The Philadelphia Tribune: Evans co-leads bill to provide $1 billion to solve shooting cases

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans, D-3rd District, is co-leading a new bill that would provide $1 billion in federal funding over the next 10 years to help local and state police raise their clearance rates for both fatal and non-fatal shooting cases.

“Helping our state and local police solve more fatal and non-fatal shooting cases would be a huge win for public safety in Philadelphia and across the country — district attorneys can’t bring cases that don’t reach them, so this would help make our neighborhoods safer,” Evans said.

“As someone who has pushed for help for victims of gun violence, I’m also very pleased that this bill would provide victims and family members with mental health resources and assistance with shelter, wage, and relocation costs,” Evans said.

Evans is a lead co-sponsor of the Violent Incident Clearance and Technological Investigative Methods (VICTIM) Act (H.R. 5768). The bill would establish a Department of Justice (DOJ) grant program to:

• Hire and retain detectives to investigate homicide and non-fatal shootings;

• Acquire resources for processing evidence, including the hiring of additional personnel;

• Hire personnel trained to analyze criminal intelligence and crime trends;

• Train detectives and evidence processing personnel in effective procedures and techniques; and

• Ensure victim services are sufficiently staffed, funded, and trained.

Grant recipients would be required to report information to the DOJ on how the money was spent and how it affected clearance rates for homicides and non-fatal shootings. The National Institute of Justice would periodically evaluate the effectiveness of the policies and procedures implemented by the grantees to improve clearance rates and report to Congress on its conclusions.

The lead sponsor is Florida’s Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings, a former 27-year police veteran, who said, “Simply put, many agencies lack the resources they need to bring justice to these cases and closure for families. Half of gun murders in the United States go unsolved, and victims are often left with no justice and little support. This legislation would inject critical new funding into America’s law enforcement agencies to hire and train detectives and specialists specifically committed to investigate unsolved crimes, comfort victims, and bring the guilty to justice.”

The legislation has strong support from professional law enforcement researchers and organizations, including the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the Major Cities Chiefs Association and the National Police Foundation.