Dear Madam Speaker and Representatives McCarthy, Hoyer and Scalise,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to urge the Members of the U.S. House of Representatives to support the passage of H.R. 5768, the “Violent Incident Clearance and Technological Investigative Methods (VICTIM) Act,” and H.R. 6448, the “Invest to Protect Act,” which could be considered on the floor of the House as early as today.
Homicide cases can be very difficult to clear—especially those committed via firearm—and non-fatal shootings even more so. Closing these types of crimes requires diligence, manpower, and a sustained investigative effort. Given the limited resources of law enforcement agencies, it’s important to provide the significant, dedicated resources that clearing these crimes requires, especially given their oftentimes heinous nature, and the need to get justice for the victims and their families.
The ”VICTIM Act” would establish a grant program to help State, Tribal, and local law enforcement agencies improve their clearance rates for homicides, non-fatal shootings and other violent crimes. Agencies can use these grant funds to train, hire, or retain additional detectives, investigators, or other police personnel to investigate, solve, and respond to these crimes. The grants can also be used to improve training for agency personnel to address the needs of victims and family members impacted by these crimes.
By providing those important resources to law enforcement agencies across the country, we can improve the chances that murders, sexual assaults, kidnappings, and non-fatal shootings get cleared. This means ensuring punishment for the perpetrators, securing justice for the victims and their families, and providing peace of mind for the communities our members work so hard to protect.
The FOP also urges Members of the House to support H.R. 6448, the “Invest to Protect Act.” 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. 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.
This legislation would establish a grant program that would be used for training of officers from police departments and municipalities that employ less than 125 law enforcement officers. The funding appropriated would be $60 million over a five-year period. These trainings would include de-escalation, domestic violence response, and response calls to vulnerable populations like those involving persons with disabilities, mental health issues, or substance abuse disorders.
This legislation is also designed to help these smaller agencies recruit new officers and to help address the retention issue of current officers. The funding could also be used by officers from eligible departments who are pursuing further education in mental health, public health, or social work. These officers could receive up to $10,000 in aid towards their tuition. Lastly, the funding could also be used for mental health services, treatments, and therapies for active police officers.
On behalf of the more than 364,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, I urge the Members of the House to pass these two bills to support our nation’s small departments and the communities they serve. If I can provide any additional information about this bill, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in our Washington, D.C. office.