Dear Senators Booker, Kennedy, Durbin, and Tillis,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our support for S. 3763, the “Violent Incident Clearance and Technological Investigative Methods (VICTIM) Act.”
In 2022, the United States continued to see elevated rates of homicide. Approximately 21,500 people were murdered in the United States in 2022 — a 29% increase over 2019. Additionally, the FBI estimates that 79% of all murders in the United States in 2020 were via firearms, up from 73% in 2019. At the same time that the murder rate rose, the clearance rate for murders fell significantly, from 61.4% in 2019, to 50% in 2022.
Homicide cases can be very difficult to clear—especially those committed via a firearm—and firearm-related violent crimes 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 the impact they have on victims, their families, and the fabric of the community. They deserve justice and closure.
Your legislation would establish a grant program administered by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to help State, Tribal, and local law enforcement agencies improve their clearance rates for homicides and firearm-related violent crimes. Agencies can use these grant funds to train or hire additional detectives, investigators, or other police personnel to investigate, solve and respond to homicides and firearm-related violent crimes. The grants can also be used to improve training for agency personnel to address the needs of victims and family members of homicides and firearm-related violent crimes.
By providing these important resources to law enforcement agencies across the country, it would improve the chances that homicides and firearm-related violent crimes get cleared, providing punishment for the perpetrators, justice for the victims and their families, and peace of mind for communities and the dedicated law enforcement officers that serve them.
On behalf of the more than 373,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, I am proud to offer our support for this legislation. If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in our Washington office.
cc: Robert Fox, President, New Jersey State Lodge
Darrell Basco, President, Louisiana State Lodge
Chris Southwood, President, Illinois State Lodge
Randy Hagler, President, North Carolina State Lodge