently helps fund bullet proof vests and the Community Oriented Policing Services or COPS program. The proposed cuts would eliminate about $5.8 billion dollars from the federal budget but Matheson argues the savings aren’t worth it.
“You’re not going to balance the budget based on this $5.8 billion dollars but you are going to have safer communities. And quite frankly if we have less safe communities I think there are some serious budget implications as well,” he says.
After the press conference Utah Republican Party Chairman Thomas Wright defended Mia Love’s plan.
“Mia Love has said the she believes the path to prosperity in this country is getting our federal government under control. We need to balance our budget and that’s going to require some cutting. That doesn’t mean she’s against safe communities,” Wright says.
Federal grants from programs like COPS have helped Utah law enforcement agencies hire more than 1 thousand police officers since 1994.