WASHINGTON, DC – Greek-American Congressman John P. Sarbanes who represents Maryland’s Third Congressional District, released the following statement on September 30 following the passage of four bills to keep our communities safe:
Throughout my time in Congress, I have worked to create safer and stronger communities in Maryland and across the country. I am pleased Congress has passed a package of public safety legislation that aligns with these goals and helps local law enforcement agencies reduce crime, improve their crisis response and better protect themselves and all those they are tasked to serve.
Last week, Congress passed four bills to make meaningful investments in local law enforcement agencies and advance critical reforms and accountability measures:
- The Invest to Protect Act would provide new resources for local law enforcement agencies to recruit and retain qualified officers and offer critical trainings about de-escalation and responding to incidents involving domestic violence or individuals with substance use disorders.
- As we continue to combat ongoing mental health challenges, we must ensure that people in crisis have the support they need, especially when first responders are involved. The Mental Health Justice Act would provide grants to help communities hire mental health professionals who are well-equipped to de-escalate situations that arise when individuals are experiencing mental health crises.
- Evidence-based community violence intervention programs designed to interrupt the cycles of violence and retaliation have proven to be highly effective at reducing rates of violence and saving lives. The Break the Cycle of Violence Act would fund social services, bolster successful violence intervention programs and connect high-risk youth to educational and employment opportunities.
- The VICTIM Act would ensure local law enforcement agencies have the detectives and equipment to investigate homicides, rapes, sexual assaults, kidnappings and non-fatal shootings. It would also fund programs to provide adequate training and staff for victim services.
These reforms will expand the capacity of local law enforcement agencies to respond to emergencies while safeguarding the civil and human rights of all community members. I will continue working to protect our communities, reduce crime and save lives.