Suicide is the No. 1 cause of death for police officers in the United States and up to now Congress has failed to fund grant programs to curb the deaths.
However, the U.S. House has passed Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley’s Supporting and Treating Officers in a Crisis Act, a bipartisan measure, which restores funding for law enforcement support services and allows grant recipients to use funds to establish suicide-prevention programs and mental health services for law enforcement officers.
The legislation was passed by the Senate in May and awaits the president’s signature. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill.
The bill was endorsed by many law enforcement and mental health advocacy groups, which include the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, National Sheriffs’ Association, Major County Sheriffs of America, National Association of Police Organizations, National Fraternal Order of Police, Sergeants Benevolent Association of the New York City Police Department, National District Attorneys Association, and International Association of Chiefs of Police.
The fact that suicide is the No. 1 cause of death for police officers in the country undoubtedly was a surprise for many people. This legislation should help lower the suicide deaths. The legislation also should bring a degree of peace to the troubled minds of police officers, who in some areas almost daily have to deal with unsavory conditions in dealing with the criminal element.
Being a police officer today is a hazardous occupation, moreso than in the past.