March 17, 2022

Cortez Masto, Grassley Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Invest in Local Police Departments

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) introduced the bipartisan Invest to Protect Act to provide $250 million over the next five years to support small law enforcement agencies across the country. This funding will help them invest in training, equipment, mental health support, and recruitment and retention. The legislation is cosponsored by Senators Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.).

“Our local law enforcement agencies need more funding and support to keep Nevadans safe,” said Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. “My bipartisan bill would ensure that small agencies can easily access resources to provide training and mental health care for their officers and to invest in recruitment and retention to help keep great officers on the streets. These small departments are the backbone of so many communities, and I’ll always work to get them what they need.”

“During my 99 county meetings, I’ve heard from local police departments about the difficulty they’ve had recruiting folks to be on the police force. We need to ensure our law enforcement agencies have the resources needed to recruit, train and retain police – especially as crime rates continue soaring across the country. Our Invest to Protect Act will send a clear message to police, including small police departments, that we have their backs,” Senator Chuck Grassley said.

“Communities all across Georgia rely on our law enforcement officers every day, but our smallest communities often have the hardest time getting the support they need to attract and train officers and make sure they have the resources they need to serve,” said Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock. “This bipartisan legislation will direct additional, much-needed federal support to some of the local law enforcement agencies in Georgia and around our nation who are most in need, strengthening public safety and investing in our brave police officers’ mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing. I’m proud to support it.”

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 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 30 minutes so that small agencies without dedicated grant-writing staff can access the funding. This bill is endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police and the National Sheriffs’ Association. Congressmen Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) and John Rutherford (R-Fla.) have introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

A one-pager of the legislation, a section-by-section, and the full bill text can be found on Senator Cortez Masto’s website.

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 in the FY2022 omnibus. The program is the leading source of criminal justice funding for state, local, and tribal governments and provides support for a range of programs related to crime prevention, law enforcement, prosecution, corrections, and mental and behavioral health. Her bipartisan bills to combat the crisis of law enforcement suicide and provide mental health resources to police officers were both signed into law.