Washington, DC - Patrick Yoes, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, joined President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Vice President Kamala D. Harris, U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas and numerous Members of the House and Senate at today’s White House signing ceremony for three bipartisan bills: S. 1502, the “Confidentiality Opportunities for Peer Support (COPS) Act;” S. 1511, the “Protecting America’s First Responders Act;” and S. 921, the “Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila Federal Officers and Employees Protection Act.” During the ceremony, President Biden recognized the FOP's efforts to push these bills through Congress.
“I was very pleased to see President Biden sign these important bills into law,” said Yoes. “The Fraternal Order of Police played a leading role in getting these bills passed through Congress and to President Biden’s desk.”
The “Confidentiality Opportunities for Peer Support (COPS) Act” will reduce the barriers for law enforcement officers when trying to access mental health resources.
“The job of a law enforcement officer is not easy,” said Yoes. “This legislation ensures that our nation’s everyday heroes will be better equipped to address a personal or professional crisis and to protect and serve their communities.”
The “Protecting America’s First Responders Act” will update the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) disability determinations and the definitions making it more consistent with existing Federal law and greatly improve the ability of our injured and disabled officers to have their claims processed more fairly and more quickly as well as providing for an extension of the COVID-19 presumption for the PSOB program through the end of 2023 or the end of the public health emergency—whichever comes first.
“This legislation will ensure that officers and their families will be taken care of if they become disabled and are unable to continue to serve as law enforcement officers,” said Yoes. “We knew at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic that law enforcement officers on the frontlines would be increasingly vulnerable to contracting the virus. That is why the FOP was the first to call on Congress for an extension of the COVID-19 presumption for the PSOB Program.”
The “Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila Federal Officers and Employees Protection Act” will clarify that Federal law clearly and unambiguously protects Federal law enforcement officers and other employees operating outside our borders.
“The FOP worked tirelessly to advocate for the ‘Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila Federal Officers and Employees Protection Act’ with Congressional lawmakers,” said Yoes. “This legislation will undo the dangerous precedent set by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and we are grateful to see this bill enacted.”
“The enactment of these three bills is a significant achievement in what is a very difficult and challenging climate in Congress,” said Yoes. “We thank President Biden and Congress for making these bills law, which will greatly benefit our men and women in law enforcement.”