Hawley, Kelly Introduce Bill Boosting Police Recruitment and Retention

Wednesday, June 05, 2024

Senators Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) introduced the Educational and Career Opportunities for Public Safety (EdCOPS) Act of 2024. The bill tackles the recruitment and retainment crisis plaguing local law enforcement agencies across the country and seeks to support them. TheEdCOPS Act of 2024 offers education benefits to police officers and their dependents. 

“As crime rates rise and law enforcement agencies experience staffing shortages, Congress must ensure that states have the resources they need to attract and retain high-quality police officers. This bill would do just that by investing in the men and women in blue who keep our communities safe,” said Senator Hawley. 

“As the son of two police officers, I have a personal appreciation for the work local law enforcement do every day to keep us safe,” said Senator Kelly. “With theEdCOPS Act, we’re supporting this crucial work by providing them with academic and career opportunities so they can reach their full potential while serving their communities. This investment will retain valuable officers and help recruit new ones, making our state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies stronger.”  


A 2023 Police Executive Research study shows that police agencies are seeing an officer exodus that exceeds replacement rates. According to the study, agencies saw 50 percent more resignations from officers in 2022 than in 2019, and total sworn officer staffing has dropped nearly 5 percent over the past three years.    

The EdCOPS Act would ensure that a public safety officer who has served for eight years and commits to serving four more for a single employer would be eligible to receive financial assistance to attend a higher education program. Eligible public safety officers can also transfer unused education benefits to their dependent.  

Click here to read the bill text.