Bacon, Bost, Newhouse cosponsor School Resource Officer Act

School Resource Officers (SROs) would receive more federal funding under legislation introduced on Feb. 11 by U.S. Reps. Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Don Bacon (R-NE), and Mike Bost (R-IL).

“As a father, grandfather and former first responder, ensuring that our children and grandchildren are safe at school is one of my top priorities,” Rep. Bost said. “A big part of that is having dedicated school resource officers on campus to respond in emergency situations.”

The congressmen are original cosponsors of the School Resource Officer Act of 2022, H.R. 6712, which is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Chris Jacobs (R-NY) to authorize the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program in the U.S. Department of Justice at $500 million for each of fiscal years 2023 through 2026, according to a bill summary provided by the lawmakers.

“I am committed to ensuring central Washington students have the best learning environment available to them,” Rep. Newhouse said, adding that H.R. 6712 directs more funds to SROs, “who play a critical role in making students feel safe and are responsible for developing school safety plans.”

“This important legislation protects our students and communities, while ensuring that law enforcement agencies’ have the resources they need in order to provide this service to their communities,” he added. 

Rep. Bacon noted that SROs also “serve as educators and informal counselors, and are important members of the school family.”

“At a time when schools across the country are adding or bringing back School Resource Officers, this legislation will help those law enforcement agencies who have seen a reduction in funding hire additional SRO’s,” said Rep. Bacon.

If enacted, H.R. 6712 also would require that not less than 30 percent of funding for hiring programs within the COPS program be used to pay the salaries and benefits of school resource officers, according to the bill summary.

Additionally, federal funds under the bill may provide up to 75 percent of salary and benefits of full-time officers with a 25 percent minimum local cash match requirement, the summary says, and the maximum federal share cap would be increased to $125,000 per officer position.

The measure has been referred for consideration to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee and to the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee.