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First Responders Celebrate Pascrell’s Benefits Bill, $4.2 Million in Law Enforcement Grants

Police and fire officials hail Pascrell-authored legislation and historic federal police hiring funds for New Jersey to hire 24 new officers

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) today joined with police and fire officials, union representatives, and local leaders to announce two milestone achievements for America’s first responders. The group celebrated the signing into law of Rep. Pascrell’s Protecting America’s First Responders Act of 2021 (PAFRA), which significantly improves federal death and disability benefits for first responders and their families. They also welcomed $4.2 million in federal Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) hiring grants Pascrell won for Paterson and Prospect Park, which will support the employment of 24 additional officers.

“Throughout the pandemic, our men and women in uniform have risked their lives every day. The last year was the deadliest ever for our nation’s first responders. It has made clear that more must be done to support these brave men and women,” said Rep. Pascrell, who co-chairs the Congressional Law Enforcement Caucus and Congressional Fire Services Caucus. “Last week, I was proud to join President Biden while he signed my bill into law to ensure first responders and their families will no longer have to face delays and red tape to receive their benefits. Further, by securing the largest COPS hiring grant ever for Paterson and first for Prospect Park, our communities will be able to hire 24 new officers to keep our streets safe. This is a great day for our district and our state. I will always fight in Washington to make sure our first responders are equipped no matter what.”

“Our goal has always been to exceed 400 officers here in Paterson and this grant helps get significantly closer to that number,” said Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh. “Thank you to Congressman Pascrell for his never-ending fight to bring home federal dollars for Paterson.”

As co-chair of the Congressional Law Enforcement Caucus and Congressional Fire Services Caucus, Rep. Pascrell has made federal support for first responders a chief priority in Washington. Last week, Pascrell joined President Biden to celebrate the enactment of his Protecting America’s First Responders Act of 2021 (H.R. 2936), legislation that makes significant improvements to DOJ’s Public Safety Officer Benefits (PSOB) program which provides first responders who die or are permanently disabled in the line of duty with a federal benefit of $370,000 and education assistance of $1,200 a month to their children or spouse.

Rep. Pascrell was also the principal sponsor of H.R. 2379, a congressional reauthorization of the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program, which was signed into law on May 24, 2019. Rep. Pascrell’s legislation permanently authorized $30,000,000 annually for the lifesaving Bulletproof Vest Grant Program. Rep. Pascrell additionally authored the National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 1865), a law enacted last Congress, which led to the minting of coins in support of the National Law Enforcement Museum in Washington.

Rep. Pascrell has fought for years to fully fund the Byrne JAG program, the COPS Hiring program, and other key funding streams for state and local law enforcement. Earlier this year, he led a bipartisan group of 159 Members of Congress in support of robust funding for our federal policing grants. 

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