Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley and Nevada Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto on Thursday introduced bipartisan legislation to provide funding to local law enforcement agencies nationwide.

The Invest to Protect Act will allocate $250 million over five years to small agencies to help them “invest in training, equipment, mental health support and recruitment and retention,” a press release from Grassley’s office detailed.

Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) are cosponsors of the Senate bill while Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) and John Rutherford (R-Fla.) are pushed an equivalent plan in the House.

“We need to ensure our law enforcement agencies have the resources needed to recruit, train and retain police – especially as crime rates continue soaring across the country,” Grassley said of the legislation’s aims.

Cortez Masto, meanwhile touted the critical role the would-be beneficiary departments play in small towns saying, “These small departments are the backbone of so many communities, and I’ll always work to get them what they need.”

Upon passage of the legislation, agencies with fewer than 200 full-time officers will be eligible to apply for a grant through the Community Oriented Policing Services program, per the press release.

The bipartisan legislation comes amid a nationwide surge in crime over the past two years. The FBI estimated in January that the 2021 murder rate reached the highest level since 1996.

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