Graves, Richmond Partner to Promote Non-Lethal Law Enforcement
Washington, DC – Louisiana Congressmen Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge) and Cedric Richmond (D-New Orleans) introduced legislation today in response to the recent officer-involved shooting in Baton Rouge. The bi-partisan bill offers state and local law enforcement officers voluntary access to new non-lethal technologies to help protect the public.
"No one wants death and violence in our communities,” said Graves. “We do not need to wait for the findings of a federal Department of Justice investigation to realize that this tragedy could have turned out very differently. Rather than preparing Alton Sterling’s body for a coffin, he could be preparing his defense. Rather than our law enforcement officers’ security being threatened, they could be given accolades for their bravery and for keeping our community safe”.
“This solution will not fix everything, but it’s a step in the right direction,” said Richmond. “The tension between police officers and citizens is complex, and so will be the efforts to address it, but waiting until all of the pieces of the puzzle come together is not an option.”
The legislation establishes an Office of Non-Lethal Technologies and Techniques within the Department of Justice and authorizes grant funding designed to develop and refine the use of new non-lethal tactics. The grant program has three components:
- Prioritizing research and development of improved non-lethal technologies
- Training on new technologies and de-escalation tactics.
- Incentivizing the deployment of new, non-lethal technologies for state and local law enforcement through a 75% federal match of local funds
“There is a significant difference in the long-term consequences of being ‘tazed’ versus being shot. Providing additional tools and training to officers will help bridge the gap that exists between engaging a citizen and using deadly weapons, and ultimately will help prevent future tragedies and reverse some of the trends we’ve experienced,” said Graves.
The bill directs coordination between the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security and other agencies to help build upon existing research and development on non-lethal techniques and technologies for adaptation to state and local law enforcement use.
Appropriations authorized in the bill are fully offset by savings realized from the sale of unused or underutilized federal properties.