Correa Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Incentivize Community Policing
Today, Congressman Lou Correa (CA-46) introduced bipartisan legislation with Reps. Josh Harder (CA-10), Guy Reschenthaler (PA-14), and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1), that aims to strengthen the relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve by incentivizing recruits to work in the communities where they live. The Strong Communities Act would provide federal grants for local law enforcement recruits who agree to attend school or academy and then serve in a law enforcement agency in their respective communities.
Rep. Correa said, "Every community in America is unique, and every community deserves to be protected by someone who understands what makes that community unique. By hiring from within our own neighborhoods we can help build stronger trust between communities and the law enforcement professionals that protect them. When neighbors know their officers and the officers know them, everyone is safer."
"Recruiting future officers to serve in their own local community is incredibly important for boosting police-community relations. By having police who live in the communities they protect and serve, it will be much easier to improve relationships and build up trust between police and local residents," said Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick. "I am happy to partner with Rep. Correa on this important legislation that can continue to bring together police and the neighbors they serve while alleviating the cost of education and training for new officer candidates."
"We need a compliment to the policing reform efforts we've led in the House -- and that's just what this bill is," said Representative Josh Harder. "Besides the structural issues with policing addressed in the Justice in Policing Act, we need to take deliberate steps to improve relations between police and the communities they serve through better training and thoughtful recruitment. This legislation will make that happen without changing law enforcement budgets."
"As we look for bipartisan, commonsense solutions to improve policing practices across our nation, one of the most meaningful ways we can effect change is by building strong relationships between police officers and the communities they serve," said Rep.Guy Reschenthaler. "I'm proud to join with Representatives Correa, Fitzpatrick, and Harder to introduce the Strong Communities Act, which will help local governments recruit new officers from within their own communities. By incentivizing police recruits to serve in the neighborhoods they call home, we can facilitate strong bonds and trust between law enforcement and the people they protect, which will ultimately lead to more effective policing and safer communities."
The legislation was also introduced in the United States Senate by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and Senator Gary Peters (D-MI). The Strong Communities Act is supported by civil rights and law enforcement organizations.
"We need to work to address the lack of trust between law enforcement and the communities they are sworn to protect," said Senator Peters. "This bipartisan bill would encourage community policing and help build stronger relationships between local law enforcement and the neighborhoods they serve. It would also incentivize people to serve in law enforcement in the communities they know best -- the ones they call home and this not only could lead to increased trust and stronger relationships but also greater accountability. I'll be looking to advance this commonsense, bipartisan legislation as we work to pass policing reforms."
"We must address the fundamental issues that erode trust and public safety between law enforcement and the African American Community," said Hilary O. Shelton, Director to the NAACP's Washington Bureau and Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Policy. "Immediate change is required to create the climate of trust and integrity that is essential for communities of color and police officers to be safe. Encouraging community members to become law enforcement officers and protect and serve the areas where they call home will not only help build trust between communities and the officers who serve there but save lives. We are proud to support Senators Peters' and Senator Cornyn's bipartisan legislation that seeks to do just that."
"The Police Officers Association of Michigan is proud to support Senator Peters' bipartisan Strong Communities Act that would reinvigorate community policing," said Kenneth E. Grabowski, Legislative Director of the Police Officers Association of Michigan (POAM). "This commonsense bill would strengthen law enforcement agencies' efforts to recruit officers locally and help police officers build relationships and trust with the communities and people they work to serve and protect. We urge the Senate to advance Senator Peters' bill."
"The nationwide response to the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and Rayshard Brooks have underscored the critical and desperate need for systemic change," said Clint Odom, Senior Vice President for Policy and Advocacy and Executive Director, Washington Bureau, National Urban League. "The National Urban League commends Senator Peters and Senator Cornyn for their bipartisan Strong Communities Act that would help rebuild trust between police officers and the communities they are sworn to protect and encourage recruits to serve in the communities where they live."
"This legislation would help build on the community-policing model. More law enforcement officers will be recruited from their communities, which we believe will help create more effective officers and safer communities," said Patrick Yoes, National President, Fraternal Order of Police.