In a busy legislative week, local Congressman Josh Harder announced some new funding for programs to benefit firefighting efforts and police departments in California.
On Friday, Sept. 23 Representative Harder announced that the Department of the Interior has invested over $7.5 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to clean 9,969 acres of federal land across California, drastically reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfires. Harder helped negotiate the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law alongside 30 Democrats and 30 Republicans as part of the Problem Solvers Caucus last year.
This funding is part of $103 million allocated by the Department of the Interior earlier this year to reduce wildfire risk, mitigate wildfire impacts, and rehabilitate burned areas. The additional funding will help complete wildfire risk reduction on nearly 2 million acres nationwide this year.
“The best way to fight catastrophic wildfires is to stop them before they can even start,” said Harder. “I’m proud to bring home this investment which will go toward cleaning almost 10,000 acres of at-risk land across our state. That means fewer fires, less smoke, and a healthier environment for all of us.”
Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investments in wildland fire management in California will increase fuels treatment in areas with high wildfire hazard potential, helping to protect homes and businesses in the wildland-urban interface and public drinking water. These efforts will promote climate resiliency across landscapes and communities and will employ Tribal members, youth, and veterans.
In earlier action during the week, Harder voted to pass new funding for Central Valley police departments.
The vote came on Thursday, Sept. 22 and the bipartisan Invest to Protect Act will make critical, targeted investments in local police departments across the Central Valley. Harder has been pushing to pass this bill since early this year. The legislation will send additional resources to police departments with fewer than 125 officers.
In San Joaquin County, Tracy, Lodi, Manteca, Lathrop, Ripon, and Escalon Police Departments will qualify.
In Stanislaus County, Turlock, Oakdale, Ceres, Riverbank, and Patterson Police Departments will qualify.
“Our police departments work every day to keep our community safe, and I’m determined to bring them home the funding they deserve,” said Harder. “I was proud to vote for the Invest to Protect Act to open up a brand-new stream of federal funds for police departments across the Central Valley.”
The Invest to Protect Act will provide the following federal investment to small police departments:
Investment for small departments to recruit new officers — helping expand departments and bringing in new, good officers. This investment can also be used by departments to provide retention bonuses to help keep their existing officers and provide investment for officers pursuing graduate degrees in public health, social work, and mental health.
Investment for departments to provide mental health resources for their officers.
Investments in officer safety, de-escalation, and domestic violence response training, allowing officers to receive critical training that will make them more effective at their jobs, all without putting a strain on department budgets or reducing the number of officers on duty while others are at training by allowing investment to be used to offset overtime pay.
The bipartisan legislation is endorsed by the National Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of Police Organizations, National Sheriffs’ Association, and National Troopers Coalition.