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Biden signs 3 bipartisan laws to support, protect police and other first responders

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Biden signs 3 bipartisan laws to support, protect police and other first responders
President Joe Biden hands a pen to Jacob Bomba, son of slain officer Thomas Bomba, after signing into law the Protecting America's First Responders Act and two other laws at the White House in Washington, D.C, on Thursday. Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 18 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden signed three bipartisan bills on Thursday, giving new protections and resources for law enforcement, first responders and the communities that they serve.

Biden signed the bills in a ceremony with law enforcement representatives in attendance, along with Democratic and Republican lawmakers to stress the bipartisan nature of the bills.

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"When you look at what our communities need and what our law enforcement is being asked to do, it's going to require more resources, not fewer resources," Biden said.

"That's why my administration is investing in community policing. We know works and the training and partnership that law enforcement in our communities have requested."

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The COPS Counseling Act provides resources for mental health services in law enforcement communities. It also requires the Justice Department to report on best practices and professional standards for peer support counseling programs.

Sen. Patrick Leahy congratulates President Joe Biden Thursday after signing into law the Protecting America's First Responders Act and two other laws, at the White House in Washington, D.C. Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI

The Protect America's First Responders Act provides additional resources for emergency personnel who are disabled on duty. It offers disability and education benefits, and expands who qualifies for the benefits.

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The Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila Federal Officers and Employees Protection Act grants the United States extraterritorial jurisdiction over certain crimes committed against federal officers and employees abroad.

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The Justice Department also announced Thursday almost $140 million in grant funding through its Office of Community Oriented Policing Services COPS Hiring Program.

The awards provide direct funding to 183 law enforcement agencies to hire hundreds of additional full-time law enforcement professionals.

"We are committed to providing police departments with the resources needed to help ensure community safety and build community trust," U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.

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