‘Hero Pay’ Grants Available to Local Police Agencies

HARRISBURG PA – Money for so-called “hero” retention pay, as well as sign-up bonuses, for officers working in short-staffed Pennsylvania municipal police departments is included in the state budget approved earlier this month. So far, however, it’s unknown which if any local municipalities intend to apply for funding.

Support for the recently authorized Local Law Enforcement Support Grant Program, administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, was advocated by state Attorney General Josh Shapiro. It intends to award $135 million to departments to upgrade equipment, establish new units, retain law enforcement personnel, and recruit new police officers.

The financial assistance comes at a time when historic number of vacant positions are unable to be filled in police departments statewide, proponents said. According to the PA Municipal Police Officer’s Training Education and Training Commission, one-third of accredited Pennsylvania law enforcement agencies reported 1,229 officer vacancies at the start of 2022.

In a letter to police chiefs Shapiro said his office will help any interested department submit an application to give their officers, currently serving and in good standing, a $1,200 retention bonus.

“Money alone will not reverse the shortage of officers in our departments,” Shapiro acknowledged. “We need a coordinated statewide response,” he said, that includes recruitment programs which introduce young people and the public to positive effects they can have in law enforcement and other public safety careers.

Photo by Ed Zbarzhyvetsky via Deposit Photos, used under license