Dear Representative Phillips,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our support for H.R. 7826, the “Pathways to Policing Act.”
Law enforcement agencies across the country are struggling to maintain a healthy police force and recruit the best and brightest candidates to serve in their communities. While this issue is multifaceted, there are numerous contributing causes, ranging from an increase in violent rhetoric against public servants, an increase in violence against officers, mental health concerns, and lagging technology. We believe that this legislation is a step in the right direction and will help combat these issues.
This bill would provide $50 million a year to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to operate a nationwide marketing and recruitment campaign. The DOJ would also be directed to share
resources with State and local governments to operate their own, similar campaigns. These marketing campaigns will also be designed to encourage all suitable candidates, including those
from communities that have traditionally been underrepresented in law enforcement. Additionally, this program will also consider individuals with non-traditional educational or career backgrounds.
This bill also places a priority on reducing existing barriers for qualified candidates that are interested in seeking careers as full-time law enforcement officers. To meet this goal the program will use Minnesota’s “Pathways to Policing Programs” as a model which, according to the Minnesota State Lodge of the FOP, has been extremely effective throughout the State. The DOJ’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) will administer the new grant program to support recruitment efforts by providing candidates with financial support including tuition, compensation, or other benefits while attending law enforcement officer education.
On behalf of the more than 364,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, we thank you for your leadership on this important issue. 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.