Legislation focuses on smaller police departments; invests in training, body cameras, mental health resources, recruitment & retention
Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03) has introduced bipartisan legislation, the Invest to Protect Act, to make critical, targeted investments in local police departments and ensure police officers throughout Southwest Washington have the resources and training needed to keep communities safe.
The Invest to Protect Act will provide funding to local police departments that have 200 officers or fewer. In Southwest Washington and across the nation, over 95 percent of local police departments have 200 officers or fewer.
“It’s concerning that our local police departments – especially those in our rural communities – often struggle to hire and retain police officers,” Herrera Beutler said. “Given the current challenges facing police departments, I’ve helped introduce bipartisan legislation designed to invest more resources in our police departments to give them the proper training and tools to keep our communities safe.”
Support for the bipartisan Invest to Protect Act:
The legislation is endorsed by multiple law enforcement organizations including the National Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of Police Organizations, National Sheriff’s Association, and the National Troopers Coalition.
“Over the last year, law enforcement officers have faced many challenges and threats to their well-being that has created a dangerous environment for those sworn to protect the public,” Patrick Yoes, national president of the Fraternal Order of Police said. “These challenges have ranged from violence against officers, an increase of violent rhetoric against them, lagging technology, recruitment and retention issues, and mental health concerns. Particularly, smaller municipalities have seen an increased strain on the men and women in blue as they attempt to uphold the rule of law. The ‘Invest to Protect Act’ would be a step in the right direction to combat these issues that plague law enforcement officers in smaller municipalities. On behalf of the more than 364,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, I am proud to offer our support for this incredibly necessary legislation.”
The Invest to Protect Act will provide the following federal investment to small police departments:
- 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.
- Investment for body-worn cameras — to hold everyone accountable — while also providing much-needed resources for data storage and data security.
- 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.
- Investment for departments to provide mental health resources for their officers.