Scanlon Votes to Make PA-05 Communities Safer with Robust Public Safety Package

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05) today voted to pass a robust public safety package of four bills rooted in two of Democrats’ most cherished values: safety and justice. Included in the package is Rep. Scanlon’s Mental Health Justice Act, a bill to provide resources for state and local governments to make trained mental health professionals available to respond to 911 calls, where appropriate, for persons experiencing mental health crises.

“We will make our communities safer by addressing the root causes of violence and providing law enforcement with the tools they need – not by shouting about who is the toughest on crime,” said Rep. Scanlon. “Today’s package addresses the root causes of gun violence by investing in evidence-based community violence intervention programs and resources to address mental health issues. The package also builds stronger, healthier relationships between law enforcement and those they serve, promotes hiring and training to support community-focused policing, and provides targeted resources to solve gun crimes. Importantly, the bills provide funding for multiple programs that law enforcement agencies in my district tell me they need and stand ready to implement to make our community safer.”

The package includes four bills aimed at making communities safer:

  • The Mental Health Justice Act provides grants to train and deploy mental health professionals to respond to 911 calls where appropriate. In the wake of multiple tragic encounters between citizens suffering mental health crises and armed police lacking the resources to navigate such encounters, many communities are seeking funding and training to provide an alternative response to mental health crises. 

  • The Break the Cycle of Violence Act invests in effective, evidence-based community violence intervention initiatives, building on the life-saving progress we forged with similar investments in our American Rescue Plan.

  • The VICTIM Act provides funding and technology to help police solve the backlog of unsolved gun crimes, homicides, sexual assaults, and other violent crimes, bringing relief to victims and getting both crime guns and shooters off the streets. 

  • The Invest to Protect Act provides grants to help small, local law enforcement agencies recruit, retain, and train officers. The bill invests in strong guardrails and accountability measures consistent with 21st-century community-focused policing, including de-escalation training, responding to substance use disorders, supporting survivors of domestic violence, and promoting a duty of care.

Rep. Scanlon continued, “I’m proud the package includes my bill to make mental health professionals available to respond to mental health crises in our neighborhoods. All too often, we see the tragic consequences of interactions between people in crisis and police officers who lack the necessary resources to respond to those issues. The American people and law enforcement agree — most people experiencing a mental health crisis should be treated by trained mental health professionals, not thrown in jail. This bill will make our communities safer by providing resources to address the needs of our most vulnerable citizens rather than overextending our law enforcement agencies.”



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