Fischer, Coons Bill Tackling Law Enforcement Challenges is Now Law

Fischer, Coons Bill Tackling Law Enforcement Challenges is Now Law
U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer.
May 30th, 2024 | Office of Sen. Deb Fischer

WASHINGTON – This weekend, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.)’s bipartisan Recruit and Retain Act (S. 546) became law after being signed by the president. This legislation provides law enforcement across the country with resources to combat staffing shortages. Days earlier, Senator Fischer urged President Bident to sign the legislation in a speech on the Senate floor.

Senator Fischer introduced the Recruit and Retain Act with Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.). Representatives Wesley Hunt (R-Texas) and Glenn Ivey (D-Md.) introduced identical companion legislation in the House.

“Staffing shortages are burdening law enforcement officers and threatening public safety. My Recruit and Retain Act will give departments resources to rebuild. I’m grateful to the Nebraska officers and sheriffs who worked with me to craft this legislation, and I’m grateful the president signed it,” said Senator Fischer.

“The law enforcement leaders I speak with in Delaware all express the same concern: They are struggling with recruiting, hiring, and retaining quality police officers. This weekend, President Biden signed my bipartisan bill with Senator Fischer into law that will actually do something to address those challenges. The Recruit and Retain Act will strengthen community policing by establishing a new recruitment pipeline program and by reducing onboarding costs for new officers. I’m proud this bipartisan bill will now get to work to support our police departments across Delaware and across the country,” said Senator Coons.

“Recruiting and retaining highly trained law enforcement professionals is of the utmost importance. Our ability to attract and develop the best, brightest and most compassionate and dedicated men and women of differing backgrounds is vital to the health and well-being of our nation. Keeping our residents safe and promoting better relations with our citizenry can only lead to safer streets and better policing. President Biden signed this bill into law for all who care about our country and a path forward for good law enforcement standards. We must incentivize hiring and keeping the people who will do the job of safeguarding us from border to Broadway and everywhere in between,” said Congressman Glenn Ivey (MD-04).


The Recruit and Retain Act will expand the U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants to cover more onboarding costs, making it easier for law enforcement agencies to hire new officers. It will create strong local hiring pipelines through a new partnership program between schools and departments.

The Recruit and Retain Act has received national endorsements from the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Fraternal Order of Police, Major Cities Chiefs Association, Major County Sheriffs of America, National Association of Police Organizations, National Sheriffs Association, R Street Institute, and the Peace Officers Research Association of California.

The legislation also has received state support from the Nebraska Sheriffs Association, Police Chiefs Association of Nebraska, Kearney Police Department, Omaha Police Department, and Scottsbluff Police Department.

Click here to read more about stakeholder support. 

Click here to read the text of the bill.  

The bill contains five key initiatives:

Supporting Officer Onboarding

1. Makes the U.S. Department of Justice’s COPS grants more flexible to reduce the costs of hiring new law enforcement officers (ex: background checks, psychological evaluations, etc.).

Reducing Administrative Burdens

2. Allows up to 2% of grant funding to alleviate the administrative costs of implementing COPS grants, to align with similar Justice Department programs. Many law enforcement agencies have noted this would offset the paperwork burden associated with COPS grants. 

Authorizing New Pipeline Recruitment Program 

3. Using existing funding, authorizes the Pipeline Partnership Program within COPS to encourage collaboration between agencies and local elementary schools, secondary schools, and institutions of higher education for students interested in future careers in law enforcement. Qualifying partnership activities would include: dedicated programming for students, work-based learning opportunities, project-based learning, mentoring, community liaisons, career or jobs fairs, work site visits, job shadowing, and skills-based internships.

Providing Better Grant Guidance for Understaffed Agencies

4. Creates new guidance for COPS hiring grants to clarify the lack of consistent application procedures for understaffed agencies. This will ensure more eligible police departments are better able to access COPS grants.

Shining a Light on Recruitment and Retention Challenges

5. Directs a comprehensive study to illuminate and provide much-needed data on the latest recruitment and retention challenges law enforcement agencies of all sizes face nationwide, and document how these trends are impacting public safety.


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