Spanberger and Rice bill would increase law enforcement salaries and hiring

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Abigail Spanberger
Abigail Spanberger

Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) and Tom Rice (R-SC-07) introduced community-oriented policing on the Beat Program Reauthorization and Parity Act to help raise police salaries and help local police departments hire additional officers.

The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services is the component of the United States Department of Justice responsible for advancing the practice of community policing by state, local, territorial, and tribal law enforcement agencies nationwide through information and grants.

The COPS office also provides federal grants to 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 law enforcement levels.

Since 1994, the PSC Office has invested more than $14 billion to help advance community policing.

Spanberger’s 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 in rural communities, allow COPS grants to be used to raise salaries for officers in low-income communities and creates a stand-alone COPS office within the US Department of Justice.

In fiscal year 2021, the COPS on the Beat program was awarded $386 million. In response to the strong demand for this funding, bipartisan legislation increases funding to more than $1,047,119,000 in FY22, nearly triple the amount in FY21.

“During the pandemic, police officers in Virginia — especially those in rural areas — readily took on roles and responsibilities far beyond their job descriptions. In recent conversations with the Seventh District Police Department, I constantly hear about the pressing need to retain these dedicated officials and recruit additional officers,” Spanberger said. “Many Virginia police departments rely on the COPS program to ensure their officers are well-trained, competitively paid, and remain in the force — and our bipartisan bill would bolster federal support for this vital policing initiative. community. As a former federal law enforcement officer, I am proud to introduce legislation that can both protect our neighbors and strengthen the relationship between our officers and the Virginia communities they serve. I also want to thank Congressman Rice for his partnership and leadership on this critical issue. »

Following the bill’s introduction, several Virginia law enforcement officials endorsed the legislation.

“Police departments across the country are facing budgetary and recruitment challenges – and renewed support for the PSC office is essential. Since its inception, the COPS office has been a tremendous resource for the Virginia Police Department,” said Chief Chris Jenkins of the Culpeper Police Department. “By increasing funding to the COPS office and cutting red tape to ensure rural communities can access these funds, the COPS Beat Grant Program Reauthorization and Parity Act will benefit communities like Culpeper. I am proud to support this bipartisan legislation and thank Congresswoman Spanberger for working to ensure police have the resources they need to serve our communities.

“As a permanent resident of Henrico, I take pride in protecting and serving our community on a daily basis – and our officers and staff share this sense of duty. The COPS program plays an important role in ensuring our officers have the support they need to complete this mission and keep Henrico County safe,” said Sheriff Alisa Gregory of the County Sheriff’s Office. Henry County. “That’s why I want to thank Congresswoman Spanberger for her focus on increasing funding for the COPS program. With this additional investment, communities like Henrico would have the ability to recruit more candidates, grow our numbers, keep our agents on payroll, and maintain our ability to serve.

“With over 40 years of law enforcement experience, I have seen firsthand the benefits of the COPS grant since its inception in 1994. Now more than ever with the job market, reauthorization is more critical than ever. I fully support this legislation and the efforts of Deputy Spanberger to pass it,” said Sheriff Karl Leonard of the Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office.

“The Goochland County Sheriff’s Office is very grateful for the bipartisan efforts of Senator Graham, Congressman Rice and Congresswoman Spanberger to reauthorize the COPS on the Beat program,” said Sheriff Steven Ned Creasey. , of the Goochland County Sheriff’s Office. “The COPS program will provide full funding to assist the Goochland County Sheriff’s Office and other local law enforcement agencies as we continue to focus on our community values ​​through our hiring practices. and increasing training opportunities for our assistants.”

“The COPS office has been an integral partner to police and sheriff services across the Commonwealth. Unfortunately, these resources have not always been so accessible in our rural communities, due to several restrictions. The Beat Grant Program Reauthorization and Parity Act COPS would ensure that rural communities, like Louisa, can access these funds,” said Sheriff Donald A. Lowe of the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office. “By increasing funding for COPS grants and cutting red tape, this bipartisan bill will be of tremendous help to local police and sheriff’s departments at a time when departments are facing budget pressures and challenges in recruiting new agents. I am proud to support this legislation and thank Congresswoman Spanberger and Congresswoman Rice for their bipartisan commitment to supporting our men and women in uniform.

The COPS on the Beat Grant Program Reauthorization and Parity Act is endorsed by several national law enforcement organizations, including the National Fraternal Order of Police, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Association of Chiefs of Major cities, the Association of Major County Sheriffs, the National Organization of Police Officers. , National Association of Sheriffs and Charitable Association of Sergeants.

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