By Jay Edwards
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The bipartisan, bicameral Invest to Protect Act, sponsored by U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), passed the House Thursday by a 360 to 64 vote.
The bipartisan Invest to Protect Act, which was introduced by Gottheimer and former Sheriff Rep. John Rutherford (FL-4), will make critical, targeted investments in small and midsize police departments with fewer than 125 sworn officers — which make up more than 96% of local U.S. police departments — for the recruitment, retention, support, and training they need to protect themselves and our families. It will give departments the flexibility to utilize resources to make meaningful investments in their officers and communities.
The bipartisan Invest to Protect Act of 2022 will:
- Invest in officer safety, de-escalation, and domestic violence response training, allowing officers to receive critical training that will make them even more effective at their jobs;
- Create grants for small departments to recruit and retain new officers, to help keep their existing officers and recruit new ones;
- Allow departments to provide mental health resources for their officers; and,
- Authorize $60,000,000 a year for 5 years for local police departments.
A version of this legislation unanimously passed the Senate, led by Senators Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Grassley (R-IA).
“Today, Republicans and Democrats came together to pass the bipartisan, bicameral Invest to Protect Act to make real progress for public safety by investing in good policing to protect our families and officers. It will ensure that local police departments across our country have what they need to recruit and retain the finest officers, to provide necessary training, and to invest in providing mental health resources for our officers,” 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. “The Invest to Protect Act was developed through many conversations with Republicans and Democrats in both chambers, and with a broad spectrum of stakeholders. It would not be where it is today without the partnership and support of Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Joyce Beatty, the National Association of Police Organization, the Fraternal Order of Police, our local New Jersey law enforcement organizations and departments, including the New Jersey State PBA and New Jersey State Fraternal Order of Police, and my Senate colleagues.”
“As New York City’s new Mayor, Eric Adams, a former Police Captain, said, ‘I don’t subscribe to the belief of some that we can only have justice and not public safety. We will have them both.’ Adams is exactly right — we can and we will have both. The bottom line: you cannot cut or defund your way to safer communities and better police departments. It’s about investing to protect. We must always get the backs of those who risk their lives every day to protect us,” Gottheimer said.
“Over the last few years, law enforcement officers have faced many challenges and threats to their well-being that have created a dangerous environment for those sworn to protect the public. These challenges have ranged from violence against officers, an increase in violent rhetoric against them, lagging technology, recruitment and retention issues, and mental health concerns. Smaller municipalities are experiencing increased strain on the men and women in blue,” said Fraternal Order of Police National President Patrick. “We believe that the “Invest to Protect Act” can help our nation’s smaller agencies and departments combat these issues that plague law enforcement officers in smaller municipalities.”
“The Invest to Protect Act will create a broad grant program specifically for small agencies within the DOJ’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Program that will give them access vital resources to help them train their officers, retain and hire officers, and support mental health and wellness programs for officers,” said National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) Executive Director William J. Johnson, Esq. “We must ensure all law enforcement agencies have the support and resources necessary to effectively serve and protect our communities.”
The Invest to Protect Act of 2022 has been endorsed by the National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO).