U.S. AG highlights funding boost for LE, new recruitment recommendations at IACP 2023
A recruitment report will suggest initiating high school and college pipeline programs, as well as modernizing the recruitment process for faster onboarding
By Sarah Roebuck
SAN DIEGO — During the 2023 International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) conference in San Diego, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland took part in a fireside chat moderated by IACP Deputy Executive Director Terry Cunningham. The topics of discussion touched on several critical issues facing law enforcement today.
Garland started by highlighting the Justice Department's commitment to strengthening partnerships with state and local law enforcement agencies. He talked about the Department's request for a significant increase in appropriations for the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) Hiring Program, moving from $139 million in 2022 to $224 million in 2023, with a proposed appropriation of $2.7 billion for the 2024 fiscal year.
Garland also announced nearly $75 million in critical grant funding for law enforcement agencies and stakeholders across the country. This funding aims to enhance efforts to combat drug trafficking, support other public safety programs, and provide agencies with the resources to extend their law enforcement mental health and wellness services.
Addressing recruitment and retention issues in policing, Garland revealed collaborative efforts between the Office of Justice Programs, the Bureau of Justice Affairs and the COPS Office to find solutions. A report due next week will propose recommendations including officer wellness investment, high school and college pipeline programs and modernizing recruitment for quicker onboarding.
While addressing the surge in threats of violence against law enforcement personnel, prosecutors, judges and others in service to the public, Garland made it clear that these threats are unacceptable.
"People in a democracy are entitled to argue with each other, to criticize in the most vociferous way, but we won’t have a democracy if people decide that violence and threats of violence are the way to influence outcomes,” he said.
During the chat, Garland discussed the Justice Department's extensive efforts against the fentanyl crisis, targeting all aspects of the cartel-driven trafficking chains. This year's operations have led to the seizure of over 62 million fentanyl pills and 9,700 pounds of fentanyl powder.
The Attorney General's speech at IACP emphasized the Justice Department's dedication to partnership with national law enforcement agencies, tackling key challenges to uphold public safety and justice.