Resident commissioner champions bipartisan measures to boost law enforcement
By John McPhaul
Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón announced Wednesday that she has helped push through three bipartisan measures in Congress to bolster resources and investments in law enforcement, as well as other aspects of community policing and training.
The announcement came as the police were conducting a virtual siege of the Morales neighborhood in Caguas after the slaying of a 76-year-old woman on Tuesday.
“The COPS Contracting Program has provided crucial support to law enforcement agencies in Puerto Rico,” González Colón said in a written statement. “Since 2012, the program has invested over $16.2 million to help 22 municipalities on the island to hire or rehire 221 officers.”
“I am proud to support my colleagues in the Problem Solvers Caucus in endorsing these two measures, which will provide additional flexibility to ensure that more small, low-income, rural law enforcement agencies [are funded] in Puerto Rico and the rest of the United States,” she said. “Together they can continue to access federal resources to hire officers, purchase equipment, and keep our communities safe.”
H.R. 6132, the Public Safety Enhancement Act of 2021, authored by Congressman Troy Nehls (R-Texas), would provide funds to hire an additional 100,000 police officers within the next five years. The legislation reauthorizes a portion of then-Sen. Joe Biden’s 1994 crime bill, which was used to combat rising crime by putting more officers on the streets.
H.R. 6375, the COPS on the Beat Grant Program Reauthorization and Parity Act, authored by Reps. Tom Rice (R-S.C.) and Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), would reauthorize and update the COPS on the Beat Grant Program to ensure that law enforcement agencies around the nation, regardless of their size, location, or regional income level, can access help.
H.R. 6448, the Invest to Protect Act of 2022, authored by Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) would create a new investment for small departments to get the necessary equipment, support and training, and allow them to use the funds for meaningful investments, either in their agents or communities.
These last two bills received the support of more than 75% of the Bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, of which Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón is a member. Additionally, they are supported by various law enforcement organizations, including the Fraternal Order of Police, the National Association of Sheriffs, and the National Association of Law Enforcement Organizations.