During National Police Week, Tester Continues Fight for Montana Law Enforcement
Senator: “During this pandemic, it is more important than ever that we honor their courage and their sacrifice on our behalf”
U.S. Senator Jon Tester is honoring Montana’s police officers by marking National Police Week and doubling down on his ongoing effort to ensure the country’s law enforcement officers have the resources and benefits they need to keep communities secure and families safe.
Tester is backing a resolution recognizing the work of law enforcement officers during the COVID-19 outbreak, and honoring the officers who died in the line of duty in 2019, including Deputy Sherriff Jacob Otto Allmendinger of Bozeman.
“Every day Montana’s brave law enforcement officers put their lives on the line to keep us safe,” Tester said. “And during this pandemic, it is more important than ever that we recognize their courage and the sacrifices they make each day on our behalf. But mere words aren’t enough – Congress needs to act to make sure Montana’s uniformed officers have the tools and resources they need to do their jobs safely and effectively.”
The resolution formally designates May 10-16 as National Police Week, and honors the 185 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in 2019. It also recognizes the continued bravery of law enforcement officers who have continued to serve their communities during the COVID-19 outbreak, and honors those who have contracted the coronavirus in the line of duty.
In honor of National Police Week, Tester also supported three bills to ensure officers have access to the resources and benefits they deserve. Tester’s Safeguarding America’s First Responders Act creates a presumption under the Public Safety Officers Benefits Program for officers who are permanently disabled or die in the line of duty because of COVID-19, making it easier for public safety officials and their families to access these benefits. The COPS Counseling Act ensures that federal law enforcement officer peer support counseling sessions are confidential, and the Law Enforcement Suicide Data Collection Act helps the FBI better track suicides and attempted suicides among law enforcement to get officers they help they need and prevent these tragedies.
Other measures Tester has fought for to support law enforcement include:
- Earlier this year, Tester secured $850 million in the CARES Act to provide pay for personal protective equipment, officer overtime and other cost through the Byrne JAG Program—including nearly $5 million for police officers in Montana.
- Tester is a strong supporter of funding for drug taskforces in Montana, and for increased funding for Byrne JAG, HIDTA, and the COPS Anti-Meth program. These programs fund critical drug task forces across Montana.
- Tester is also pushing to ensure that officers injured in the line of duty get the benefits they deserve. He is a cosponsor of the Putting First Responders First Act, which would clarify that first responders do not have to pay taxes on their service-connected disability payments. Tester is also a cosponsor of the First Responders Fair RETIRE Act, which ensure that federal first responders receive their full retirement benefits if they are injured in the line of duty and return to federal service in another position.
- As Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, Tester secured increased funding for Operation Stonegarden, which funds resources and officer overtime for local law enforcement officers keeping our border safe. He also introduced the Operation Stonegarden Authorization Act to provide $110 million—a $20 million increase—for Operation Program for the next 5 years.