May 19, 2022

Grassley, Ossoff Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Improve Public Safety

Legislation aims to help law enforcement better respond to incidents involving mental health crises or trauma

WASHINGTON – As part of National Police Week, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) introduced bipartisan legislation aimed at improving public safety. Their bipartisan TBI and PTSD Law Enforcement Training Act will provide resources for training law enforcement officials and first responders when handling incidents that involve individuals who have a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
 
“It’s important that our police and all first responders are empowered with the resources they need to address a variety of emergencies, including incidents that involve people with traumatic brain injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder. Our legislation would provide departments with crisis intervention tools that can help de-escalate situations and improve outcomes for everyone involved,” Grassley said.
 
“Improved training for law enforcement officers to handle cases of post-traumatic stress or head trauma will improve public safety, support mental health, and reduce the devastation of severe brain injuries,” Ossoff said.
 
The bill will improve training for law enforcement by bolstering the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program. The program would be responsible for developing and implementing PTSD and TBI trainings, and these trainings would in turn be included in the Police Mental Health Collaboration Kit – a no-cost training tool that provides resources for law enforcement agencies to effectively respond to calls for service.
 
Grassley and Ossoff’s bill is widely supported by law enforcement and mental health organizations, including the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA), Major County Sheriffs of America (MCSA), National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO), National Narcotics Officers’ Associations’ Coalition (NNOAC), National Sheriffs Association (NSA), Sergeants Benevolent Association NYPD (SBA), National District Attorneys Association (NDAA), National Association of State Head Injury Administrators (NASHIA), Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) and National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
 
“Law enforcement officers are increasingly on the front lines in responding to and intervening in mental and behavioral health crises, including individuals affected by traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. The TBI and PTSD Law Enforcement Training Act would make training and guidance available to departments to help support improved responses and outcomes to interactions between law enforcement officers and persons affected by TBI and PTSD,” said Mick McHale, President, National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO). “This legislation also recognizes that law enforcement and first responders are among those in our communities who suffer from these afflictions and requires the CDC to do a study on the prevalence of TBI and PTSD in the profession. We thank Senators Ossoff and Grassley for championing this legislation and for his continued support of the law enforcement community.”
 
“Law enforcement officers and prosecutors face challenges responding to mental and behavior health crises on a daily basis. Increasing resources, improving training, and providing guidance from the Attorney General will play a significant role in assisting those who protect our communities in safely interacting with community members who suffer from Traumatic Brain Injuries or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,” said Nelson Bunn, Executive Director, National District Attorneys Association. “This legislative proposal takes the much-needed step by offering the support law enforcement needs to keep our communities safe while also asking the Federal government to better understand the health challenges facing line officers and prosecutors who protect the communities we live in.”
 
“We thank Senators Ossoff and Grassley for addressing such an important issue – people with mental illness who are in crisis deserve a compassionate and thoughtful response from first responders. Every community needs their law enforcement to have the tools to better respond when they are called to intervene in a mental health crisis. We appreciate Sens. Ossoff and Grassley introducing this bill and see it as a step in the right direction,” said Daniel H. Gillison, Jr., CEO of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
 
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) is also a cosponsor of the legislation. Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.), John Rutherford (R-Fla.), Don Bacon (R-Neb.) and Val Demings (D-Fla.) are leading a companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives.
 
Today, the Judiciary Committee advanced a package of bills supporting law enforcement to conclude National Police Week – including a Grassley-led proposal to help officers with PTSD and another to invest in smaller, local police departments.
 
Read the bill text HERE.
 

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