Council President Sabina Matos Proposes Resolution Urging Expansion of Police Officer Education

Providence RI July 2, 2020…City Council Meeting, Council President Sabina Matos (Ward 15) proposed a resolution urging the Rhode Island General Assembly to expand the types of degrees eligible for education reimbursement to law enforcement officers.

In recent weeks the City Council and the Finance Committee have heard resounding calls for police reform with many residents calling on the Finance Committee to provide more social services for residents in crisis.

 In an effort to expand social service education and improve educational outcomes for Rhode Island law enforcement, the Council is urging the Rhode Island General Assembly to revisit Rhode Island General Law 42-28.1 et. seq., which establishes an incentive pay program by which municipalities can reimburse officers for obtaining educational credits. 
Currently, this program allows for officers to be reimbursed for behavioral science courses only if they are simultaneously enrolled in a program to obtain a degree in law, law enforcement or criminal justice.

“What the Council has heard for our community members is that our public safety institutions need to be educated on comprehensive social and behavioral services. Offering public safety officials a robust range of educational opportunities from social work to psychology or public health will allow law enforcement officers to gain new perspectives on how to respond to crisis situations and engage with their communities,” stated Council President Sabina Matos.

This resolution requests that the Rhode Island General Assembly consider expanding education reimbursement to police officers for courses and degrees in social work, psychology, public health and other social service fields.

“It is clear that our current systems are not working to the best of their ability. Moving forward, the Council will work to support education, reform and equity in law enforcement while keeping community input as a top priority,” added Council President Matos.

Upon passage, this resolution will be sent to the Providence Delegation as well as the Speaker of the House and the Senate President. 
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