The Congresswoman Has Long Called for Targeted Investments in Training, Mental Health Support, Recruitment, & Retention
The “Invest to Protect Act” — Supported by the National Fraternal Order of Police & the National Troopers Coalition — Would Prioritize Funding for Small Police Departments in Need of These Funds
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Spanberger — a former federal law enforcement officer — today joined a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House in passing bipartisan legislation she cosponsored that would make critical, targeted investments in local police departments, both in Virginia and across the United States.
Spanberger helped introduce the Invest to Protect Act — also known as the Invest in Law Enforcement Act — earlier this year. The bipartisan bill 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.
Ahead of the legislation’s passage, Spanberger spoke on the floor of the U.S. House in support of the bill. Click here to watch her remarks.
“This legislation follows our prior increases to funding to the Community Oriented Policing Program through the appropriations process. The Invest to Protect Act would help get the job done of ensuring that police departments, particularly those like I represent in smaller and rural communities, have the ability to recruit and retain officers,” said Spanberger on the U.S. House Floor. “This legislation invests in officers’ safety. It invests in domestic violence response training. It invests in funding the police departments like those I represent. Throughout Virginia’s Seventh District, I hear directly from local police departments about the need for stronger investments in training, equipment, recruitment, and retention.”
Spanberger continued, “And as a former law enforcement officer, I greatly admire and am thankful for the dedication of men and women who work every day to keep our communities safe. I want to thank my colleagues, Congressman Gottheimer and Congressman Rutherford, for their leadership on this legislation. I’d like to thank CBC Chair Beatty for her partnership on these important issues of public safety and public trust – and I appreciate that this bill has the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police and the National Association of Police Officers. This is smart investment, smart policy. And at this moment, we should have the common commitment to keeping America’s communities safe.”
The Invest to Protect Act is led by U.S. Representatives Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-05) and John Rutherford (R-FL-04) — a former sheriff. The bill is endorsed by the National Fraternal Order of Police, the National Troopers Coalition (NTC), and the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO).
Specifically, the Invest in to Protect 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.
- Providing grants for small departments to recruit new officers — helping to expand departments and bringing in new officers. It would 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.
Spanberger and a majority of the U.S. House also voted pass additional measures aimed at boosting support for local law enforcement departments, preventing gun violence, and improving mental health services, including:
- The Mental Health Justice Act. This bill would create a grant program to pay for hiring, training, salary, benefits, and additional expenses for mental health provider first responder units.
- The Break the Cycle of Violence Act. This bill would provide federal grants to communities for evidence-informed community violence intervention and prevention programs designed to interrupt cycles of violence.
- The VICTIM Act. This bill would establish a U.S. Department of Justice grant program to hire, train, and retain detectives and victim services personnel to investigate shootings and support victims.