Celebrate National Police Week by Passing This Bill

Categories: The Insider

If you’ve ever visited a federal agency or military facility, a Veterans Affairs hospital, or the National Zoo in our nation’s capital, you may have seen uniformed officers guarding the entrances or patrolling the grounds. 

They work for the Department of Defense Civilian Police, the VA Police, the Federal Protective Service (FPS), the Marshal’s Service, the U.S. Mint, the Bureau of Prisons, and the National Zoological Park Police. It’s their job to protect workers and visitors at thousands of federal facilities across the country.  

AFGE is proud to represent tens of thousands of law enforcement and public safety officers at all of these agencies. Each of them swore an oath to protect and serve their country. Many of our officers have died in the line of duty, making the ultimate sacrifice to keep us safe. Officers like Osvaldo Albarati, Eric Williams, Jose Rivera, Gerardo Hernandez, and many others upheld their oath until their last breath.  

As we celebrate National Police Week this week, AFGE extends our gratitude and appreciation to everyone who puts on the uniform to fight for our safety and protection. We also honor the memory of those we've lost and reaffirm our commitment to do what is necessary to make sure we never lose another officer.  

Law Enforcement Officers Equity Act 

One of the best ways to honor law enforcement and public safety officers is to give them the benefits they deserve. That’s why AFGE supports the Law Enforcement Officers Equity Act, which would ensure all federal law enforcement personnel are treated equally when determining pay rates and retirement benefits. 

Law enforcement officers have a physically demanding job. That’s why their mandatory retirement age is 57, or 20 years of service. When they retire, they’ll get full law enforcement retirement benefits.  

But these rules don’t apply to all law enforcement officers. Those working for FPS, VA, DoD, FEMA, the U.S. Mint, and other agencies are not eligible for full law enforcement retirement benefits until years after their peers.  

The physical demands of a job where you may be called on to handcuff a violent suspect under the influence of alcohol or drugs only get harder over the age of 60. 

“It’s a young person’s job,” said Andrew Peterson, a VA police officer and president of AFGE Local 1969 in Minneapolis, Minn.  

VA police officers and those working for FPS, DoD, and U.S. Mint also have lower rates of pay than other federal law enforcement officers.  

The Law Enforcement Officers Equity Act, H.R. 962, would change all that.  

Specifically, it would expand the definition of law enforcement officer under Title 5 of the U.S. Code to include all federal employees who are authorized to carry a firearm and whose duties involve the investigation or apprehension of suspected or convicted individuals. 

AFGE thanks Representatives Bill Pascrell Jr., Gerry Connolly, Brian Fitzpatrick, and Andrew Garbarino for reintroducing this bipartisan bill earlier this year.  

We’re urging our locals to get their members of Congress to cosponsor the bill so that it will advance to the full house.  

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