Column: In support of local law enforcement


Each year during National Police Week (May 13-19), we honor our law enforcement officers, and the families who support them. They all give so much in service to their communities, and too many make the ultimate sacrifice to keep us safe.

While we can’t begin to repay the debt we owe these heroes and their families, we can work together to support their families and their fellow officers, as they work to protect Ohio communities.

That’s why I introduced my Children of Fallen Heroes Scholarship Act, which President Trump signed into law as part of the bipartisan budget package in March.

This bipartisan bill increased access to education opportunities for the children of public service officers who are killed in the line of duty. It ensures that if the son or daughter of a fallen public service officer qualifies for a Pell Grant, that child will be eligible for the maximum amount of scholarship dollars authorized by law.

Helping these children get a quality education is the least we can do for these families who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their communities.

But our support for law enforcement can’t end there. I’ve joined a bipartisan group of colleagues in calling on the administration to release the Byrne JAG funding that our Ohio departments are waiting on. Byrne JAG is the largest source of federal funding to state and local law enforcement agencies. Departments need this money for equipment, and to support drug task forces and treatment programs. They shouldn’t have to wait any longer.

I also hope we can soon pass the bipartisan POWER Act that I’ve introduced with Senator Portman.

Few people know better than Ohio law enforcement officers how common fentanyl has become and how dangerous it is. It’s why we passed and the president signed my bipartisan INTERDICT Act, and it’s why we need to build on that and give our local and state law enforcement the same access to high-tech devices to screen for fentanyl and other dangerous opioids.

During Police Week, I gathered Ohio law enforcement officers for a demonstration in my office, showing how they can use these drug screening devices to enhance their ability to investigate drug crimes, while protecting themselves and the Ohioans they serve.

Some Ohio cities are already using these devices, and one officer at the demonstration said his office could use this equipment right now.

At a time when it may seem like not much is getting done in Washington, supporting the officers who put their lives on the line each day to protect us – and the families who sacrifice alongside them – is something we can come together on in a bipartisan way.

Let’s continue to support Ohio law enforcement, their families, and their fellow officers, as they work to protect Ohio communities.

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By Sherrod Brown

Guest columnist

 

 

Sherrod Brown is a U.S. Senator, representing Ohio. You may contact him at his office in Cleveland, 801 W. Superior Ave., Suite 1400, Cleveland, OH 44113. You may call his office at 216-522-7272 or 1-888-896-6446.

 

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