It might be the best way to view law enforcement doing their thing, ever since Fox canceled the long-running reality show Cops in 2020.
Crime and homicide rates rose in both 2020 and 2021, although the rates still remain near record-lows in a historical context. Republicans often accuse Democrats of being “soft on crime” with their policies, or failing to appreciate the bravery and heroism of law enforcement, with the more progressive wing of the Democratic Party calling to “Defund the police.”
Now, one House Republican has an idea which he hopes will get his colleagues to more viscerally appreciate his perspective on the issue.
What the resolution does
The COPS (Congress Observing Police Service) Resolution, would require that every member of the House participate in a ride-along with law enforcement from their district during each two-year term they serve in Congress.
Exceptions would be granted to members physically incapable of participating, but otherwise all members would be required, or else face a $200 fine. For comparison, when the House had a Covid mask mandate in place, the fine for the first failure to comply was $500, followed by $2,500 for each subsequent offense.
It was introduced in the House on May 13 as H.Res. 1115, by Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH6).
What supporters say
Supporters argue that seeing is believing, and nothing will make you believe in the police like seeing what they do for yourself, rather than just reading about it or watching video footage.
“Having the opportunity to witness firsthand the challenges that law enforcement encounters every day is a vital step towards bridging the divide between supporters of those in the blue uniform and the ‘Defund the Police’ movement,” Rep. Johnson said in a press release. The resolution “will allow members of Congress to see firsthand the important work our men and women in uniform do to keep our communities and neighborhoods safe.”
What opponents say
It’s not an argument from opponents, exactly, but rather of skeptics: that members may see what they want to see, rather than what Rep. Johnson hopes they see.
For example, congressional Democrats and Republicans held simultaneous dueling trips to the border in March 2021 — albeit 245 miles apart — to contrast their policies on immigration. Some of the most progressive Democrats, like Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN5), said the visit hardened her progressive views; some of the most hardline Republicans, like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), said the visit hardened his conservative views.
Odds of passage
The resolution has attracted four cosponsors, all Republicans. It awaits a potential vote in the House Administration Committee.
Odds of passage are low in the Democratic-controlled chamber.