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senate Bill S. 998

Should Police Depts. Get Grants for Mental Health & Suicide Prevention Services for Officers?

Argument in favor

Police officers suffer from higher rates of stress, mental health problems, and suicide in comparison to the general population. With this in mind, it’s important for the federal government to help police departments meet their officers’ mental health needs through grants to support mental health and suicide prevention services.

Gopin2018's Opinion
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07/10/2019
I’m fully supporting this bill, we must do all for those who put their lives on the line for all of us. #MAGA
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Frances's Opinion
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07/10/2019
THIS NEEDS TO BE DONE, BUT WE ALSO NEED TO STOP THE WHITE SUPREMACIST MOVEMENT IN POLICE DEPARTMENTS!
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Kate's Opinion
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last Thursday
All First responders. Including fire fighters, EMS, & 911 operators.
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Argument opposed

Major police departments, such as the LAPD, already have staff psychiatrists to help manage officers in crisis. While it’s unfortunate that not all police departments have the resources to hire mental health support staff, this is a local budgetary issue, not a federal one. At a time of ballooning federal debt, it’s irresponsible for the federal government to take on additional obligations that should be local.

burrkitty's Opinion
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07/10/2019
Mental health care should be available to everybody. Stop pandering to special interest groups. Police funding is a local matter anyway.
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JTJ's Opinion
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last Thursday
The federal government needs to cut taxes and enable local governments to raise funds for this.
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tituswife's Opinion
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07/10/2019
I love our police officers and support them in every way, and applaud most of the thought behind this. But, this is a local issue. Keep interference fun the feds, out of our lives!
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house Passed on a voice vote
      house Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
  • The senate Passed on a voice vote
      senate Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedApril 3rd, 2019

What is Senate Bill S. 998?

This bill -- the Supporting and Treating Officers In Crisis Act of 2019 -- would restore grant funding for law enforcement family-support services. Up to $7.5 million in appropriations would be authorized for this purpose for each of fiscal years 2020 to 2024 (the same authorization that the grant program had before lapsing in 2000).

It’d also allow grant recipients to use funds to establish suicide-prevention programs and mental health services for law enforcement officers suffering from stress and mental health issues.

Impact

Police officers; police officers’ families; police officers’ mental health; police officers’ suicide prevention; police departments; and grant funding to police departments.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 998

$25.00 Million
The CBO estimates that implementing this bill would cost $25 million over the 2019-2024 period and $38 million over the 2019-2029 period.

More Information

In-Depth: Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced this bill to provide tools for care for police officers' mental health

“Every day law enforcement demonstrates tremendous bravery in protecting us from the worst of humanity, but it often takes a toll. Police work is physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding. This legislation will provide much-needed support to the heroes that keep us safe.”

Original cosponsor Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) adds

“The things that police officers and firefighters see at accidents and crime scenes can be horrifying, and they often face terrible danger. Helping them process and deal with the things they must bear to protect the rest of us is an important duty we owe.”

Kansas City Chief of Police Rick Smith expressed his support for this bill in an op-ed in the Kansas City Star

“We must stop treating police suicides like isolated incidents. More officers died by suicide in 2018 than in the line of duty. The rate of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression for police and firefighters is five times higher than the general population, according to research from the Ruderman Family Foundation. Yet only 10% of police departments have a suicide prevention program… We need a dedicated mental health professional on staff. We need a psychiatrist who understands what first responders face, has expertise in treating them and can devote all of his or her professional time to the mental health care of the members of our department. We work with medical doctors when our officers are physically hurt in the line of duty and arrange for their treatment. Treatment for mental illnesses related to officers’ duties deserves just as much priority. Police cannot properly provide for the safety of our city if they are injured — physically or mentally. We do not have a place for a psychiatrist in our budget, unfortunately. That is why I was excited to see a bill sponsored by Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley: the Supporting and Treating Officers in Crisis Act of 2019. This legislation would grant up to $7 million for state and local law enforcement agencies to offer counseling to law enforcement officers and their families, among other things. Other permitted uses for the funds would include evidence-based suicide-prevention programs, specialized training for mental health and suicide prevention, and related support services.”

