RELEASE: Gottheimer Applauds Senate Companion Introduction of Bipartisan “Invest to Protect Act” 

Mar 17, 2022
Press

Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Invest in Law Enforcement

Investing in Training, Recruitment & Retention, Body Cameras, Mental Health Resources 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, March 17, 2022, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) applauded the Senate companion introduction of the bipartisan Invest to Protect Act, led by U.S. Reps. Gottheimer and John Rutherford (FL-4), which will make critical, targeted investments in local police departments and ensure that police officers in smaller communities across the country have the resources and training they need to keep themselves and their communities safe.

The Senate companion legislation to the House is led by Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), and Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.).

“Every day, our brave law enforcement wake up, put on a bulletproof vest, kiss their spouses and children goodbye, and put their lives on the line to look out for us. That’s why we must always get the backs of our first responders, and all those who serve our nation. With my bipartisan legislation, we will make critical investments in our law enforcement, in training and tools, in recruiting and retaining the best talent, and in ensuring they have the resources they need to keep themselves and our communities safe. When it comes to law enforcement, we need to invest to protect,” said U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), a member of the bipartisan Law Enforcement Caucus and lead House sponsor of the Invest to Protect Act. “I’m proud to have Senators Cortez Masto, Grassley, Warnock, and Cassidy introducing the companion to my bipartisan legislation in the Senate, so that we can get this vital investment across the finish line.”

“Small police forces in rural areas often suffer from a lack of operational equipment and services,” said Congressman John Rutherford (FL-04). “That’s why we introduced the Invest to Protect Act, which creates a grant program for departments with fewer than 200 officers to support critical resources like body cameras, training, retention, and mental health care. Thank you to my colleague, Rep. Gottheimer, for leading on this important legislation.”

From their announcement today, the Senators stated:

“Our local law enforcement agencies need more funding and support to keep Nevadans safe,” said Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. “My bipartisan bill would ensure that small agencies can easily access resources to provide training and mental health care for their officers and to invest in recruitment and retention to help keep great officers on the streets. These small departments are the backbone of so many communities, and I’ll always work to get them what they need.”

“During my 99 county meetings, I’ve heard from local police departments about the difficulty they’ve had recruiting folks to be on the police force. We need to ensure our law enforcement agencies have the resources needed to recruit, train and retain police – especially as crime rates continue soaring across the country. Our Invest to Protect Act will send a clear message to police, including small police departments, that we have their backs,” Senator Chuck Grassley said.

“Communities all across Georgia rely on our law enforcement officers every day, but our smallest communities often have the hardest time getting the support they need to attract and train officers and make sure they have the resources they need to serve,” said Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock. “This bipartisan legislation will direct additional, much-needed federal support to some of the local law enforcement agencies in Georgia and around our nation who are most in need, strengthening public safety and investing in our brave police officers’ mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing. I’m proud to support it.”

Gottheimer’s bipartisan, bicameral Invest to Protect Act will provide the following federal investment to small police departments:

  1. Investments in officer safety, de-escalation, and domestic violence response training, allowing officers to receive critical training that will make them more effective at their jobs, all without putting a strain on department budgets or reducing the number of officers on duty while others are at training by allowing investment to be used to offset overtime pay.
  2. Investment for body worn cameras — to hold everyone accountable — while also providing much-needed resources for data storage and data security.
  3. Investment for small departments to recruit new officers — helping expand departments and bringing in new, good officers. This investment can also be used by departments to provide retention bonuses to help keep their existing officers and provide investment for officers pursuing graduate degrees in public health, social work, and mental health.
  4. Investment for departments to provide mental health resources for their officers.

In the House, the bipartisan legislation has more than 50 cosponsors and the bill is endorsed by the National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO), the National Sheriff’s Association, the National Troopers Coalition (NTC), the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), the New Jersey State Troopers Fraternal Association, the New Jersey State Police Benevolent Association, and the New Jersey State Troopers Non-Commissioned Officers Association.

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