police on capitol steps (Sebastian Portillo/Shutterstock.com)

Fed law enforcement employees, orgs back LEO Equity Act

Feds who work in the challenging field of law enforcement, and the organizations that represent them, are embracing legislation they hope—finally—might provide equity and inclusion for their colleagues across all agencies.

A bipartisan bill—the guts of which have been floated previously, numerous times—has been introduced in the House that would standardize full federal law enforcement officer status, and thereby improve pay and benefits packages, for appropriately situated employees across all agencies and departments who are now excluded from such status. The bill was reintroduced by Reps. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.), Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), and Andrew Garbarino (R-N.Y.).

The Law Enforcement Officers Equity Act (H.R. 962) aims to widen the controlling definition of the term “law enforcement officer.” If passed, all feds who are authorized to carry a firearm and whose work involves investigating or apprehending suspects, or previously convicted persons, would fall under the federal “law enforcement officer” (LEO) classification, under Title 5 of the U.S. Code.

At present, federal law treats feds who work in law enforcement in sharply different ways, often for no apparent reason. Those who carry a gun and work under the Federal Protective Service, for example, fall under a lower pay scale and receive lesser retirement benefits than those under other, perhaps more familiar federal law enforcement, such as the FBI.

This is not a small issue. All told, the bill’s backers say that around 30,000 feds who carry out law enforcement duties do not qualify for full LEO status as pertains to pay and benefits.

View the February 22, 2021 FEND issue for the full article. 

Reader comments

Fri, Feb 26, 2021 FED-UP Montrose, NY

This is all well and good, but, it is more complicated than it seems. The pension laws would have to be changed to allow older candidates to enter the LEO pension system. Right now police services like the VA, DOD, and FPS can hire older 20 year retirees from municipal agencies, tapping into a great resource of experience. These retirees are locked out of the LEO pension police jobs because of their age. The police jobs that fall under FERS pension can hire them. These police jobs normally are a lower pay scale than the LEO jobs, but again the retirees come with a municipal pension already and are looking for a supplemental income. It is a system that works out best for all. That being said the politicians can screw this all up as is usually the case, or with a little forethought create a system that would allow the older retirees to participate in the LEO pension with only ten or fifteen years federal service. It is a lot to ask I know.

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