U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler is one of nearly a dozen original sponsors for a bill that reauthorizes a law enforcement funding grants program, the congresswoman’s office announced Friday.
Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, helped introduce the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) on the Beat Grant Program Reauthorization and Parity Act of 2022. Primarily introduced by Rep. Tom Rice, R-South Carolina, the act would reauthorize the COPS program for 10 years and would triple funding for fiscal year 2022, bringing the total to about $1 billion, a news release stated.
The bill would expand access to the grant program to rural communities and would allow the grants to be used to increase officer wages in low-income communities, according to the release. The bill also creates a standalone COPS office within the U.S. Department of Justice.
Herrera Beutler said she was pleased to join other co-sponsors from both parties to support a bill which would designate federal funds “to hire, train and retain” local law enforcement.
“The ‘defund the police’ craze has contributed to demoralized police forces and fewer good cops on our streets; it’s time to reverse course,” Herrera Beutler stated in the release.
She said the legislation would ensure officers are adequately compensated, especially given the current climate around law enforcement.
“If we want well-trained police officers truly dedicated to protecting and serving all residents of our communities, it’s time to reinvest in our law enforcement rather than chasing them away or cutting their funding,” Herrera Beutler said.
The bill would also require the U.S. Government Accountability Office to file a report at the midpoint of the program, the release stated. The report would analyze a number of points, including law enforcement agencies’ representation with respect to their communities, average pay compared to the cost of living, and would provide legislative or administrative recommendations for areas of improvement.