Margaret Wood Hassan

07/11/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/11/2019 13:18

Bipartisan Bill Cosponsored by Senator Hassan to Prevent Law Enforcement Officer Suicide Passes House, Moves to President’s Desk

July 11, 2019

WASHINGTON - The United States House of Representatives yesterday overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan bill cosponsored by Senator Maggie Hassan that 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.

'Law enforcement officers are often involved in traumatic and dangerous situations that can take a heavy toll on their mental health,' Senator Hassan said. 'This bipartisan bill would provide law enforcement with the support that they need to improve their mental and physical health as they work every day to keep our communities safe.'

Senator Hassan recently met with first responders at the Franklin Police Department, as well as at the Manchester Fire Department, to hear about the toll that the deadly fentanyl, heroin, and opioid epidemic is taking on those on the front lines of the crisis.

Senators Josh Hawley (D-MO) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced the Supporting and Treating Officers in Crisis Act in the Senate, where it passed unanimously in May. U.S. Representatives Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) and Madeleine Dean (D-PA) introduced companion legislation in the House. The bill is now headed to President Trump's desk, where he is expected to sign it into law in the coming days.

BACKGROUND

  • 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. This bipartisan legislation restores and expands grant funding for these law enforcement support services.
  • 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.

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