BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Millions of dollars in federal funding could be on the way to help fund better equipment for police and help make our streets safer. Louisiana lawmakers said they are working hard to make it happen as soon as possible.
"What happened on July 17 was completely disgusting. It was senseless, absolutely senseless," said U.S. Congressman Garret Graves.
Graves stood before a packed room of law enforcement officers at the Fraternal Order of Police Conference in Gonzales acknowledging the pain each of them felt when a lone gunman went on a shooting rampage killing three of their brothers and injuring three more.
"You all are the ones who are running to the disaster, to the bullets, when everyone else is running away," Graves said.
In the days that followed the police shootings, hundreds of officers from across the state ran to the Capital City to help local law enforcement keep their community safe. The state took a financial hit of an estimated $650,000 to fund that kind of presence.
"Our biggest concern is, we don't want to find ourselves in a situation where the police agencies are robbing one account to pay off this overtime," Graves said.
Graves and other lawmakers worked with the U.S. Department of Justice to secure that money, but now, Graves said, they are taking it a step further. They have asked for an additional $3 million to $5 million to make sure there is money in the future for better equipment and training.
Graves said they are supporting federal legislation that would complement Louisiana's Blue Lives Matter law, which calls for tougher penalties for those who threaten police.
"We need to make sure that before anyone thinks of threatening or attacking, or in any way offending law enforcement officers, that they think twice, three times and very long and hard because the penalties and consequences are going to be severe," Graves said.
Graves said he and U.S. Congressman Cedric Richmond are also drawing up an amendment that would increase the amount of gr ants available to police for equipment and training.