Dear Representatives Hom and Gonzalez,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our support for H.R. 2698, the “Law Enforcement Training for Mental Health Crisis Response Act.” The bill addresses an urgent need to provide our nation’s law enforcement officers with training to recognize and appropriately respond to behavioral crises caused, not by criminal activity, but by mental illness and substance abuse.
According to recent studies, one in ten calls for service to law enforcement involve a person suffering from mental illness and 33% of people taken to a hospital emergency room for psychiatric reasons are transported there by law enforcement. It is clear that improving the available training for officers responding to calls like these will reduce the risk of injury to both officers and to the individuals experiencing a behavioral crisis.
Our officers can and will handle these calls for service with care, compassion and professionalism. While we have come a long way in our ability to safely and effectively handle these incidents, our members need the training and resources this legislation provides. We believe it will make our communities safer.
On behalf of the more than 350,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, we are proud to support this bill. If I can be of any additional assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in my Washington office.