Paying student loans for law enforcement a great idea

Paying student loans for law enforcement a great idea
Written by Publishing Team

The idea of ​​the government picking up the tab on student loans usually elicits a gradual disparity in benefits and tempts votes.

But a group of Massachusetts lawmakers — on both sides of the aisle — reworked the idea and made it worthwhile.

As the State House News Service reported, lawmakers are looking into bills that would allow the state government to collect student loan payments for anyone working in law enforcement, in an effort to recruit more young people into the field.

“We are facing a shortage of law enforcement officers in this state, which is something a lot of my police chiefs are saying could develop into a public safety crisis in the near future if we don’t do something about it,” the deputy. Lenny Mira (R-Georgetown) said Tuesday. “A lot of people are leaving this field. Very few young people are going into it. And so we need to do something about it really quickly.”

Mira testified before the Public Service Commission on the bills providing tuition reimbursement for anyone pursuing a degree in criminal justice in Massachusetts (H 2734) and the student loan reimbursement bill (H 2735), which he described as a “more efficient and timely way to go.” “

Under its bill, the state will cover loan payments for any individual who obtains a criminal justice degree or law enforcement degree from a Massachusetts college, university or community college, and is currently employed in Massachusetts for a law enforcement agency, municipal police department, or state police.

Among the sponsors of his bill are independent Rep. Susanna Webbs of Athol, Democratic Rep. Patrick Kearney of Scituate, and two Republicans, Rep. Matthew Morator of Plymouth and Michael Sutter of Bellingham.

The idea of ​​dropping out of college is undoubtedly a powerful recruitment tool for police departments, but the bill serves another purpose: it signals the importance of police work and treats the profession with some respect that has been sorely lacking.

Representative Tim Whelan (R-Brewster), a former corrections officer and former state police officer, said interest in law enforcement is being reflected in the drop in people taking the civil service exam. It’s usually 35,000 a year, he said, but in 2021 it’s about 6,000.

Whelan said the committee has often heard over the years from people seeking education benefits to advance one field or another, but said that others were unable to point to what he called “just the lowest level of people interested in a career in law that is compulsory.”

Local and national calls for “police disarmament,” law enforcement labeling “front to back” racism, guilt crime by association of bad cops committing crimes in one state with every officer wearing a badge, and pressure to get law enforcement out of Schools and restaurants that refused police service and civilians who abstained from having blue banners – the list of defamation and demoralizing rhetoric and actions over the past few years is both disturbing and reprehensible.

In addition to helping young recruits pay for their education before joining the force, the MYRA bill does much to restore the high regard that law enforcement should have. Men and women who obtain a law enforcement or criminal justice degree and use it to keep our communities safe should have their loans tab completely cleared.

It’s the least we can do.

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