THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
Statement by the Press Secretary
President Clinton signed legislation today that provides the $12 million he had requested to help investigate and solve church arson.
"I'm pleased that Congress agreed to my request and provided these vitally needed resources as quickly as it did," the President said. "I am committed to finding the necessary funds to support these efforts."
The $12 million will go to the Treasury Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), which already has over one hundred agents engaged in full-time investigations of church fires as part of the National Church Arson Task Force.
Normally, ATF funds are provided through the Treasury/Postal Service appropriations bill. At the President's urging, however, Congress provided this special appropriation in the first appropriations bill for fiscal 1997 that they sent to him.
Specifically, the $12 million will help the ATF:
pay overtime costs for personnel manning command posts and performing the investigations; pay costs of: travel to and from arson sites, follow-up investigations, surveillance, the executing of warrants, trial preparation, vehicle rental, and the training of accelerant-detecting canines; finance a telephone hotline and pay for rewards for information; buy Automated Data Processing (ADP) equipment to allow agents to take statements from potential witnesses in many remote locations; buy certain portable laboratory equipment to allow on-site analysis of forensic evidence at the fires, thus speeding the process in which evidence must be forwarded long distances to ATF laboratories; pay for "agent cashier" funds; the cashier funds are used to pay miscellaneous costs of investigations. -30-30-30-