U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd is urging the Bush administration to keep funding that pays for police officers in schools, the Associated Press has reported.

The administration’s budget eliminates $1.5 billion in Department of Justice funding for state and local assistance programs. But some people worry that will hurt federal funding for the department’s Community Oriented Policing Services program, also known as COPS.

Byrd, D-W.Va., has written to Education Secretary Roderick Paige, calling on him to fight to preserve the program, because it “certainly can make a difference in preventing school violence.”

Byrd also wrote about the school shooting in Santee, Calif., which left two teenagers dead. He noted that one student said more people might have died if a school’s officer had not been present.

Byrd made no legislative recommendations in his letter.