Contact: Louisa Tavlas
WASHINGTON, D.C. October 28, 2021 — Today, U.S. Rep. Val Demings (FL-10), along with co-sponsors Reps. Cynthia Axne (IA-3rd), Dwight Evans (PA-3rd), Robin Kelly (IL-2nd), Tom O’Halleran (AZ-1st), and Lucy McBath (GA-6th), introduced H.R.5768, the Violent Incident Clearance and Technological Investigative Methods Act (VICTIM Act). The bill would provide important resources to local law enforcement and victim services. The Niskanen Center is honored to have worked with Reps. Demings and the co-sponsors—all recognized leaders in public safety and criminal justice reform—to develop this important legislation.
The VICTIM Act would provide $1 billion in funding, over ten years, to state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to hire and retain homicide detectives and non-fatal shooting investigators, and improve evidence processing technology and practices. It would also ensure that victim services programs are sufficiently funded and staffed and that important resources for victims are accessible and convenient.
“The resources provided to local law enforcement in the VICTIM Act will help reduce the violence that plagues our most vulnerable communities and bring some measure of comfort to victims and their families,” said Greg Newburn, Niskanen’s director of criminal justice. “This bill is a smart, targeted response to our nation’s recent homicide spike.”
“We’re grateful for Rep. Demings’ leadership on this urgent issue,” Newburn added.
Said Rep. Demings, “Real life isn’t like CSI: Miami. I saw as a law enforcement officer, detective, and chief of police that gun crimes are oftentimes difficult to investigate and solve. Simply put, many agencies lack the resources they need to bring justice to these cases and closure for families.”
Rep. Demings points out that half of gun murders in the U.S. remain unsolved, and victims are often left with no justice and little support.
“This legislation would inject critical new funding into America’s law enforcement agencies to hire and train detectives and specialists specifically committed to investigate unsolved crimes, comfort victims, and bring the guilty to justice,” she said.
Rep. Demings added, “I vividly recall as a law enforcement officer standing over the bodies of young Floridians who had been victims of gun crimes, knowing that their families would soon receive devastating news. Today, the murder rate is rising, and more and more cases go unsolved. Unsolved gun crimes are unacceptable for the victims and their families, and leaving violent criminals on the streets is unacceptable for the communities we are trying to protect. We can do better, and this legislation will give our law enforcement agencies the resources they need to track down violent criminals and keep our communities safe.”
The bill is endorsed by the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the National Police Foundation, the National Association of Police Organizations, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, and the Fraternal Order of Police. The bill’s text can be accessed here.
The Niskanen Center is a 501(c)(3) advocacy organization established in 2015 to change public policy through direct engagement in the policymaking process.
Photo: aijohn via iStock