The Congresswoman has Long Called for Targeted Investments in Training, Mental Health Support, Body Cameras, Recruitment, & Retention
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger — a former federal law enforcement officer — this week helped lead a bipartisan effort to make critical, targeted investments in local police departments — both in Virginia and across the United States.
Spanberger helped introduce the Invest in Law Enforcement Act, which would make sure police officers in smaller communities and rural areas have the resources, recruiting tools, and training they need to keep themselves and their communities safe. The bipartisan bill is led by U.S. Representatives Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-05) and John Rutherford (R-FL-04) — a former sheriff.
“As a former federal agent and the daughter of a career law enforcement officer, I understand the critical importance of supporting those who keep our communities safe,” said Spanberger. “The bipartisan Invest in Law Enforcement Act would provide police departments with long overdue investments in training, equipment, retention bonuses, and recruitment resources. Additionally, this legislation recognizes the need for improved mental health services for these men and women — many of whom are left in the position of stepping in as crisis counselors. I am proud to help introduce this legislation to ensure Virginia’s law enforcement officers have the necessary tools to protect our citizens — one of our fundamental responsibilities as a nation.”
The bipartisan legislation is endorsed by the National Fraternal Order of Police and the National Troopers Coalition (NTC).
“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,” said Patrick Yoes, National President, National Fraternal Order of Police. “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 in Law Enforcement 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.”
Specifically, the Invest in Law Enforcement Act would support Virginia police officers by:
- Investing in officer safety, de-escalation, and domestic violence response training. These investments would allow officers to receive critical training that will make them more effective at their jobs, 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.
- Allocating resources for body worn cameras — to hold all officers accountable — while also providing much-needed funding for data storage and data security.
- Providing grants for small departments to recruit new officers — helping expand departments and bringing in new, good officers. It will also provide retention bonuses to help departments keep their existing officers and provide investment for officers pursuing graduate degrees in public health, social work, and mental health.
- Providing critical resources for police departments to provide mental health resources for their officers.
Click here to read the full bill text.