Problem Solvers Caucus Backs Rice’s Bipartisan Bill to Bolster Investments in Police Departments Across the Country 

COPS Legislation Increases Hiring of Rural Law Enforcement Officers

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the nation kicks off National Police Week today, the Problem Solvers Caucus announced its endorsement of Congressman Rice’s bill aimed at bolstering resources and investments in law enforcement. The Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) on the Beat Grant Program Reauthorization and Parity Act of 2022 would provide increased federal investment to help police departments across the country recruit and retain officers and assist with other aspects of community policing and training. 

 

The COPS on the Beat Grant Program Reauthorization and Parity Act would reauthorize the COPS on the Beat Grant Program and update it to ensure that all law enforcement agencies throughout the country – regardless of size, location, or regional income level – can access it. 

 

Read the full Problem Solvers Caucus press release here

 

“Police officers keep all kinds of communities safe, but those in rural and low-income communities often face barriers to doing their jobs effectively and efficiently,” said Rep. Tom Rice (SC-07), lead House sponsor of the COPS on the Beat Grant Reauthorization and Parity Act. “By endorsing the COPS on the Beat Grant Program Reauthorization and Parity Act, the Problem Solvers Caucus is taking action by improving law enforcement relations, budgets, and trainings. I’m proud of the bipartisan support this legislation has received and the thoughtful and targeted solutions it will deliver to South Carolina and the nation.”

 

“I want to thank the Problem Solvers Caucus for endorsing my bipartisan COPS on the Beat Program Reauthorization and Parity Act, which I’m proud to lead with my friend and colleague Congressman Rice. As a former federal law enforcement officer, I know that our legislation would help keep our communities safe — while also strengthening relationships between law enforcement officers and the people they serve,” said Rep. Abigail Spanberger (VA-07). “Since coming to Congress, I have heard directly from Virginia’s police chiefs and sheriffs about the difficulties they’ve faced in recruiting and retaining officers in their areas — especially during the pandemic. By more than doubling federal funding for the COPS Program, our legislation would help increase officer pay and reduce the amount of stress placed on our local police forces each day.”

 

Reps. Tom Rice (SC-07) and Abigail Spanberger (VA-07) brought the COPS on the Beat Grant Program Reauthorization and Parity Act for Problem Solvers Caucus endorsement. The legislation garnered the support of more than 75 percent of the Caucus and is supported by several law enforcement organizations, including the Fraternal Order of Police, the National Sheriffs Association, and the National Association of Police Organizations.

  

The COPS on the Beat Grant Program Reauthorization and Parity Act would: 

  • Reauthorize the COPS on the Beat Grant Program for 10 years.
  • Allow for COPS grants to be used to increase wages for officers in low-income communities.
  • Open access to COPS grants for low-income, rural communities by lowering the initial non-federal match minimum and gradually increasing over four years.
  • Put all law enforcement agencies on a level playing field by removing the preference for agencies that can afford a higher match than required.
  • Codify a stand-alone COPS Office within the U.S. Department of Justice, which was established to distribute COPS grants but has never been made permanent in law.
  • Require the GAO to produce reports in FY2026 and FY2031 on how representative law enforcement agency workforces are of their communities, the percentage of officers that live in the jurisdiction served, average pay compared to cost of living of jurisdiction, and legislative and administrative recommendations for improving these data points.

 

About COPS:

 

The COPS program was first authorized in 1994, again reauthorized in 2005, and its authorization expired in FY2009. Although the COPS program has continued to receive appropriations, annual funding levels have been significantly lower since LY2011.

 

Read the full text of the COPS on the Beat Grant Program Reauthorization and Parity Act here.

 

The Problem Solvers Caucus is a bipartisan group in Congress comprised of members – equally divided between Democrats and Republicans – committed to forging bipartisan cooperation on key issues.

  

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