Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., is planning to submit a bill to Congress on Wednesday authorizing the Justice Department to raise the salaries of state and local police forces all across the country — except in cities that have chosen to defund law enforcement in the wake of nationwide protests and riots.
The David Dorn Back the Blue Act was named for David Dorn, a retired police captain shot and killed, allegedly by an armed looter, during the George Floyd protests in June. Dorn, who was Black, had served his community for almost 40 years and reportedly died protecting a friend’s store from violent rioters in St. Louis.
The bill would seek to increase officer hiring and retention by authorizing $15 billion for Attorney General Bill Barr to disperse to police departments in financial need.
“Police departments across the country are under siege — underfunded, facing increased retirements and struggling to make new hires,” Hawley told Fox News. “But, as violence and rioting sweeps across American cities big and small, our courageous law enforcement officers are more vital now than ever.”
He added, “Democratic politicians are bending to radical activists who want to defund the police. We should do just the opposite. Our officers deserve a raise, not defunding. They deserve our unqualified support, and this bill would give it to them.“
If the bill becomes law, police departments will have new federal funding at their disposal allowing them to increase the salaries of officers “up to 110 percent of the local median earnings, and would exclude cities that defund their police,” Hawley’s office explained in a statement.
The Missouri Republican’s staff also cited a decrease in morale among U.S. law enforcement and said it was one of the main reasons the senator was pushing this bill forward.
The increase in violence and vilification of officers has changed the landscape for rookies and veterans alike. If the duties of police officers have become more physically and mentally demanding, given recent civil unrest, their pay should be commensurate with that change and reflect any increased risk, Hawley added.