WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today joined Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) in introducing the Violent Incident Clearance and Technological Investigative Methods (VICTIM) Act to establish a grant program at the Department of Justice (DOJ) to help state, tribal and local law enforcement agencies solve more crimes and improve clearance rates for homicides and firearm related violent crimes.
“As crime rises in the U.S., many cases go unsolved. This is true for Louisiana’s small towns and large cities alike, where local law enforcement has to do more with less. The VICTIM Act would provide law enforcement with key financial and technical support to help bring violent criminals to justice and give victims closure,” said Kennedy.
“Far too many murders in our country go unsolved, leaving families and communities shattered and without answers. This lack of justice is unacceptable, and we can and must do more. I am proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation that will provide law enforcement agencies with the appropriate training and resources to deliver justice to more grieving families, promote community safety, and assist victims in healing after unimaginable tragedy,” said Booker.
Sens. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) cosponsored the legislation. Reps. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) and Dwight Evans (D-Pa.) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
“Gun violence and violent crime must be addressed with a holistic approach. This bipartisan, bicameral bill will help ensure our law enforcement agencies have the resources needed to keep our communities safe, while also supporting victims and families who are rebuilding their lives in the aftermath of violent crime,” said Durbin.
“Far too many homicide cases go unsolved, leaving families of victims without answers or justice. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation to provide the necessary resources to state and local law enforcement agencies to reduce the number of unsolved homicide cases and make our communities safer,” said Tillis.
The Louisiana Association of Chiefs of Police, Fraternal Order of Police, Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA), Major County Sheriffs of America (MCSA), Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies (ASCIA), the Niskanen Center and Arnold Ventures support the bill.
“Homicide cases can be very difficult to clear—and violent firearms-related cases can be even more so. Closing these types of crimes requires diligence, manpower, and a sustained investigative effort. Given the limited resources of law enforcement agencies, it’s important to provide the significant, dedicated resources that clearing these crimes requires, especially given their oftentimes heinous nature. The resources the VICTIM Act would provide would improve the ability of law enforcement agencies to punish the perpetrators of these crimes, provide justice for the victims and their families, and grant peace of mind for communities and the dedicated law enforcement officers that serve them. When we can clear more crimes like these, our communities are safer places to live and work,” said Patrick Yoes, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police.
“A high clearance rate is something every law enforcement agency strives to achieve. Recognizing the challenges our profession faces such as understaffing and technological advancements, the Major Cities Chiefs Association was proud to work collaboratively with Senators Booker and Kennedy to produce a bipartisan bill that will assist local law enforcement agencies augment, implement and administer programs and technologies to increase clearance rates for homicides and firearm related violent crimes,” said Chief Eddie Garcia, MCCA President.
“The Major County Sheriffs of America (MCSA) is proud to support the VICTIM Act and thanks Senators Booker and Kennedy for their leadership on this important legislation, which will provide law enforcement agencies with the necessary tools and resources to investigate and solve violent crimes. The new resources this legislation would provide will assist agencies across the country with hiring and training investigative personnel while acquiring necessary investigative technology and forensic equipment to keep our communities safe. We stand ready to support all efforts to advance this important bill,” said Megan Noland, MCSA Executive Director.
“Building capacity across state and local law enforcement agencies to investigate violent crime is an important priority. The Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies (ASCIA) appreciates Senators Kennedy and Booker for introducing the VICTIM Act, which would provide new resources to help agencies strengthen their abilities to efficiently, fairly, and accurately analyze forensic evidence, investigate, and solve violent crimes,” said Drew Evans, ASCIA President.
“There is no more urgent issue than ensuring violent criminals are brought to justice and that homicides are solved. We’re grateful for Senator Kennedy's leadership in sponsoring this important legislation,” said Greg Newburn, director of Criminal Justice at the Niskanen Center.
The VICTIM Act would help local law enforcement:
- Train detectives and police personnel to investigate, solve and respond to homicides and non-fatal shootings.
- Hire additional detectives and investigative personnel.
- Invest in technology needed for solving crimes.
- Train police personnel to address the needs of victims and family members of homicides and firearm related violent crimes.
- Provide victims and family members with mental health resources and assistance with shelter, wage and relocation costs.
The bill would require those who receive VICTIM Act grants to report their use of the money to the DOJ. DOJ would collect and provide that information to Congress.
The full text of the VICTIM Act is available here.