Community Oriented Policing Services
The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) is an agency within the United States Department of Justice. COPS was established through a provision in the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act.
The Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative (NSI) is a collaborative effort led by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Bureau of Justice Assistance, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement partners. This initiative provides law enforcement with another tool to help prevent terrorism and other related criminal activity by establishing a national capacity for gathering, documenting, processing, analyzing, and sharing SAR information.
Currently, COPS is a partner with the DOJ, Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the FBI, in helping to establish Fusion Centers for the stated purpose of identifying possible terrorists and providing information to local and national Terrorist Screening Centers. One specific joint program, Building Communities Of Trust (BCOT), coordinates national security agencies, and state and local law enforcement agencies with community members who participate in aiding national security efforts and in recruiting additional community members of their choice.
Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) generated by this process are shared by over 18,000 law enforcement agencies around America, including the National Security Administration (NSA) and foreign governments, whether or not the activities are of a criminal or terrorist nature.
Redress processes for being mistakenly identified, purposefully or not, as a terrorist by these community members and BCOT is a closed loop beginning with the submission of a complaint to the Frontline Screening Agency, which has the option to either "resolve" the complaint internally or forward the complaint to the Terrorist Screening Center Fusion Center, which digitally forwards these complaints to the FBI, in domestic cases, and to the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) for international complaint case reviews.
Opponents of these Community Orientated Policing Services claim the BCOT and SARs initiatives mask politically motivated false reporting of suspicious activities, as evidenced in Southern California, Louisiana, Colorado, Florida,and other states where Tea Party membership is proportionally notable.
Since 1994, COPS has provided $11.3 billion in assistance to state and local law enforcement agencies to help in hiring additional police officers. In 1995, COPS funded $1,225.1 million in programs and assistance, with funding significantly cut in 2000 to $685.3 million.
Bernard K. Melekian is the Director of the COPS Office since 2009-10-05
- http://nsi.ncirc.gov/(S(kdyhncjxg2gklzboxcosmno4))/documents/ISE_EntArchFramework_v2.0_20081021.pdf, pg.E-23
- "COPS History". Community Oriented Policing Services.
- www.cops.usdoj.gov COPS OFFICE PROUDLY ANNOUNCES ITS NEW DIRECTOR, 10/14/2009
- Community Oriented Policing Services
- Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS): Current Legislative Issues Congressional Research Service