A bipartisan push to pass legislation that would use federal dollars to make strategic investments in small and mid-size police departments, including training and mental health support, is being led by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff).
Gottheimer’s bill puts into training police officers in safety, de-escalation, and domestic violence issues, adds federal grants for the recruitment and retention of law enforcement in small departments, and authorizes up to $50,000 if existing funding annually for five years.
“The bipartisan Invest to Protect Act will make critical investments in our departments and ensure that our police officers in smaller towns across Northern New Jersey, and our nation, have the resources and training they need to keep themselves and communities safe,” Gottheimer said.
The House passed Gottheimer’s Invest to Protect Act in 2022 by a vote of 360-44, with 153 Republicans voting yes. The Senate passed a similar version.
“If you want to make something better, and there’s always room for improvement, whether that’s a road or a school, you don’t get there by cutting or defunding. You need to make smart, targeted investments,” said Gottheimer. “You must invest, not defund. You can have both justice and public safety. You don’t have to pick between one or the other. Today’s bipartisan legislation will help ensure we have both, and protect our communities and officers.”
The plan proposed by Gottheimer won the support of New Jersey State Policeman’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Colligan.
“It’s critical that we stand up for local and state law enforcement all across New Jersey so we can keep our families and communities safe,” Colligan said. “Congressman Gottheimer’s advocacy for first responders does not just help North Jersey — he fights for officers throughout the country.”
According to Gottheimer, his new bill has 50 original cosponsors; the Senate bill will be sponsored by Catherine Cortez-Mastro (D-Nevada) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).