Spanberger Backs Bipartisan Bill to Boost Police Recruitment In Virginia, Across United States in Face of Officer Shortages

The Pathways to Policing Act — Endorsed by the National Fraternal Order of Police — Invests in Programs to Help State & Local Police Departments Recruit New Officers

The Congresswoman Has Long Led & Supported Legislation to Support Local Police Departments

HENRICO, V.A. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger — a former federal law enforcement officer — today cosponsored bipartisan legislation to address police officer shortages and boost officer recruitment in Virginia and communities across our country.

A June 2021 survey from the Police Executive Research Forum found that police departments around the country on average were filling 93 percent of available budgeted positions. Additionally, the survey showed a 45 percent increase in retirements and an 18 percent jump in resignations over the previous year.

The Pathways to Policing Act invests in programs to help state and local law enforcement agencies and police departments that are struggling to recruit officers. Specifically, the legislation authorizes $50 million per year to the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) office at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to operate a nationwide marketing and recruitment campaign, as well as create grants for state and local departments to provide financial support to candidates — including tuition, compensation, or other benefits while attending law enforcement officer education.

“For years, the men and women of our local police departments have shared with me the challenges they are facing in recruiting new officers. As I work at the federal level to protect our communities and keep Virginians safe, I understand that we must make sure departments have the resources necessary to attract and train quality candidates,” said Spanberger. “This bipartisan legislation would help alleviate the financial barriers facing Virginians who want to protect and serve their neighbors, as well as bring on more officers from diverse backgrounds to make sure that our local departments look like the communities they serve. Strong police departments are essential to keeping our communities safe, and I’m proud to join this bipartisan effort to address the real challenges facing officers in Virginia and across our country.”

The Pathways to Policing Act is led by U.S. Representative Dean Phillips (D-MN-03). The bipartisan legislation is endorsed by the National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and the Major Cities Chiefs Association.


Spanberger has long worked to boost targeted investments in local police departments. Last month, the U.S. House passed bipartisan legislation she helped introduce to make sure police officers in smaller communities and rural areas have the resources, recruiting tools, and training they need to keep themselves and their communities safe.

Additionally, Spanberger has consistently voted to increase funding to the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program to help increase officer pay and help police departments hire more officers. Earlier this year, she led the introduction of the bipartisan COPS on the Beat Program Reauthorization and Parity Act, which would reauthorize this program for the next 10 years and more than double its current funding level.


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