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Office of the press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 30,1998
                         PRESIDENT CLINTON: 

January 30, 1998


At the U.S. Conference of Mayors' Winter Meeting today, the President outlined his agenda to help lead our cities into the 21st Century and announced new measures to help communities keep up the fight against crime and drugs. Specifically, the President announced that his FY 1999 budget will include: (1) an initiative to hire as many as a thousand new community prosecutors; (2) an initiative to crack down on illegal gun traffickers; and (3) over $17 billion to fund the most comprehensive National Drug Strategy ever.

Helping Local Prosecutors Join with Community Police.

The President's FY 1998 budget proposes a new initiative, funded at $50 million, to promote community prosecution, which builds on effective community policing strategies. Thousands of police departments have learned how to put police directly in communities and work with citizens to cut crime. Now communities are turning to local prosecutors to play a more active role in the crime fighting effort, by spending time in their neighborhoods, helping solve local crime problems, and preventing crimes from happening in the first place. The President's initiative will provide grants to cities across the nation to encourage these efforts.

Increasing Neighborhood Presence. The main purpose of the Community Prosecutors initiative, like the COPS program, is to increase the number of local prosecutors working with members of the community, as well as with community police officers. This initiative will allow hundreds of prosecutors' offices to hire community prosecutors or neighborhood DAs to strengthen the team of community police, citizens, and prosecutors working to reduce crime.

Building on the President's COPS Initiative. By helping communities hire or redeploy more than 70,000 police officers to date, the COPS program has helped bring community policing methods to thousands of police departments across the country. New funds for community prosecutors will help local criminal justice systems become even more responsive to their citizens' needs.

Cracking Down on Illegal Gun Trafficking.

As part of the Administration's overall effort to reduce gun violence, the President launched the Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative (YCGII) in 27 target cities to crack down on the illegal gun markets that supply firearms to juveniles and criminals. The YCGII has already traced approximately 93,477 guns, providing law enforcement with crucial investigative leads about illegal gun trafficking. The President's FY 1999 budget includes $28 million to enhance these efforts.

Tracing Illegal Firearms to Their Source. The budget includes $12 million for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) to work with local police departments in the 27 target cities to trace all firearms recovered from crime scenes and help determine local gun trafficking patterns.

Putting More ATF agents on the Job. The President's budget also provides $16 million to hire 162 new ATF agents -- 6 per target city -- to investigate and arrest the illegal gun traffickers who are supplying guns to gangs and juveniles.

Passing the President's Anti-Gang and Youth Violence Strategy. Expanding the YCGII is part of an overall strategy that also includes: $100 million for communities to hire more prosecutors and expand antigang task forces; $60 million for probation officers and youth gun and drug courts; $95 million for innovative prevention, anti-truancy, and curfew initiatives; and $160 million in Department of Educationsponsored after-school programs.

Funding the Most Comprehensive National Drug Strategy Ever.

Last year, the U.S. Conference of Mayors held a special drug summit and recommended that the federal government launch an unprecedented, no-nonsense campaign against illegal drugs. Today, the President announced to Mayors that next week he will unveil a $17 billion drug budget and strategy that responds to their concerns. Key provisions will be:

Stopping Drugs at the Border. One thousand new Border Patrol agents and new resources to deploy the most sophisticated new technologies to close the door on drugs at our borders.

Getting the Message to Our Youth. A continued commitment to the $195 million paid anti-drug media campaign recently launched by the President, and new funds to enhance the Safe and Drug Free Schools program;

     Targeting Heroin and Methamphetamine.  Increased resources for the 
     DEA to enhance its domestic anti-heroin and anti-methamphetamine 
     efforts; and

     Treating and Preventing Drug Abuse.  Increased resources for more 
     treatment and better prevention programs.