Bipartisan Bills Increase Funding for Local Police Departments, Support Law Enforcement Mental Health, and Improve De-Escalation Training
WASHINGTON – The Senate passed four bipartisan bills that U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan cosponsored to increase funding for small police departments, improve officer training, and strengthen mental health supports for officers.
“Law enforcement officers bravely put themselves in the line of duty to protect our communities, but too often they do not have the resources or support that they need,” said Senator Hassan. “I was pleased to join with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass these bipartisan bills that will increase funding for New Hampshire police departments and help strengthen training and mental health support for officers and first responders.”
Investing in Local Police Departments: The bipartisan Invest to Protect Act that Senator Hassan cosponsored would provide $250 million over the next five years to support small law enforcement agencies across the country. It would establish a grant through the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program to provide $50 million per year for five years specifically to help local law enforcement agencies with fewer than 200 officers make meaningful investments in their officers and communities. This bill is endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police and the National Sheriffs’ Association.
Strengthening Mental Health: The bipartisan Public Safety Officer Support Act that Senator Hassan cosponsored would create an avenue for officers to seek disability benefits for PTSD by directing the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) to designate work-related PTSD and acute stress disorder as a line of duty injury for eligible officers as well as those who are permanently disabled as a result of attempted suicide. The bill would also allow families of officers who die by trauma-linked suicide to apply for death benefits by directing the PSOB to presume that suicides are a result of job duties in certain traumatic circumstances where there is evidence that PTSD or acute stress disorder would be the cause of the injury. The bipartisan Fighting Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Act that Senator Hassan joined in introducing would require the Justice Department to develop evidence-based treatment programs for first responders across the country, similar to services available to military personnel who develop PTSD or acute stress disorders.
Improving De-Escalation Training: The bipartisan Law Enforcement De-Escalation Training Act that Senator Hassan joined in introducing would improve training for police officers interacting with individuals dealing with mental or behavior health issues, including using alternatives to force and de-escalation tactics and working with mental health professionals on crisis intervention teams. It would also empower police and the mental health professionals working with them to link individuals to mental and behavioral health services in their community.