On Thursday, Dec. 14, Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-San Bernardino) introduced the Providing Rational Options Toward the Elimination of Catastrophic Terrorism (PROTECT) Act, legislation that would increase coordination between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and local law enforcement by creating prevention and response plans at the local level for active shooting and mass casualty incidents. The bill would require the Secretary of DHS to provide guidance to state and local agencies on how to create emergency action plans to prepare for mass shooting events and expand the availability of federal grants to prepare for and prevent active shooter events.
“Too many times, we’ve seen communities devastated by mass shootings, including right here in San Bernardino,” said Rep. Aguilar. He continued, “In all of these instances, we’ve seen heroic responses from law enforcement that have saved lives and prevented further tragedies. This bill empowers our local law enforcement agencies to enhance their responses. By strengthening the federal partnership, we can ensure that our law enforcement officers have the resources they need to save lives.”
In response to the introduction of the PROTECT Act, Chief Jarrod Burguan of the San Bernardino Police Department commented, “Attacks in our local communities have become all too common. Preparation and training are key for local authorities to effectively respond to these threats when they occur and support from our Federal partners is of paramount importance. I support this bill and believe that it will strengthen our ability to better prepare and protect our communities.”
And San Bernardino County Sherriff John McMahon said, “Recent terror attacks have struck rural and urban cities alike in our nation. Looking ahead, planning for another tragedy in our communities is the responsibility of every one of us who cherishes our way of life. This bill will help us plan and practice our collective response to such incidents with the ultimate goal of saving lives.”
Rep. Pete Aguilar represents the city of San Bernardino, which experienced a horrific terrorist attack in 2015 that took the lives of 14 people and injured 22 more. The PROTECT Act is the second piece of legislation Rep. Aguilar has introduced to help prevent future tragedies of this kind. Earlier this year, the REPORT Act, Rep. Aguilar’s bipartisan bill to help combat domestic terror passed the House of Representatives.
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