This week, three members of Congress introduced a bipartisan bill that would enable federal law enforcement officers that have become disabled to continue law enforcement work in their respective agencies. The Continuation on Active Service Act was introduced by Congressmen Peter King (R-NY), Steve Russell (R-OK), and Jim Langevin (D-RI).
Under current law, federal law enforcement officers who acquire a disability must either transition to an administrative position that does not take advantage of their specialized knowledge and training, or they must retire.
In introducing the bill, Congressman Langevin, who chairs the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus, said “The hard-working law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line every day deserve the opportunity to continue working in careers that make appropriate use of their knowledge and experience, regardless of disability. I have met with agents injured on duty who have valuable insight to contribute to ongoing law enforcement matters and who are prevented from doing so due to government policy. These stories resonate deeply with me. I strongly believe that people with disabilities are one of society’s greatest untapped resources, and government policy should not prevent them from making meaningful contributions to public safety.”
Law enforcement advocacy organizations were quick to praise the measure.
“Every day, federal law enforcement officers secure our borders, protect our leaders, and keep Americans safe from criminals and terrorists,” said Donald Mihalek, Executive Vice President of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association. “They do this with the belief that if something happens to them, their valor will be honored and their family protected. It is that trust which we hope the Congress keeps in mind as they work to enact the Continuation on Active Service Act introduced by Congressman Jim Langevin, which would unequivocally tell federal law enforcement officers and their families that they will never be forgotten.”
Even though senior leaders know they need to keep their skills sharp through continued development opportunities, finding the time, let alone the budget, for training and development is a constant challenge.