Spanberger, LaLota Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill to Increase Law Enforcement Officer Compensation & Hiring

The Congresswoman’s Legislation Would Reauthorize the COPS Program, Cut Red Tape for Police Departments & Sheriff’s Offices

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representatives Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) and Nick LaLota (R-NY-01) yesterday reintroduced the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) on the Beat Program Reauthorization and Parity Act to help increase police officer pay and to assist local police departments with the hiring of additional officers. Spanberger originally introduced the bipartisan legislation in January 2022.

The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) is the component of the U.S. Department of Justice responsible for advancing the practice of community policing by the nation’s state, local, territorial, and tribal law enforcement agencies through information and grant resources. The COPS Office awards grants to hire community policing professionals, develop and test innovative policing strategies, and provide training and technical assistance to community members, local government leaders, and all levels of law enforcement. Since 1994, the COPS Office has invested more than $14 billion to help advance community policing.

The Spanberger-led COPS on the Beat Program Reauthorization and Parity Act would reauthorize the COPS on the Beat grant program for the next 10 years, expand access to COPS grants to rural communities, allow for COPS grants to be used to increase wages for officers in low-income communities, and create a stand-alone COPS Office within the U.S. Department of Justice. The COPS on the Beat grant program was previously appropriated $633 million in fiscal year 2023. In response to high demand for this funding, this legislation increases the authorization to $1,047,119,000 for each year from fiscal year 2025 to fiscal year 2034.

“For years, I’ve heard directly from Virginia’s police chiefs and sheriffs who are finding it hard to recruit, retain, and train qualified officers and deputies. Reauthorizing and strengthening the COPS program would help address these concerns directly,” said Spanberger. “As a former federal law enforcement officer, I know that community policing initiatives help build stronger, safer communities. I’m proud to once again help lead this straightforward, bipartisan legislation to help our local law enforcement officers access the resources, build the relationships, and gain the training they need to keep Virginians safe. These brave Americans go to work each day to serve their communities and neighbors, and we will work hard to deliver the support they deserve.”

“As a dedicated advocate for public safety, community well-being, and our men and women in blue, I am proud to introduce bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the COPS on Beat Grants Program. Our legislation reflects a commitment to fostering stronger relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve and to public safety,” said LaLota. “By providing crucial resources and support through the COPS program, we empower our officers to proactively engage with residents, address local concerns, serve and protect the people, and build trust. This reauthorization underscores an unwavering belief in the importance of ensuring our law enforcement agencies have the tools they need to keep our neighborhoods safe and secure.”

The U.S. Senate companion to the COPS on the Beat Program Reauthorization and Parity Act was introduced earlier this year in the U.S. Senate by U.S. Senators Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

This bill is supported by the Major County Sheriffs of America, the Fraternal Order of Police, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the National Association of Police Organizations, the National Sheriffs Association, the New York Police Department’s Sergeants Benevolent Association.

“The Major County Sheriffs of America (MCSA) commends Representatives LaLota and Spanberger for reintroducing the COPS on the Beat Grant Program Reauthorization and Parity Act, which will greatly support our efforts to recruit, train, and retain qualified officers to keep our communities safe,” said Megan Noland, Executive Director, Major County Sheriffs of America. “We also appreciate this legislation recognizes the importance of authorizing the COPS Office, which has always been an incredible partner, providing necessary resources to support law enforcement agencies across the nation. We stand ready to support all efforts to advance this bipartisan legislation to build safe communities and partnerships with the citizens we serve.”

The COPS on the Beat Program Reauthorization and Parity Act would also require the U.S. Government Accountability Office to file a report at the mid-point of the program and the conclusion to determine:

  • How representative law enforcement agencies are of their communities;
  • The percentage of those employed by police and sheriff departments that live in the jurisdiction served;
  • Average officer pay in police and sheriff departments compared to the cost of living of their jurisdiction; and
  • Legislative and administrative recommendations for improving these metrics.

Click here to read the full bill text.

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