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Valadao introduces Congressional bills to support municipal police and fire agencies

U.S. Representative David Valadao is a co-sponsor of the Invest to Protect Act, and introduced the Emergency Wildfire Fighting Technology Act alongside fellow California representative Jim Costa.
David Valadao
Posted at 9:53 PM, May 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-17 00:53:30-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — It's National Police Week, and there are new details available about a new bill in the U.S. House by Representative David Valadao (CA-22).

Valadao co-sponsored the bipartisan Invest to Protect Act. The legislation is aimed at providing municipal police departments employing fewer than 200 officers funding to put toward de-escalation training and mental health services. The funding would be given to the police departments in the form of government grants.

Representative Valadao provided more details on how police departments would go about qualifying and applying for grant money.

"They would have to apply, and I would say the easiest way is reach out to our office and talk to my staff about applying, and we'll do letter support. We'll do what we need to do so that if they can get these dollars, we want to make sure they get it," said Valadao. "But obviously the bill has to become law first for this to work."

Valadao went on to say that he expects the bill, which has already been revised once after passing the House and being sent back by the Senate, will pass and eventually be signed by President Biden.

"The bill passed the House before we had changed it so that it matches up with the Senate version. So both the Senate and the House have identical versions now, so if they do pass, we expect it to get to the president's desk and become law," said Valadao.

Valadao also shared that the funding provided by the bill could help several local police departments in Kern County cities with smaller tax bases, like Arvin and Lamont.

On Tuesday, Valadao, along with Congressman Jim Costa (CA-21), also introduced the Emergency Wildfire Fighting Technology Act ahead of California's wildfire season. Recent winter storms are expected to lead to intense foliage growth, which will lead to an increased amount of fallen branches and dry ground cover which will act as fuel for wildfires.

Valadao's office says these factors highlight an urgent need to increase investment in alternative firefighting systems. The new bipartisan legislation, if passed, would meet that need by updating firefighting technology and equipment.

In a statement, Valadao said the fire tech act would provide ground crews with more dependable cover from the air.