A bill introduced Monday by Assemblyman Rudy Salas, a Bakersfield Democrat, designates $50 million to hire police officers in underserved communities plagued by violent crime.
“Hiring and retaining qualified police officers who live in the same neighborhoods that they serve is one of the best ways we can build trust and reduce crime.” — Assemblyman Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield
Under Assembly Bill 2062, eligibility for the funding is limited to hiring officers who agree to live and work in violent underserved neighborhoods.
“Hiring and retaining qualified police officers who live in the same neighborhoods that they serve is one of the best ways we can build trust and reduce crime,” Salas said in a news release.
“AB 2062 is an innovative investment in creating neighborhood cops who are part of the community they serve and live in. Our neighborhoods are safer when we have strong, positive interactions between our community members and local law enforcement.”
Violent Crime Increase in Big Cities
Salas said that in 15 of California’s largest counties, violent crime is increasing and especially so in areas where law enforcement agencies have difficulty recruiting officers. He cited a January report from the Public Policy Institute of California that found homicide rates in Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, and San Francisco increased by 17% in 2021.
That report also said that among the state’s 15 largest counties, only Fresno and Orange counties saw rising violent and property crime rates in 2020.
The bill specifies that the grants be used “to provide a 5-year supplement to peace officer salaries in local law enforcement agencies that are in underserved communities that have had a homicide rate higher than the state average for the past 5 years or more and where the peace officer lives within 5 miles of the office in which they work.”
The bill calls for an analysis of the grants’ effectiveness before the law sunsets on Jan. 1, 2029.