3 Downstate Republican Congressman are advocating for higher pay for police officers by reintroducing legislation. Rodney Davis, Darin LaHood, and Mike Bost have re-introduced House Resolution 3131, commonly known as the David Dorn Back the Blue Act, to place a federal mandate on raising police officer salaries and hiring more police officers.
The extensive bill would authorizes $15 billion through the Department of Justice to help state and local law enforcement departments to boost their department personnel. It retains existing funding for the Mental Health and Wellness Act services at a minimum level in an effort to not negatively impact existing mental health services; provides that only funding appropriated over the currently authorized level of $7.5M can be used for the purposes of the bill. It provides funding for additional officer hires and officer retention for departments that need more manpower on their police forces, gives pay raises to officers by allowing recipients to use federal funds to raise the salaries of officers up to 110% of the local median earnings.
The bill would exclude cities that have voted to defund their police department. It includes language to ensure that an agency that has reduced salaries in the year prior due to COVID-19 related budget constraints are not penalized.
The legislation is named in honor of David Dorn, a retired St. Louis Police captain, who was killed on June 2, 2020, while protecting a friend’s store during a violent night of rioting in St. Louis. He served for 38 years with the St. Louis Police Department.
The previous bill died in the House Judiciary Committee in October of last year. The current bill, which names Davis as chief sponsor, has been referred back to that committee on Wednesday.