On Thursday, a bipartisan group of North Carolina legislators announced they would introduce legislation to add two seats to the N.C. Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission. The bill would add two seats to the 35-member board that establishes minimum statewide entrance standards and mandatory training requirements for law enforcement officers.

Primary sponsors in the house were Reps. Dennis Riddell, R-Alamance, Carla Cunningham, D-Mecklenburg, John Bradford, R-Mecklenburg, and Steve Ross, R-Alamance, while Sens. Steve Jarvis, R-Davidson, Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell, and Bobby Hanig, R-Currituck, are the primary sponsors in the senate.

The bill would add two board members—one from the North Carolina Police Benevolent Association (NCPBA) and one from the North Carolina Fraternal Order of Police (NCFOP).

“Rank and file law enforcement officers, who are under more political pressure than ever before, must have a seat at the table,” the NCPBA said in a statement. “These are officers that run into harm’s way every day to keep our community safe. While administrators and leadership have a unique perspective of the importance of training, so does the Police Benevolent Association who represents these law enforcement officers.”

As the NCPBA points out, the organization is the largest association of law enforcement officers in North Carolina, with over 16,000 members. The NCFOP has approximately 6,500 law enforcement members.

“Leaving the [North Carolina] PBA and FOP out of the commission’s work is a slap in the face to the men and women who put on their badge and wear it with honor and integrity through the day,” said Riddell. “They deserve seats at the table.”

The NCPBA made news in 2022 when they endorsed then-Congressman Ted Budd in his bid for U.S. Senate over Democrat Cheri Beasley, who they had previously endorsed in 2020 when she was running for Chief Justice of the N.C. Supreme Court.