Dear Representatives Fischbach, Stauber, and Higgins,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise of our support for H.R. 7421, the “Law Enforcement Education Grant Program Act.”
Among the many challenges facing law enforcement, none are as existential as the issue of retention and recruitment of officers. For years now, law enforcement agencies have struggled to recruit and retain officers to fill the growing numbers of vacancies in police departments nationwide. This issue is critically important, especially for smaller departments that no longer have the resources to address the wave of rising crime, let alone invest in recruitment campaigns. There are several factors contributing to this crisis, including the dangerous rhetoric against officers, an increase in violence against the law enforcement community, and the perceived lack of support from the public they protect.
This bill would provide educational support for individuals who choose to pursue a career in law enforcement. This incentive would come in the form of a grant worth $4000 per year for students pursuing their first degree. A requirement of obtaining this grant would be a commitment to serving as a full-time law enforcement officer for a period of four years within eight years of completing their studies. If for whatever reason, an applicant was not able to complete the service requirements, the grant would be converted to a loan. The bill also includes exemptions for officers who are injured in the line of duty and not able to return to a law enforcement career.
On behalf of the more than 364,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, I am proud to offer our support for this important legislation. If I can provide any additional information about this bill, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in our Washington, D.C. office.