Today, Congressman Salud Carbajal voted with a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives to advance a collection of bills that improve federal support for local law enforcement and other first responders, create new grant programs to help curb gun crime and solve gun crimes, and improve public safety on the Central Coast.
The House passed the Invest to Protect Act, a bill co-sponsored by Rep. Carbajal that creates a new dedicated federal grant program for police departments with fewer than 125 officers–which includes every city police department on the Central Coast between Ventura and San Luis Obispo.
This ensures departments with fewer administrative staff do not have to compete with large metropolitan areas for grants that can help cover the cost of hiring, training, retaining, or equipping law enforcement professionals.
“Central Coast law enforcement officers work hard every day to protect our communities, combat gun violence, and keep our families safe,” said Rep. Carbajal. “They shouldn’t have to worry about competing with big city police departments for funding that can help them recruit and train. The Invest to Protect Act would ensure they get the resources they need to do their jobs.”
The House also passed the Mental Health Justice Act, another bill backed by Rep. Carbajal that creates a new grant program to train and dispatch mental health professionals to emergencies involving behavioral health issues, enabling law enforcement to focus on crime response and prevention and other threats to public safety.
“Supporting our law enforcement officers while they’re protecting our communities also means ensuring we don’t ask them to handle responding to situations that they aren’t trained or equipped to handle, especially when it takes them away from their other sworn duties,” said Rep. Carbajal. “This measure will help ensure our police officers can focus on combating and solving crime and that those experiencing mental health issues can get the help they need.”
Rep. Carbajal also helped advance two additional measures today that are designed to improve public safety, reduce gun violence, and support victims of crimes:
- The Break the Cycle of Violence Act, which enables communities to use federal grants to conduct evidence-informed community violence intervention and prevention programs designed to interrupt cycles of violence.
- Research has shown that combining community-oriented intervention programs and commonsense violence prevention policies can cut gun violence rates in urban cities in half in as little as two years.
- The Violent Incident Clearance and Technological Investigative Methods (VICTIM) Act of 2022, which establishes a new federal grant program to hire, train, and retain detectives and victim services personnel to investigate shootings and support victims.
- Grants would assist departments in staffing victim services units and fund appropriate resources for processing evidence in homicides and non-fatal shootings.
The measures advanced today include language that allows the Department of Justice to conduct appropriate oversight of grant recipients, including their training, use of force policies, and enforcement track records.
Earlier this week, Rep. Carbajal was part of a group of lawmakers that formally urged Democratic leaders of the House to hold a vote on these bills.