Keeping Northwest Indiana Safe
Supporting Law Enforcement
Pete is proud to have worked with former Senator Richard Lugar to create a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program for Northwest Indiana, which has been invaluable to deterring crime in our area. Through this important initiative, federal and local law enforcement agencies have been able to work together to combat illegal narcotics in Lake County and Porter County.
Additionally, understanding that in order to be effective, our police officers must have full access to the lifesaving resources they need, Pete authored legislation in 1997 to create the Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) program. The BVP program helps law enforcement agencies in Northwest Indiana and across the country purchase bulletproof vests by providing for an up to 50 percent reimbursement rate for purchased bulletproof vests. Since the program’s inception, the BVP program has provided over $685,000 to police departments in Northwest Indiana, and this funding has assisted in the purchasing of over 3,600 bulletproof vests.
Pete is currently working to reauthorize this important program with his colleague, Rep. LoBiando, through the introduction of H.R. 988, the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Act of 2013. This measure would reauthorize the BVP through FY 2017.
As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, Pete continues to support HIDTA and BVP, along with other important law enforcement program, by ensuring that adequate funding levels are provided. In particular, Pete has supported increased funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program, which provides grants for the hiring and rehiring of law enforcement officers, the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act programs, which provide grants to local law enforcement agencies to support sex offender registration and notification programs, and Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants (Byrne JAG), which provide resources to support all components of the criminal justice system.
Understanding that abandoned buildings can be a catalyst for criminal activity, Pete has been working hard for over a decade to ensure that our local communities have sufficient funding to demolish blight and abandoned buildings. For instance, Pete secured $2.3 million in funding to support the demolition of blighted, abandoned buildings through a program led by the Indiana National Guard known as Operation Crackdown, which targeted 179 structures in Lake County for Demolition. Since that time, Pete has continued to work with local communities to address blight in our communities through his role on the House Appropriations Committee, by supporting the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP).
Pete has been a strong supporter of Governor Mike Pence’s efforts to establish the Blight Elimination Program. Under this program, the State of Indiana obtained an administrative waiver from the Department of Treasury to use funding under the Hardest Hit Fund towards demolition. The Hardest Hit Fund was initally established in 2010 to help homeowners avoid foreclosure in areas hardest hit by the recession, but Indiana has only used a small fraction of the over $200 million it received through this program. Pete offered support and assistance when needed to local communities applying for funding, and is pleased that the Cities of Gary, East Chicago, and Hammond received a combined total of $8.6 million under the program to demolish blight in our communities.
In an effort to provide more funding for this purpose, Pete is a strong supporter and cosponsor of H.R. 655, a measure regarding funding under the Hardest Hit Fund. This measure would authorize states to repurpose all unused funding provided under the Hardest Hit Fund program towards the demolition of blighted structures, without the need to obtain an administrative waiver.