Today, U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (D-Mo.) joined Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) in applauding the Senate passage of the Law Enforcement Suicide Data Collection Act, a bipartisan bill to track law enforcement suicides. The bill would require the FBI to collect voluntary, anonymous data on police suicides and attempted suicides from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to better target interventions and provide assistance.
"Now more than ever, it is essential that we get our law enforcement officers the support they deserve as they put their lives on the line to keep us safe. With better data collection on law enforcement suicides, we can more effectively intervene where help is needed and stop these tragedies before they occur. I’m proud to have led this bill with Senator Cortez Masto in the Senate and to see it pass the chamber during National Police Week, and I hope it will soon become law."
"Our law enforcement officers are on the frontlines every day protecting Nevada’s communities, and the stressors they face have only been compounded by the heroic work they are doing to keep Nevadans safe during the coronavirus pandemic," said Senator Cortez Masto. "This legislation will help us better understand the unique mental health needs of our first responders and provide much-needed guidance, resources and support for the officers who risk their health and safety to serve us. I’m grateful for my colleague Senator Hawley for working with me on this important issue and his effort to pass these this critical bill. I’ll continue to fight to ensure the law enforcement community can get the quality care they need, without unnecessary burdens or fear of stigma."
Read the full text of the bill here.
2018 was the third straight year in which police suicides outnumbered line-of-duty deaths. Law enforcement agencies across the country lost at least 167 officers to suicide in 2018. Currently, there is no comprehensive government effort to track suicides and attempted suicides in law enforcement like there is for line-of-duty deaths.
The Law Enforcement Suicide Data Collection Act requires the FBI to open a voluntary data collection program to track suicides and attempted suicides within local, tribal, state and federal law enforcement. Information collected and maintained by the FBI will not include any personally identifiable information.
Participating law enforcement agencies will report information on suicides within their agency to the FBI, including:
- Circumstances and events that occurred before each suicide or attempted suicide;
- Location of each suicide or attempted suicide;
- Demographic information of each law enforcement officer who dies by suicide or attempts suicide;
- Occupational category for each law enforcement officer who dies by suicide or attempts suicide; and
- Method used in each suicide or attempted suicide.
This bill also directs the FBI Director to submit an annual report on the data to Congress and publish the report on the FBI website.
This program would serve as the principal data collection tool on suicides and attempted suicides within law enforcement across the country. By providing accurate and detailed information on these suicides and attempted suicides, more effective prevention programs could be implemented to save lives.