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Police departments can attract new officers thanks to AFSCME-backed Recruit and Retain Act

Photo credit: Steve Skinner Photography Moment
Police departments can attract new officers thanks to AFSCME-backed Recruit and Retain Act
By Aaron Gallant ·

With overwhelming bipartisan support, Congress has passed and President Joe Biden has signed into law a new bill to increase staffing levels at police departments throughout America.

The Recruit and Retain Act (H.R. 3325/S. 546), which AFSCME strongly supports, will award federal grants to law enforcement agencies that partner with educational institutions to enhance their recruitment efforts. The purpose of the law is to boost the number of applicants for unfilled positions at police departments across the country by supporting their hiring activities.

Under the Recruit and Retain Act, the Department of Justice (DOJ) will award competitive grants to agencies that partner with educational organizations such as universities, Hispanic-serving institutions and historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

A recent report from the DOJ found the shortage of law enforcement officers is a nationwide public safety crisis. By encouraging students to consider career paths in law enforcement, this law will ensure more young people pursue rewarding jobs that entail keeping our communities safe.

The Recruit and Retain Act, which was sponsored by Rep. Wesley Hunt (R-Texas) and Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), also requires a study to better understand why people enter and leave the profession, the effect of digital media on recruitment efforts and barriers to recruitment and retention.

The House approved this legislation during National Law Enforcement Week (May 12-18). The Senate previously passed the bill in September, and Biden signed it into law on May 24.

Public safety professionals are increasingly turning to AFSCME to build power at work, and to advocate for safety on the job, better wages, good health care and a secure retirement. AFSCME members in corrections, law enforcement and emergency response defend our freedoms and those of the communities we serve.

Visit the AFSCME Public Safety website to get involved and learn more. 

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