H.R. 1550: Federal Law Enforcement Recruitment and Retention Act of 2011

H.R. 1550

Federal Law Enforcement Recruitment and Retention Act of 2011

Sponsor
Sen. Bernard Sanders

Date
July 31, 2012 (112th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Sarah Makin

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, July 31, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 1550, the Federal Law Enforcement Recruitment and Retention Act of 2011, under a suspension of the rules requiring a two-thirds majority vote for approval.  H.R. 1550 was introduced by Del. Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR) on April 14, 2011, and was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, which held a mark-up and reported the bill, as amended, on July 21, 2011, by a voice vote. 

Bill Summary

H.R. 1550 would direct the Attorney General to establish, within the Department of Justice, a program to address the need to recruit, assign, and retain Federal law enforcement officers in States and other jurisdictions with a high rate of homicide or other violent crime. The bill would also direct the coordinator of the Program to consult with the States and units of local government on how additional Federal law enforcement officers could be used.

The bill would direct the Department of Justice to report to Congress on the actions taken under the Program, the results of such actions, and any additional recommendations for how to improve the recruitment and retention of Federal law enforcement officers.

The bill would define the term ‘state’ to include any state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, or the Northern Mariana Islands.

Background

According to House Report 112-293, “violent crime is continuing a decades-long decline in the United States.  However, there are areas of the country where homicides and other violent crimes remain a serious problem and, in some cases, are even on the rise.  For example, Puerto Rico had a homicide rate of 22.5 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2009, as compared to the national average of five homicides per 100,000 inhabitants.  The crime in these areas of the United States is often further compounded by the fact that many Federal law enforcement positions remain unfilled in high-crime jurisdictions.  In 2000, a representative of the Drug Enforcement Administration testified before the House Government Reform Committee that ‘few personnel from the Continental United States are willing to accept a transfer to Puerto Rico.’”

Cost

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that implementing H.R. 1550 would cost about $1 million annually from appropriated funds.  Enacting the bill would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.

H.R. 1550 would direct the Department of Justice (DOJ) to establish a program to improve the recruiting and retention of Federal law enforcement officers in States with high rates of violent crime.  Based on information from DOJ, CBO would expect the department would hire a small number of additional staff to carry out the program. Implementation costs would include salaries, benefits, and travel expenses.

CBO anticipates that H.R. 1550 would be implemented so as to increase the number of Federal law enforcement officers working in States with high rates of violent crime, and that any increase in the cost to deploy additional law enforcement officers would be insignificant.  If DOJ sought appropriated funds to increase the overall number of law enforcement officers, the cost to implement this legislation could be considerably greater.