Police Retention Study Bill Passes the Senate

A bill to probe the potential causes of the statewide decline in police officer recruitment and retention has passed the Senate and will now go to the House Appropriations Committee.

Counties support SB 18 – Police Retention Workgroup. As a regular collaborator with local law enforcement agencies, MACo is well aware of the challenges these crucial organizations face. Many industries are still reeling from staffing shortages brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic and other economic factors, but few more so than law enforcement, whose vacancies and abundance of retirement-age employees represent a pressing challenge the State would do well to address. To ensure the Workgroup’s eventual policy recommendations are maximally effective, MACo suggested language that would add one police department representative from a rural county and another from an urban county. The version of the bill now under House review includes these amendments.

From the MACo Testimony:

Staffing shortages have created complications across many sectors but few pose a comparable and immediate threat the way law enforcement shortages do. Vacancies, in conjunction with the percentage of employees eligible for retirement, paint an even more disturbing picture of the crisis. Including law enforcement officers in this workgroup can only enhance the group’s effectiveness and outcomes. County law enforcement officers are on the ground every day facing these retention challenges head-on – they see the workforce shortages juxtaposed with the evolving needs and challenges of their communities. These day-to-day, lived experiences of law enforcement are the clearest lens to bring these issues into focus for a capable, diverse, and well-meaning workgroup of stakeholders.

For more on MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2023 legislative session, visit MACo’s Legislative Tracking Database.