By David Wildstein
Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) has introduced legislation to make significant and targeted investments in small-town police departments to ensure that local law enforcement can maximize safety by receiving resources and training.
Gottheimer’s bill, the Invest in Law Enforcement Act, will be co-sponsored by Rep. John Rutherford, a Florida Republican and former county sheriff.
“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. That’s especially true in law enforcement. The only way to make a department better is to invest wisely, in training and tools, in recruiting and retaining the best talent, and ensuring they can be involved in the community,” Gottheimer said. “That’s how you keep families safe. In short, when it comes to law enforcement, you need to invest to protect.”
The bill seeks to provide body cameras, offer grants to small police departments, provide mental health services for law enforcement, and invest in the safety of policy officers by training them in de-escalation tactics and responses to domestic violence calls.
“This is about investing in the brave men and women in our departments — in their careers, their well-being, and their futures. That will make our communities safer,” Gottheimer stated. “This legislation will provide critical financial support for recruitment, training, and mental health.”
Gottheimer says his bill “sends an important message: we want our police officers to feel supported, especially when they are struggling with the realities of their profession.”
“We want them to know that we have their backs and that they are appreciated for the job they do,” he said.
The Gottheimer bill received the immediate support of law enforcement leaders.
“Our state and local law enforcement all across New Jersey are critical to keeping our families and communities safe, and it’s critical that we stand up for them in return,” said New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Colligan. “I’m proud to be joining Congressman Gottheimer today as he continues his fight to support Jersey’s law enforcement and as he introduces the Invest in Law Enforcement Act, to ensure local police departments have the training and resources they need.”
New Jersey State Troopers Fraternal Association President Wayne Blanchard said that proposals outlined by Gottheimer “are a huge win for individual police officers, police agencies, and the citizens we proudly serve.”
“Congressman Gottheimer is in the forefront of ensuring the law enforcement community has the necessary funding to provide access to the newest technology, educational and training opportunities,” Bergen County Sheriff Anthony Cureton. “Law enforcement is constantly evolving and the legislation for funding, outlined in the Congressman’s bill, is essential to better policing.”