Dear Senator Cornyn,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our support for S. 3846, the “Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Reauthorization Act.”
According to recent studies, one in ten calls for service to law enforcement involve a person suffering from a mental illness. One in three people taken to a hospital emergency room for psychiatric reasons are transported there by law enforcement. Our officers respond to these calls for service with care, compassion, and professionalism. While we have come a long way in our ability to handle these incidents safely and effectively, law enforcement officers need the training and resources this legislation provides.
The legislation would reauthorize the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP) through 2026. First authorized in 2004, JMHCP grants have funded mental health courts, other court-based initiatives, diversion and deflection programs, crisis intervention teams, training for local police departments, and other programs to improve outcomes for people with mental illness and co-occurring substance use conditions who come into contact with the justice system. In addition to adding $10 million to program funding, this legislation would also expand the allowable uses of grants to include the funding of crisis response teams, suicide prevention in jails, and the hiring of community health workers.
Law enforcement officers have one of the toughest and most dangerous jobs in the United States. They are tasked with keeping our streets and neighborhoods safe from crime, ensuring that every citizen can live free and without fear. By putting funding and resources into improving mental health outcomes across the criminal justice system, this bill ensures that law enforcement officers will have a reduced risk of encountering dangerous situations on a day-to-day basis.
On behalf of the more than 364,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, I am pleased to offer our support for this legislation. If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in our Washington, D.C. office.