WASHINGTON — Legislation that aims to set up a grant program so police departments can get access to training and equipment will go before the U-S Senate Judiciary Committee this week.
That panel’s ranking Republican, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, says he’s a co-sponsor of the Invest to Protect Act which is being introduced during National Police Week. “This would help smaller, local police departments recruit and retain officers,” Grassley says. “That’s something that I often hear from police departments as I travel the state, they’re having trouble finding and keeping police officers.”
The bill is designed to ensure police get needed training as well as access to body cameras and mental health resources. In the past few years, Grassley says police recruitment numbers have faltered. “This is partially because of dangerous, anti-law enforcement rhetoric that has emboldened criminals and, most importantly, demoralized the police,” Grassley says, “and demoralized police don’t work as efficiently as if they’re honored by the public.”
Crime rates rose in recent years, Grassley says, with some cities reporting that carjackings have tripled. Also, there’s been a rising sentiment in some populations to oppose the police, which Grassley says is a menacing trend. “I think a lot of these cities that were in revolt two years ago, that led to the slogan ‘Defund the police,’ I think they realize how big of a mistake it is,” Grassley says, “and we’re seeing a turnaround of funding police properly.”
The judiciary committee on Thursday will also consider a measure Grassley co-sponsored called the Fighting Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Act. It would set up mental health programs for America’s first responders, who often face long-term impacts from offering life-saving services during moments of crisis.