Casey criticizes votes on police funding, but doesn't name names

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Feb 8, 2016 3:24 PM

Photo by Ben Allen/witf

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa) speaks at Harrisburg City Hall, Monday, February 8th.

(Harrisburg) -- About two months ago, federal, state and local police worked together to arrest a Harrisburg teen charged with helping the terrorist group ISIS.

Today, Pennsylvania's senior U.S. Senator Bob Casey visited the city to highlight the work.

Casey says coordination is key in the fight against terrorist groups, and praised the work of law enforcement, especially at the local level.

But the Democrat also turned his attention to day-to-day policing.

Casey says the federal government should be providing more help for police departments in cities and towns across the state.

He wants more training and more bulletproof vests for police.

And Casey says the COPS program, which provides grants for police salaries, should be expanded.

Harrisburg is adding five officers to its department this year using the program.

"That's progress, that's good. But I would argue that if we had a better-funded COPS program, cities like Harrisburg would be able to hire more police officers than five," says Casey.

Casey criticized some politicians who he says vote against helping police while praising the work they do.

"So I'm tired of the tough talk from politicians in Washington. It's time to vote and support local law enforcement. And if you vote to eliminate the COPS program, you're not very tough, you're not very tough on the bad guys."

But he didn't identify any politicians from Pennsylvania who should be criticized, and WITF's search of recent votes on the issue didn't immediately show any results. 

Casey says another federal program that funds bulletproof vests deserves to be fully funded.

Harrisburg's Police Chief Thomas Carter says all officers in the city have vests, but he wasn't sure if some are no longer effective.

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