Last night the White House announced that President Trump signed Senator Josh Hawley’s (R-Mo.) bipartisan Supporting and Treating Officers in Crisis Act into law. Sen. Hawley’s legislation restores grant funding for law enforcement support services and allows grant recipients to use funds to establish suicide-prevention programs and mental health services for law enforcement officers. The legislation passed with unanimous support in the United States Senate and the House of Representatives.
Sen. Hawley said, “I’m thrilled that President Trump signed my bipartisan legislation to support the heroes of law enforcement into law. This legislation will save lives by providing critical aid to officers in crisis.”
Sen. Whitehouse said, “Members of law enforcement are the first to show up in times of danger or tragedy. Police officers help people through the most difficult moments of their lives, and helping officers deal with what they must bear to keep their communities safe is an important duty we owe.”
Co-sponsors of the bill include Senators Tillis (R-N.C.), Gardner (R-Colo.), Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Durbin (D-Ill.), Leahy (D-Vt.), Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cotton (R-Ark.), Cornyn (R-Texas), Hirono (D-Hawaii), Scott (R-Fla.), Feinstein (D-Calif.), Capito (R- W. Va.), Coons (D-Del.), Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Grassley (R-Iowa), McSally (R-Ariz.), Cramer (R-N.D.), Collins (R-Maine), and Hassan (D-N.H).
U.S. Representatives Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.) and Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.) introduced companion legislation in the House.
- Suicide is the number one cause of death for police officers in the United States, but Congress has failed to fund grant programs that provide support services for police officers and their families. Current grant programs also do not allow for funds to be used for suicide prevention efforts, mental health screenings, or training to identify officers at risk. Senator Hawley’s legislation restores and expands grant funding for these law enforcement support services.
- Congress has passed fewer than 35 laws this year. (Congress.gov, 7/26/19)
- The bill has been endorsed by numerous law enforcement and mental health advocacy groups: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, National Sheriffs’ Association, Major County Sheriffs of America, National Association of Police Organizations, National Fraternal Order of Police, Sergeants Benevolent Association of the New York City Police Department, National District Attorneys Association, and International Association of Chiefs of Police.