Thursday, U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-6) voted to support a package of four bills that aim to keep communities safe by funding law enforcement and supporting local police. The bills provide law enforcement agencies with new tools to prevent crime and keep Washingtonians safe, while also bolstering training and accountability.
“Today represents progress in the effort to make our communities safer. Every day we see public safety threats that reinforce the need for responsible and effective law enforcement. That means we need to fund the police,” said Rep. Kilmer. “If we want to ensure local law enforcement officers can do their jobs and build better relationships with the community, we need to ensure their departments are adequately funded. The four bills passed today ensure that our local law enforcement agencies have the resources they need to recruit and retain officers, improve training and accountability, and make our communities safer.”
The four bills include:
- The Invest to Protect Act – bipartisan legislation that provides grants to help small, local law enforcement agencies retain and recruit officers. The bill also invests in guardrails and accountability measures, including training for de-escalation, responding to substance use disorders, supporting survivors of domestic violence, and promoting a duty of care.
- The Mental Health Justice Act – legislation to provide funding to support local efforts to send unarmed mental health professionals to respond to mental health crises in our neighborhoods and reduce violence against individuals with mental illness and disabilities.
- The Break the Cycle of Violence Act – legislation that invests in effective, evidence-based community violence intervention initiatives. This builds on similar investments in the American Rescue Plan and helps community organizations and local governments: hire and train detectives to investigate homicides, sexual assaults and other violent crime; ensure victim services are funded, staffed and trained to address the needs of survivors and family members; and acquire and upgrade investigative technology to better process evidence.
- The VICTIM Act – legislation to bolster the ability of police forces to solve homicides, sexual assaults, shootings, and other violent crimes. This includes funding to hire and train detectives to investigate homicides, sexual assaults and other violent crime; ensure victim services are funded, staffed and trained to address the needs of survivors and family members; and acquire and upgrade investigative technology to better process evidence.
Passing this package builds on Rep. Kilmer’s previous action to reduce crime, prevent gun violence, and improve public safety. In July, he helped pass the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, historic gun violence prevention legislation. In addition, last year, Rep. Kilmer helped pass the American Rescue Plan, which provides critical funding for state and local law enforcement.