WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today met virtually with Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly, Peoria Police Chief Eric Echevarria, Swansea Police Chief Steven Johnson, incoming Champaign Police Chief Timothy Tyler, Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain, and Carbondale Police Chief Stan Reno. During their meeting, Durbin thanked the law enforcement leaders for their service and discussed with them the need to provide funding and resources to address mental health challenges facing law enforcement as well as challenges to officer recruitment and retention.
“Something that really struck me was what Chief Johnson said: that there is not one police officer out there who does not know a fellow officer who died by suicide,” said Durbin. “The trauma these men and women face when out in the field, keeping our communities safe, is all too real. We in Congress must do more to provide law enforcement and their families with support for mental health issues arising from their service to our communities.”
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a majority of police officers face a risk of alcohol abuse, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and one in four have considered suicide. Chicago has one of the highest rates of police officer suicide in the country. As Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Thursday, Durbin’s Committee will consider legislation to support funding for community policing and law enforcement officer mental health resources.
A photo of the meeting is available here.