Spanberger, Rice Urge House Leadership to Bring to the Floor Their Bipartisan Bill to Increase Law Enforcement Pay & Hiring

The Legislation Would More Than Double Current Federal Funding for the COPS Program, Cut Red Tape for Rural Police Departments & Sheriff’s Offices

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representatives Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) and Tom Rice (R-SC-07) are urging U.S. House leaders in both parties to advance their bill to help increase officer pay and help police departments hire more officers.

Spanberger and Rice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) on the Beat Program Reauthorization and Parity Act would reauthorize the COPS on the Beat Grant Program for the next 10 years and more than double its current funding level, expand access to COPS Grants within rural communities, and create a stand-alone COPS office within the U.S. Department of Justice. Spanberger and Rice introduced the bill in January 2022.

In a letter sent to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, and U.S. House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan, Spanberger and Rice called for their bipartisan bill to be brought to the U.S. House floor for a vote as soon as possible. Additionally, they highlighted the nationwide need to support law enforcement departments across the country as they face a wide range of new challenges.

“We write to request the House bring bipartisan legislation to the floor for a vote as soon as possible to invest in local police departments to promote safe communities and strengthen relationships between our officers and the communities they serve,” said Spanberger and Rice. “Police departments cannot effectively answer the immense and diverse needs of their communities without sufficient funding. Therefore, we must urgently vote to increase funding for local departments and strengthen federal efforts on community-oriented policing.”

Their letter continued, “As national crime rates increase, the substance abuse disorder crisis worsens, and mental health challenges rise, police departments have become the default members of our community tasked with addressing these complex challenges. All Americans benefit when our communities’ police officers are sufficiently trained, qualified, and have the resources they need to do their jobs effectively. Many police departments rely on federal assistance through the COPS Program to make sure their officers are well-trained, receive competitive pay, and stay on the force.”

Support continues to grow for the Spanberger-Rice legislation. Last week, the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus endorsed the COPS on the Beat Program Reauthorization and Parity Act. Additionally, several national law enforcement organizations have backed the bipartisan legislation — including the National Fraternal Order of Police, International Association of Chiefs of Police, Major Cities Chiefs Association, Major County Sheriffs Association, National Organization of Police Officers, National Sheriffs Association, and Sergeants Benevolent Association.

Click here to read their letter, and the full letter text is below.

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McCarthy, Chairman Nadler, and Ranking Member Jordan,

During National Police Week, communities and leaders across the country reflect on the contributions of police officers’ public service to their communities, and the sacrifices they have made to keep our communities safe. We write to request the House bring bipartisan legislation to the floor for a vote as soon as possible to invest in local police departments to promote safe communities and strengthen relationships between our officers and the communities they serve. Police departments cannot effectively answer the immense and diverse needs of their communities without sufficient funding. Therefore, we must urgently vote to increase funding for local departments and strengthen federal efforts on community-oriented policing.

As national crime rates increase, the substance abuse disorder crisis worsens, and mental health challenges rise, police departments have become the default members of our community tasked with addressing these complex challenges. All Americans benefit when our communities’ police officers are sufficiently trained, qualified, and have the resources they need to do their jobs effectively. Many police departments rely on federal assistance through the COPS Program to make sure their officers are well-trained, receive competitive pay, and stay on the force. Congress has recognized the crucial role of the COPS Program as a lifeline to many departments by increasing its funding over the last few years, but we must do more.

As such, we urge Congressional leadership to bring the bipartisan COPS on the Beat Grant Program Reauthorization and Parity Act of 2022 (H.R. 6375) to the floor for consideration and a vote as soon as possible. This bill would help increase police officer pay and to assist local police departments with the hiring of additional officers, particularly for rural and under-resourced police departments. This legislation was developed in direct response to the needs of national, state, and local law enforcement stakeholders and labor unions, and is endorsed by several of these entities including the National Fraternal Order of Police, International Association of Chiefs of Police, Major Cities Chiefs Association, Major County Sheriffs Association, National Association of Police Organizations, National Sheriffs Association, and Sergeants Benevolent Association. The bill also has strong bipartisan support among our congressional colleagues.

We cannot continue to merely talk about the need for improving law enforcement relations, budgets, and trainings – we must deliver on those calls with thoughtful and targeted solutions, such as the bipartisan COPS on the Beat Grant Program Reauthorization and Parity Act of 2022 (H.R. 6375). The U.S. House of Representatives must affirm our commitment to safe communities and common-sense solutions to nationwide challenges with action on this bipartisan bill. Thank you for your attention to this crucial issue.

BACKGROUND

The 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 also awards federal grants for local police departments to hire community policing professionals, develop and test innovative policing strategies, and provide training and technical assistance to local residents, government leaders, and all levels of law enforcement.

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