Last updated: February 20. 2013 2:36AM - 318 Views

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In the wake of the horrific school shooting in Newtown, Conn., Sen. Bob Casey called Thursday for full federal funding of three existing programs to strengthen local law-enforcement agencies.

As the nation continues a debate over gun laws, Casey, D-Scranton, told reporters in Philadelphia that it was important not to overlook what's already working. He cited three programs that have put more police on the streets and provided them with bulletproof vests -- and noted that funding for those initiatives has dropped dramatically in the last two years.

He wrote Thursday to the federal Office of Management and Budget to ask for an increase in funding for the Community Oriented Policing program, the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants Program and the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Program.

The COPS program has put 900 officers on the streets of Philadelphia through more than $75.7 million in funding, according to the senator's office. Through JAG, the city police department has been able to purchase more than 2,000 vests.

Nationally, money for COPS alone has dropped from $298 million to $141 million since 2010, Casey said.

The least the federal government can do is provide full funding for three programs we know will work, the senator said.

Casey spoke during a news conference at Philadelphia's 30th Street Station, where he was joined by District Attorney Seth Williams and Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.

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