Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald
PHOENIX – Arizona Senator Mark Kelly cosponsored bipartisan legislation to increase funding for small law enforcement agencies in Arizona. The Invest to Protect Act would set aside $250 million to help local police invest in training, mental health support, recruitment, and retention.
“It’s essential that police departments and sheriff’s offices are able to recruit and retain the workforce needed to keep communities safe. As the son of two police officers, I’m proud to cosponsor this legislation that will support law enforcement in every corner of Arizona,” said Senator Kelly.
More than 90 percent of all police departments nationally have fewer than 200 full-time officers. These small departments often struggle to compete with larger ones to access 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 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 two hours so that small agencies without dedicated grant-writing staff can access the funding.
This bill was introduced by Senators Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA). It is endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, the National Association of Police Organizations, and the National Sheriffs’ Association.
Last year, Kelly secured over $4.4 million for police departments and public safety efforts in Arizona communities. Kelly also secured an additional $3.3 million through the Department of Justice’s COPS Hiring Program to enable Pima County, Casa Grande, and Glendale law enforcement agencies to recruit new officers.