Washington, DC - Patrick Yoes, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, was pleased with the Senate’s passage of six police-related bills—all by unanimous consent. Two of those bills will be sent to the President to be signed into law and the others will be sent to the House, which was supposed to have considered similar legislation before going into recess.
“The most impactful legislation for law enforcement officers and their families is H.R. 6943, the ‘Public Safety Officer Support Act,’ which recognizes that most public safety officer suicides are service-connected and may be considered a line of duty death for the purposes of the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) program,” Yoes said. “The families of officers who are lost to suicide suffer the same pain and grief as the family of any other officer lost in the line of duty and this legislation recognizes that.
The FOP was among the leading organizations that partnered with Senators L. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), John Cornyn III (R-TX), and Thomas R. Tillis (R-NC) to push this legislation unanimously through the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. The Senate companion version was identical to the House bill passed by the Senate yesterday.
“The Senate also passed H.R. 2992, the ‘TBI and PTSD Law Enforcement Training Act,’ and thanks to the leadership of Ranking Member Grassley and Senators Ossoff and Kennedy, this bill will also go to the President to be signed into law,” Yoes said.
This bill would require the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) to establish crisis intervention training tools for law enforcement officers to address individuals with traumatic brain injuries, acquired brain injuries, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
“The Senate also passed two bills which provide resources for local law enforcement to recruit, hire, and retain officers—with a focus on finding candidates who are members of the communities they will protect,” Yoes explained. “The FOP thanks Senators Peters and Cornyn for their work on the ‘Strong Communities Act’ and Senators Cortez Masto and Grassley for their work on the ‘Invest to Protect Act.’ We look forward to getting these measures through the House during what remains of the 117th Congress.
The ”Strong Communities Act,” S. 2151, would help build on the community-policing model by establishing a grant program, administered by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), for local law enforcement agencies to assist in recruiting officers in their community. The “Invest to Protect Act,” S. 3860, would provide $250 million over the next five years to small law enforcement agencies across the country. This funding will help them invest in training, equipment, mental health support, and recruitment and retention of officers.
“Finally, the Senate cleared two bills with broad bipartisan support—S. 4003, the ‘Law Enforcement De-Escalation Training Act,’ and S. 4007, the ‘Fighting Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Act,’” Yoes said. “Led by Senators Cornyn and Whitehouse and Senators Grassley and Coons respectively, these bills will go to the House for further action.”
Both bills provide resources to local law enforcement—S. 4003 for de-escalation tactics and training and S. 4007 for the development of mental health programs for public safety officers facing the long-term effects of providing life-saving services in moments of crisis.
“Our profession faces a great challenge as we try to find, hire, keep, and properly train our next generation of law enforcement officers,” Yoes concluded. “These resources, including those that support the mental health and well-being of officers, are incredibly important if we are to get control of the current violent crime crisis and improve our profession. The FOP will continue to be engaged on these issues as we work to get more bills to the President’s desk.”