Saturday , 20 July 2024

Policing Legislation Spearheaded by Former Cop, O’Halleran

Former Homicide Detective and Law Enforcement Officer Builds Diverse Coalition to Improve Public Safety in a Dysfunctional Washington

Cong. Tom O’Halleran

WASHINGTON – Today, the House of Representatives voted on a package of police funding and public safety bills that Congressman Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01), a former law enforcement officer himself, played a leadership role in bringing his colleagues through months of talks to reach a compromise.

“As a former law enforcement officer and a coalition builder in Congress, I have been working to bring commonsense policing legislation to the floor through stalemate after stalemate,” said O’Halleran. “Officers and those they serve both want safe, supported communities, and Americans deserve officers that are held to the highest standards. I was proud to vote in favor of these bills that will accomplish both these important goals.”

Included within the package is:

H.R. 6448, the Invest to Protect Act, which creates a grant program to provide funding for police departments in smaller communities to train their officers, implement new programs, and retain and hire officers.
H.R. 5768, VICTIM Act, which increases funding for hardworking local and tribal police departments, helping to hire, train, and keep good detectives and victim services workers to better provide the needed resources to catch criminals.
    O’Halleran and Rep. Val Demings, the bill’s lead, joined together to host a press conference on the need for the VICTIM Act in February.
H.R. 8542, the Mental Health Justice Act, which creates a grant program for states and local governments to train and dispatch mental health professionals to respond to emergencies that involve people with behavioral health needs.
H.R. 4118, Break the Cycle of Violence Act, which funds evidence-informed community violence intervention and prevention programs designed to interrupt cycles of violence.

In January, O’Halleran sent a letter to President Biden detailing commonsense, bipartisan solutions to fund hardworking law enforcement officers while ensuring accountability. Many of the policies included within today’s suite of bills were contrived from O’Halleran’s letters, including programs to strengthen officer recruitment, hiring, promotion, and retention, training and support for comprehensive responses to persons during mental health crises, and important de-escalation policies.

“As a young officer working in Chicago, I had to knock on the doors of too many parents tell them their child had been lost to an act of senseless violence. In my years as a homicide investigator, my family, like many officers’ families, stayed up worried about me until I was home safe,” said O’Halleran following the vote. “I’ll keep working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to protect the public safety of Americans, to fund and support our officers, and to ensure accountability at every level.