Ross, Moran Introduce the Bipartisan Strong Communities Act of 2023

Legislation will help recruit police officers in NC amid staffing shortages

July 28, 2023

Today, Congresswoman Deborah Ross (NC-02) and Congressman Nathaniel Moran (TX-01) introduced the bipartisan Strong Communities Act of 2023 to strengthen relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve by incentivizing enforcement officials to work in the communities where they live. The bill comes as law enforcement agencies nationwide, including in North Carolina, grapple with the challenges of recruiting and retaining police officers. Recent studies have shown that a staggering 78% of agencies are struggling to attract qualified candidates.

“As we continue to face shortages of law enforcement officers nationwide, we must offer incentives for our police departments to help them recruit talent from their own communities,” said Congresswoman Ross. “When our law enforcement reflects the people they serve, officers are more effective in their work, and citizens have greater confidence and faith in the officials sworn to protect them. I’m proud to work with Congressman Moran in introducing this bipartisan bill and remain committed to providing our nation’s brave police departments with the tools they need to succeed and keep us safe.” 

“Communities are best served by those who know it well. My legislation, the Strong Communities Act of 2023 will allow funding from the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant program to be used for the purpose of recruiting locals and sponsoring law enforcement training programs that will encourage recruits to stay and serve in the communities they know and love,” said Congressman Moran. “Attracting and retaining law enforcement officers is a challenge for many communities, and this legislation takes us a step closer to ensuring that local law enforcement has the manpower needed to keep our communities safe and secure.”

Background Information:

States and localities across the country are facing a recruitment problem when it comes to law enforcement. The Strong Communities Act will incentivize recruits to stay in the communities where they live.

The grants offered through this program will be used to attract recruits to attend critical law enforcement training programs on the condition that enrollees work for their local law enforcement agency following completion of the training. This program will allow local communities to have trained, qualified law enforcement officers that are familiar with the specific needs of their communities.

Grant eligibility:

  • Recruits must agree to work for a law enforcement agency – defined as an agency of state or local government authorized to prevent, detect, investigate, or prosecute violations of criminal law – in their community at least four of the eight years following their completion of a law enforcement training program.
  • The law enforcement agency where officers and recruits ultimately work must be located within seven miles of the residence of the recruit – or 20 miles for counties with fewer than 150,000 residents.
  • If an officer does not complete the four-year work requirement in the eight years following completion of their training program, the officer must repay the grant amount to the law enforcement agency.