WASHINGTON, D.C. — Thursday, U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández voted for safer communities with passage of a package of public safety bills. This legislation takes important steps to build stronger, healthier relationships between law enforcement and those they serve. Together they will help prevent crime, save lives, and advance justice. The bills also promote accountability and training, which are essential to build trust with the community.
“The principles of safety and justice are at the cornerstone of a productive and thriving society. Today, I voted to give law enforcement the tools they need to keep our communities safe and to foster healthy relationships with those they serve,” Rep. Leger Fernández said. “Importantly, the bills target resources to small rural communities, like those in New Mexico. This bill sends a clear message to our law enforcement: ‘Thank you for having our backs and protecting us’. The funding for law enforcement paired with that for mental health professionals reaffirms our commitment to using every tool we have to prevent violence and bring justice to all. Victims deserve to have crimes investigated and solved quickly otherwise justice delayed is justice denied.”
The four bills include:
- The Invest to Protect Act funds the police with grants to help small, local law enforcement agencies retain and recruit officers. At the same time, this bill invests in strong guardrails and accountability measures, including training for de-escalation, responding to substance use disorders, supporting survivors of domestic violence, and promoting a duty of care.
- The Mental Health Justice Act helps send unarmed mental health professionals to respond to mental health crises in our neighborhoods. This crucial action may help save lives from potentially fatal encounters with armed police officers.
- The Break the Cycle of Violence Act invests in effective, evidence-based community violence intervention initiatives. This builds on the life-saving progress we forged with similar investments in our American Rescue Plan.
- The VICTIM Act will bolster the ability of police forces to solve homicides, sexual assaults, shootings and other violent crimes. This is a necessary step to ensure justice is served and improve trust in law enforcement.