Finding funding has always been a struggle for law enforcement agencies, and smaller agencies often face even more challenges than their larger counterparts. Due to their size, more than 90% of all departments across the country have fewer than 200 officers and struggle to obtain resources every year.
For a law enforcement agency, funding is necessary for long-term improvements for officers to do their job correctly and feel good about their work. Small things like organized locker rooms, weapons racks, and evidence storage areas are crucial elements that any agency needs. More often than not, these areas are not in proper working condition.
This year, a new Senate Bill called The Invest to Protect Act, proposed by Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto and Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, would grant $250 million to the state’s local police departments with limited funding due to their size. According to the senator, the grant application would only take 30 minutes and is supported by the Fraternal Order of Police and the National Sheriffs’ Association.
The bill, which would provide $50 million of funding every year, focuses on four significant efforts:
- Recruitment and retention bonuses
- Officer Safety, de-escalation, and domestic violence response training
- Body cameras and data storage/security
- Department-led mental health resources for officers.
With these four pillars, officers will be able to receive much-needed help to cope with the many challenges that have threatened their well-being over the last years.
According to Patrick Yoes, National president of the Fraternal Order of Police, “These challenges have ranged from violence against officers, [increased] violent rhetoric against them, lagging technology, recruitment and retention issues, and mental health concerns.” Particularly, smaller municipalities have seen an increased strain on the men and women in blue while performing their duties. The ‘Invest to Protect Act’ would be a step in the right direction to combat these issues that plague law enforcement officers in these municipalities.
Police funding is paramount as crime rates keep soaring nationwide; initiatives like the Invest to Protect Act ensure police departments have the necessary resources to recruit, train, and retain their officers.