Chair Durbin additionally announces that the Committee will hold a hearing to examine the impact of gun violence on law enforcement
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today announced that the Committee advanced four bipartisan bills, by voice vote, that will help support law enforcement officers and their families by providing more support for mental health needs and helping to make sure officers have the resources and training they need to provide safe and effective community policing.
Key Durbin quotes:
“Being a police officer has always been a challenge. But it’s particularly tough these last few years. Officers on the beat continue to confront the challenges of the pandemic and the spikes in shootings that communities all around the country are experiencing.”
“We know gun violence is the number one cause of police officer killings in the line of duty. I will never forget the funeral service for Chicago Police Officer Ella French, who was murdered last year during a routine traffic stop by an armed attacker with a straw purchased gun… In the coming weeks, this Committee will hold a hearing to examine the threats law enforcement officers face from these violent attacks.”
“These challenges have led to another serious problem… losing law enforcement officers to suicide… In the City of Chicago, we have one of the highest rates of police officer suicide in America—60 percent above the national average.”
“Let me be clear: effective law enforcement is critical to ensuring public safety, but law enforcement alone will not solve the problems that they face. We can only create safe communities by investing in those communities as well. We can, and must, address the root causes of crime by addressing poverty that [often] leads to desperation and misguided choices. We also have to address the issue of trauma.”
In 1962, President Kennedy signed a law authorizing the President to proclaim May 15 as “Peace Officers Memorial Day” and the week in which it falls as “Police Week.” This is an important week to honor the men and women of law enforcement who serve and protect our communities bravely and honorably and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.
Today’s bills focus on providing funding for community policing and law enforcement officer mental health resources.
Video of Durbin’s opening statement is available here.
Audio of Durbin’s opening statement is available here.
Footage of Durbin’s opening statement is available here for TV Stations.
Earlier this week, Durbin met with Illinois law enforcement leaders to thank them for their service and discuss 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.
Durbin and Grassley also led 84 of their Senate colleagues in a resolution commemorating the service of America’s law enforcement officers and honoring the 576 law enforcement officers who were killed in the line of duty in 2021, including nearly 400 who died from COVID-19, as well as the 92 lost to date in 2022.