The office of U.S. Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, D-Skamania, on Friday announced the introduction of bipartisan legislation aimed at supporting small police departments and honoring fallen officers, according to a news release.
The legislation was meant as recognition for National Police Week, her office stated.
Gluesenkamp Perez led a group of lawmakers in introducing the Invest to Protect Act “to help small and mid-sized police departments access funding for mental health support, training, hiring, and retention,” the release stated.
According to Gluesenkamp Perez, the legislation would:
• Invest in officer safety, deescalation and domestic violence response training, allowing officers to receive critical training that will make them even more effective at their jobs;
• Create grants for small departments to recruit and retain new officers, to help keep their existing officers and recruit new ones;
• Allow departments to provide mental health resources for their officers; and,
• Authorize $50,000,000 of existing funding per year for five years for local police departments.
“Right now, small town police departments like so many in Southwest Washington are competing with some of the largest in the country for funding, which is making it next to impossible for these departments to get the funds they need to best serve their communities,” Gluesenkamp Perez stated in the release. “The Invest to Protect Act creates a separate pot of money for these departments so they’re competing on a more level playing field.”
Gluesenkamp Perez also helped co-sponsor and pass a resolution to honor the memories of fallen officers who lost their lives in the line of duty and send condolences to their loved ones.
“Officers put their lives on the line every single day, and we will never forget the courage and sacrifice of the heroes who passed while working to keep our communities safe,” Gluesenkamp Perez stated in the release.