President Joe Biden on Thursday signed three bipartisan bills into law aimed at supporting the nation’s law enforcement and first responders, as well as the communities they serve.
“Today’s investment and the bills I’m about to sign share goals of law enforcement and first responders: be the protectors and the partners our communities need,” he said.
He went on to tout his administration’s efforts to invest in community policing and training programs for community-based partners, including new grants from the Department of Justice to help build legitimacy and trust, address gun violence and combat domestic extremism.
He thanked Attorney General Merrick Garland for “leading these efforts.”
The COPS Counseling Act, he said, helps support mental health resources for law enforcement.
“Every day our nation’s police answer the call, confront scenes that can take a toll to them as well – and even traumatize,” he said, drawing parallels to the military, adding that it is an obligation to help law enforcement recover from the “invisible wounds” that cause mental health issues.
The Protect America’s First Responders Act, Biden said, helps those disabled or killed in the line of duty, including firefighters, EMTs and other law enforcement. It includes disability and education benefits and expands those who are eligible.
“This bill restores our sense of valor,” he said.
Biden also signed the Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila Federal Officers and Employees Protection Act.
“It sends a message to drug cartels, terrorists, and criminals – wherever they operate – if you attack our agents, you will not escape our justice,” he said.
He also made a plea to Congress to “come together” and pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, negotiations on which stalled out earlier this year.
“That’s next,” he said.