Owens Introduces Legislation to Increase Compensation and Hiring of Rural Law Enforcement Officers

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Burgess Owens (UT-04), Rep. Tom Rice (SC-07), and Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (VA-07) introduced the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) on the Beat Grant Program Reauthorization and Parity Act of 2022bipartisan legislation to increase compensation and hiring of law enforcement officers.

“With crime on the rise in America, our law enforcement officers play an invaluable role on the front lines of public safety,” said Rep. Owens. “In recent months, Utah has faced a shortage of police officers, particularly in our rural communities, impacting response times and straining critical resources. I’m proud to help introduce the bipartisan COPS on the Beat Grant Program Reauthorization Act to deliver much-needed support to police departments in Utah and across the country, as they recruit, hire, and train new officers.”

Specifically, the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) on the Beat Grant Program Reauthorization and Parity Act of 2022 would:

  • Reauthorize the COPS on the Beat Grant Program for the next ten years
  • Expand access to COPS Grants to rural communities
  • Allow for COPS grants to be used to increase wages for officers in low-income communities
  • Create a stand-alone COPS office within the U.S. Department of Justice
  • Require the U.S. Government Accountability Office to file a report at the mid-point of the program and the conclusion to determine:
    • How representative law enforcement agencies are of their communities
    • The percentage that lives in the jurisdiction served
    • Average pay compared to cost of living of jurisdiction
    • Legislative and administrative recommendations for improving these data points

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