As Police Week Comes to a Close, Tester Vows to Continue Fighting for Montana Law Enforcement

Senator is pushing legislation to honor police, secure critical resources and benefits for first responders to keep Montanans safe

In recognition of all that Montana’s police officers do for our communities, U.S. Senator Jon Tester this week honored Montana’s cops by marking National Police Week and vowed to continue fighting to secure the resources law enforcement needs to keep Montana communities safe, and ensure all first responders receive the benefits they’ve earned after putting their lives on the line.

Tester is cosponsoring a resolution recognizing May 9-15th as National Police Week to highlight importance of law enforcement officers this year, including honoring those killed in the line of duty and recognizing their heroic work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tester is also teaming up Senator Steve Daines to introduce the Putting First Responders First Act—inspired by a retired Billings police officer who was injured on the job—which clarifies that first responders do not have to pay taxes on disability payments received as a result of on-the-job injuries.

“This year more than ever, Montana has relied on our brave law enforcement officers to keep our families safe and our communities secure, and we owe them a sincere debt of gratitude,” Tester said. “That’s why it is critical that we honor the courage and sacrifice they make every day on our behalf. But we’ve got to do that with more than words, but by having their backs—to ensure law enforcement have the tools and resources they need to continue doing their jobs safely and effectively, as well as access to the benefits they have earned for putting their lives on the line to keep us all safe.”

Montana law enforcement leaders thanked Tester for his efforts:

“National Police Week recognizes the important work of our brave law enforcement officers in Montana and across the country who put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe,” said Wynn Meehan, Sheriff of Broadwater County and President of the Montana Sheriff and Peace Officers Association. “This week is also a time to honor the lives of officers killed or injured in the line of duty. It is critical that we support these officers and their family and ensure they receive the benefits they have earned. MSPOA looks forward to continuing to work with Senator Tester to support our law enforcement officers.”

A tireless advocate for Montana’s law enforcement and first responders, Tester worked to ensure that the American Rescue Plan provides $1.25 billion in direct relief to Montana state, local, and county governments to plug revenue gaps and keep critical services like cops and firefighters on the beat, and earlier this week renewed the push for his bipartisan Protecting America’s First Responders Act to ensure that first responders injured in the line of duty and the families of fallen officers get their earned benefits by fixing current red tape on disability determinations for the Public Safety Officers Benefits Program to process those claims much faster.

Tester is also pushing his bipartisan First Responders Fair Return for Employees on Their Initial Retirement Earned (RETIRE) Act, to help federal firefighters, law enforcement officers, Customs and Border Protection officials, and other federal employees with potentially dangerous jobs receive their full retirement benefits if they get hurt while on duty.

Tester is also continuing to work to ensure law enforcement officers have the tools and resources they need to do their job safely. This week, Tester cosponsored the Law Enforcement Training for Mental Health Crisis Response Act to provide training for law enforcement officers to recognize and appropriately respond to mental health crisis. He is also planning to reintroduce his Assisting Narcotic and Trafficking Officers in Interdicting (ANTI) Drug Act next week to increase funding for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area taskforce, Operation Stonegarden, and Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS).

These programs support local efforts to combat drug trafficking across Montana.