Dear Speaker McCarthy and Leader Jeffries,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to urge you to bring S. 645, the “Fighting Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Act,” to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote. The bill, which passed the Senate unanimously earlier this month, directs the U.S. Department of Justice to develop a state-of-the-art treatment program for public safety officers experiencing acute stress disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or similar conditions.
The tremendous mental stress our officers endure as a consequence of their service and the negative impact the job has on their physical, emotional, and mental health has gone unrecognized too often. Law enforcement and other public safety officers face a 25.6 times higher risk of developing acute stress disorder, PTSD, and other mental health conditions than those in other professions. Some statistics suggest that a law enforcement officer will experience more traumatic events in six months than the average person will experience in a lifetime.
The FOP strongly believes that we need to recognize the cumulative and corrosive effects of the mental stress suffered by law enforcement and other public safety officers and do everything we can to get them the help they need. This legislation seeks to develop programs at the Federal level that would also be accessible to State and local public safety officers, including evidence-based trauma-informed care, peer support, counseling services, and family support. This would help to expand the kinds of services and support available to officers and their families who are struggling with mental health issues.
On behalf of the more than 364,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, I thank you for considering the FOP’s request for a floor vote on S. 645. If I can provide any additional information about this bill, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in our Washington, D.C. office.