Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) reintroduced bipartisan legislation to increase access to funding for small law enforcement agencies in Nevada and across the country. The Invest to Protect Act would set aside $250 million to help local police invest in training, mental health support, and recruitment and retention.
“Our law enforcement agencies keep Nevadans safe, and I’ve always fought to deliver the resources they need,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “From our rural communities to our Tribal nations, this funding will support small police departments doing critical work across the country.”
“I share the concerns of many Iowans who have told me that low recruitment and retention rates of local officers in the police force are impacting their communities,” said Senator Grassley. “It’s clear more needs to be done to reverse this troubling trend. Our local law enforcement does essential work to protect us, and we ought to be uncompromising in our support for them.”
Over 90% of all police departments nationally have fewer than 200 full-time officers. In Nevada and across the country, these small departments often struggle to compete with larger ones for access to critical resources. The bipartisan Invest to Protect Act would establish a grant program through the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program to provide $50 million per year for five years specifically to help local law enforcement agencies with fewer than 200 officers make meaningful investments in their officers and communities. The bill also requires a grant application process that can be completed within 2 hours so that small agencies without dedicated grant-writing staff can access the funding. This bill is endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, the National Association of Police Organizations, and the National Sheriffs’ Association. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) and John Rutherford (R-Fla.) have introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.
In addition to U.S. Senator Cortez Masto and Grassley, this legislation is cosponsored by Senators Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).
As the former top law enforcement official in Nevada, Senator Cortez Masto has been a leading advocate in the Senate for our police officers and is part of the Senate Law Enforcement Caucus. She just secured historic funding for the Byrne JAG grant program, the leading source of criminal justice funding in the country. Her bipartisan bills to combat the crisis of law enforcement suicide and provide mental health resources to police officers have been signed into law by presidents of both parties. She recently reintroduced the BADGES for Native Communities Act to support the Bureau of Indian Affairs with law enforcement recruitment and retention.