LaHood, Bost propose bill authorizing $15B to help bolster police department personnel

U.S. Reps. Darin LaHood (R-IL) and Mike Bost (R-IL) on May 18 introduced legislation that would authorize $15 billion through the U.S. Department of Justice to help state and local law enforcement departments boost their department personnel.

“I am proud to join Congressman Bost on this bill… because I see firsthand the sacrifices the men and women who button up the blue uniform make to keep Illinoisans safe,” Rep. LaHood said. “To Illinois police officers: I support you and will always have your back in Congress.”

Rep. LaHood sponsored the David Dorn Thin Blue Line Retention Act, H.R. 3509, alongside lead original cosponsor Rep. Bost. The bill 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 the city. Dorn served 38 years with the St. Louis Police Department.

“Defunding the police will not make our communities safer — in fact, the statistics prove the opposite,” said Rep. Bost. “Now more than ever, it is critical that we provide our men and women in blue with the resources and training they need to keep our communities safe.”

If enacted, H.R. 3509 would augment the salaries of state and local law enforcement officers and promote the hiring and retention of more police officers around the country, according to the congressional record bill summary.

Additionally, H.R. 3509 would retain existing funding for the Mental Health and Wellness Act services at a minimum level; provide funding for additional officer hires and officer retention at in-need departments; and give pay raises to officers by allowing recipients to use federal funds to raise the salaries of officers up to 110 percent of the local median earnings, according to a bill summary provided by the lawmakers.

The bill also would exclude cities that defund their police by not allowing their departments to receive money for pay raises after they have recently cut officers’ salaries, the summary says.

“As a state and federal prosecutor, I spent countless hours with law enforcement officials who do heroic work, day-in-and-day-out, to protect and serve our communities in central and west-central Illinois,“ Rep. LaHood said. “It’s disappointing that some politicians and big-city mayors have sought to undermine the ability of our law enforcement to protect and serve their communities.”

H.R. 3509 has been referred for consideration to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.