SB on floor for police week 5.14.19

*Download Production-Quality Video of Brown’s Remarks HERE.*

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined Village of Newtown Police Chief Tom Synan on a news conference call to mark National Police Week. Police Week is an annual event honoring law enforcement officers and their families and serving as a remembrance of officers who have died in the line of duty. Brown took to the Senate Floor last night to honor fallen officers and recommit to securing critical resources and providing support for law enforcement in Ohio and their families.  

“Each year during National Police Week, we honor our law enforcement officers, and the families who support them and sacrifice alongside them,” said Brown. “They all give so much in service to their communities, and too many lay down their lives to keep us safe. We cannot begin to repay the debt we owe these heroes and their families. But we can work together to get them the support and resources they need, as they work to protect Ohio communities.” 

Brown was joined on today’s call by Chief Synan to recognize the service of Ohio law enforcement and honor the memories of fallen officers. The commemoration of National Police Week began in 1962 under a proclamation signed by President John F. Kennedy. 

“For those on the front line working to save lives and reduce the impact of the opiate epidemic is having on our communities, the partnerships with our federal leaders is vital. Senator Brown has heard the concerns of law enforcement and the resources we need, taking them working on actionable solutions to help us not only do our jobs better but help those we serve on our communities,” said Chief Synan. 

This week, Brown joined Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) as well as Rep. Anthony Gonzales (R-OH) and Kendra Horn (D-OK) to introduce the Law Enforcement Training for Mental Health Crisis Response Act of 2019, which would provide resources to improve police training. The bipartisan bill would provide $15 million in funding over 3 years through the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to help train police on how to best interact with individuals with mental health illness and resolve and de-escalate any potential issues that may arise. 

The goal of the bill is to reduce the number of law enforcement officers and individuals who are killed or injured during situations in which mental health plays a role. On average, one in 10 police response calls nationwide involved a person with mental illness. 

In March, Brown joined Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and a bipartisan group of Senators to reintroduce the POWER Act, bipartisan legislation to provide state and local law enforcement with high-tech devices to detect and identify dangerous drugs like fentanyl. The bipartisan bill would establish a new grant program through the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to help state and local law enforcement organizations secure these high-tech, portable screening devices. 

The POWER Act gives law enforcement officers access to the same high-tech screening devices that Brown secured for Customs and Border Protection agents in the INTERDICT Act. President Trump signed the INTERDICT Act into law last year.  

Brown also continues to lead efforts to secure funding for state and local officers to purchase lifesaving bulletproof vests.  Last Congress, Brown fought for and helped secure $22.5 million in grant funding for the Bulletproof Vest Partnership, a program through the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs that provides funding for local and state law enforcement to acquire bulletproof vests for officers.