The 114th Congress: Supporting Our Law Enforcement
by John Cornyn on December 19, 2016 at 10:53 AM
During the 114th Congress several important pieces of legislation were passed into law that will help support those who protect our communities, including bills to expand active shooter training, increase resources for mentally ill offenders, and help reduce the nationwide rape kit backlog.
POLICE Act of 2016 (Passed Senate 5/18/16, passed House 7/12/16, became law 7/22/16)
- Expands access to existing federal funding for law enforcement and first responders to receive active shooter response training.
- Endorsed by the National Fraternal Order of Police, the National District Attorneys Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Major County Sheriffs Association, and the Sergeants Benevolent Association.
Major Provisions of the Mental Health and Safe Communities Act (Passed as part of the 21st Century Cures Act and became law 12/13/16)
- Allows law enforcement to use existing funding to create pre-trial screening and assessment programs to identify mentally ill offenders, provide need-based treatment, and develop post-release supervision plans, including judicially-administered Assisted Outpatient Treatment programs.
- Uses federal grant funding to expand the use of Crisis Intervention Teams, who are trained to respond to mental health crises and prevent acts of violence.
- Enables existing federal funding to be used to provide treatment, mentoring, and other transitional services to mentally-ill offenders leaving custody.
Justice for All Reauthorization Act of 2016 (Passed Senate 6/16/16, passed House 11/29/16, became law 12/16/16)
- Gives our law enforcement the resources to arrest violent offenders and reauthorizes grant funding for local and state law enforcement to help reduce the nationwide rape kit backlog.
- Provides resources for forensic labs while protecting the innocent by improving access to post-conviction DNA testing.
- Strengthens crime victims’ rights in the courtroom, increases access to restitution and restorative services like housing, and reauthorizes important law enforcement investigative programs.