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Bipartisan Federal Policing Bill Would 'Invest, Not Defund'

Moderate Democrats facing tough reelection fights are teaming up with House Republicans on a bill that would effectively help fund the police, Axios reports. One of Republicans' most effective campaign attacks has been their messaging around progressive rhetoric to "defund the police." Moderate Democrats have long tried to dodge that narrative, acknowledging its political peril despite their support for police reform. "You need to invest, not defund," said. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), who is leading a coalition sponsoring the bill. Asked if this was a push to "fund" the police, Gottheimer replied, "Correct. If you want you want more safety, ... you can't get there if you just cut, cut, cut ... Instead of doing nothing, isn't it much better to get something significant done?"

The “Invest to Protect Act" is designed to pump fresh resources into police departments with fewer than 200 officers, which accounts for the majority of departments nationally. The bill is focused on areas of agreement emerging from previous police reform negotiations. Among the provisions: Investing in officer safety, de-escalation and domestic violence response training, Allocating resources for body cameras, including data storage and data security, supplying grants for small departments to recruit new officers, providing retention bonuses for officers pursuing graduate degrees in public health, social work and mental health, and providing critical resources for departments to provide mental health resources for their officers. It's unclear how much support the bill will get, particularly in the Senate where the 50-50 party split has stalled other legislation.