During National Police Week, this bill passed the Senate unanimously and has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security. It has 21 bipartisan Senate cosponsors, including 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats. Its House companion bill, sponsored by Rrep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA), passed the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security by voice votewith the support of 11 bipartisan House cosponsors, including six Democrats and five Republicans. 

This bill is endorsed by the National Sheriffs’ Association, Major County Sheriffs of America, National Association of Police Organizations, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and National District Attorneys Association.


Of Note: Rep. Hawley’s office notes that studies and surveys “consistently show that law enforcement officers (“LEOs”) have above-average stress levels in their jobs.” Their stressors include dealing with family disputes and crisis situations; responding to felonies in progress; dealing with insufficient department support for their mission; and more.

Because of their elevated stress levels, law enforcement officers have greater adverse health outcomes as compared to the general population. One study found that 25-30% of police officers have stress-based physical health problems, such as high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, and gastrointestinal disorders. In another study, 7% of Ohio police officers were found to have the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Finally, suicide rates among law enforcement officers are elevated as compared to the general population. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) concluded that the suicide rate among workers in protective services (law enforcement and firefighting) is 40% higher than the national average. In 2018, 160 LEOs committed suicide while 144 died in the line of duty the same year

In recent years, the federal government hasn’t provided grant resources to provide support services for police officers and their families. In 2000, authorization for the federal government’s grant program for LEO family-support services expired. Rep. Hawley’s office adds that the program is also “in need of reform, with a great focus on mental health and suicide prevention.”


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / PeopleImages)

AKA

Supporting and Treating Officers In Crisis Act of 2019

Official Title

A bill to amend the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to expand support for police officer family services, stress reduction, and suicide prevention, and for other purposes.

    Mental health care should be available to everybody. Stop pandering to special interest groups. Police funding is a local matter anyway.
    Like (14)
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    The federal government needs to cut taxes and enable local governments to raise funds for this.
    Like (6)
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    I’m fully supporting this bill, we must do all for those who put their lives on the line for all of us. #MAGA
    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
    I love our police officers and support them in every way, and applaud most of the thought behind this. But, this is a local issue. Keep interference fun the feds, out of our lives!
    Like (3)
    Follow
    Share
    Go, Bakerswild! My sentiments exactly!
    Like (2)
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    THIS NEEDS TO BE DONE, BUT WE ALSO NEED TO STOP THE WHITE SUPREMACIST MOVEMENT IN POLICE DEPARTMENTS!
    Like (2)
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    Mental health treatment needs to be more available to everyone. This is a start.
    Like (1)
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    I support more health care, but for all Americans, not just ones with stressful jobs. If more mental health care were available in more communities, police might have less stressful jobs overall. I also imagine most officers have health insurance they can turn to for mental health treatment, if they could get over the stigma of needing/asking for help.
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    All First responders. Including fire fighters, EMS, & 911 operators.
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    Many law enforcement personnel go through a lot of very stressful experiences and may potential suffer psychological due to the strain, which may impede their ability to do their job. It is necessary to provide the necessary mental health services they need to help them treat their conditions and develop methods to help cope with the stress of their work.
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    All First responders. Including fire fighters, EMS, & 911 operators.
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    Our law enforcement officers have to see and deal with some of the most ghastly of human behaviors. Any person would be traumatized by the very issues they deal with daily. I’ve seen the most heroic and brave military members break down after too much stress or trauma, our men and women in the police, fire and emergency services uniforms I am sure do the same and should be afforded help when that time comes
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    This is something their union should offer not the federal government.
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    Yes
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    Absolutely! Many officers who need this help aren’t getting it.
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    Just like veterans, many police officers can have PTSD and suicidal thoughts. If we fund suicide prevention programs for veterans, why not for the police? The police have also served the nation in order to stop crime and make the word a better place. The government definitely needs to interfere and do something about this.
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    i don’t approve of much police activity. they tend to gouge working ppl, protect wealthy interests, assault their families. but if this makes them act humane then yeah, do it.
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