Washington, DC - Patrick Yoes, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, welcomed news that President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. signed one of the FOP’s top legislative priorities, H.R. 6943, the “Public Safety Officer Support Act,” into law yesterday.
“The new law is the product of extensive effort made by the FOP and the incredible leadership of Senators Duckworth and Cornyn,” Yoes said. “Now the PSOB program will recognize that most public safety officer suicides are service-connected and that the families of officers who are lost to suicide, who suffer the same pain and grief as the family of any other officer lost in the line of duty, are eligible to make a claim with PSOB.”
The new law provides a presumption that any officer who is diagnosed with or seeks help for acute stress disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or another similar mental health condition who commits or attempts to commit suicide is presumed to “constitute personal injury” as defined in the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) program. The law also recognizes the cumulative and corrosive effects of the mental stress suffered by law enforcement and other public safety officers and applies the same presumption to any public safety officer who responds or responded to a mass casualty, mass death, or mass shooting event.
“These disorders can be just as disabling as a physical injury and an officer who suffers from this or a similar disorder that may result in suicide is just as service-connected as any other line-of-duty death,” Yoes said. “This bill shows compassion and support for our officers and their families and provides another step towards building support for officers facing mental wellness crises.”
The President also signed into law another FOP-supported bill, H.R. 2992, the “Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Law Enforcement Training Act.” This legislation directs the U.S. Attorney General to develop crisis intervention training tools for use by law enforcement and other public safety officers when interacting with community members who have TBI, another form of acquired brain injury, or PTSD.
“The training tools will be instrumental in helping officers interact with those who suffer from traumatic injuries,” Yoes said. “This training curriculum will ensure that officers are better equipped to protect and serve their communities during these crisis situations.”