WASHINGTON, D.C. — A bipartisan group of Members of Congress Thursday joined together to push for investment in local law enforcement, as the nation recognizes Police Week and remembers the nearly 26,000 law enforcement officers who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.
The bipartisan group urged Congressional leadership to bring the bipartisan, bicameral Invest to Protect Act to the floor for a vote.
The Invest to Protect Act will help ensure that police departments in small towns and communities with fewer than 200 officers have the resources and training they need to keep themselves and families across their communities safe.
The Invest to Protect Act has 63 bipartisan cosponsors in the House. The Senate companion legislation was introduced by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Raphael Warnock (D-GA), and is cosponsored by Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Jon Tester (D-MT), Tom Tillis (R-NC), Christopher Coons (D-DE), Todd Young (R-IN), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).
The legislation was recently endorsed by the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus.
The bipartisan, bicameral Invest to Protect Act will provide targeted, critical federal investment to local law enforcement to:
- Make investments in officer safety, de-escalation, and domestic violence response training.
- Increase access to body worn cameras, while also investing in cloud storage and security.
- Provide grants to recruit new officers, offer retention bonuses to help communities keep existing officers.
- Offer mental health services for officers.
More than 95% of the nation’s local police departments have 200 officers or fewer.
Bipartisan members joining together to push for the Invest to Protect Act today included Reps. Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), John Rutherford (FL-4), Cindy Axne (IA-3), Markwayne Mullin (OK-2), Jim Costa (CA-16), Bruce Westerman (AK-4), Susie Lee (NV-3), David Valadao (CA-21), Kim Schrier (WA-8), Dan Meuser (PA-9), Dan Kildee (MI-5), Tom Rice (SC-7), Chris Pappas (NH-1), Peter Meijer (MI-3), Mike Levin (CA-49), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1), Susan Wild (PA-7), Salud Carbajal (PA-7), Dean Phillips (MN-3), Chrissy Houlahan (PA-6), and Angie Craig (MN-2).
Law enforcement in attendance include Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC) Executive Committee Members Sergeant Grant Ward of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and Ventura County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association President Nick Odenath, and Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson.
“Every day, our brave officers wake up, put on a bulletproof vest, kiss their spouses and children goodbye, and then put their lives on the line to protect all of us. For that reason, we are all joining forces here today — to get the backs of our first responders, and to push for bipartisan, and now bicameral, legislation that I’m leading with my friend, Congressman John Rutherford — called the Invest to Protect Act. We need to fund — not defund — local law enforcement. Cutting to the bone only weakens any profession; it pushes good people out, it diminishes the overall quality, and fuels a race to the bottom.” Gottheimer said. “I strongly urge the House and Senate leadership to bring this bipartisan bill to the floor for a vote. It will pass and our country will be safer for it.”
“Increasing trust between our law enforcement officers and the people they protect requires that we fund the police, including in smaller rural and suburban communities like those I represent,” said Congressman Tom Malinowski (NJ-7). “This Police Week, let’s recommit to supporting law enforcement with the tools and training it needs to keep our families safe.”