Backing The Blue: Senate Democrats & Republicans Present Bill To Protect & Heal Hero Cops

By Charles Susswein | Monday, 23 May 2022 05:15
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Sens. Jon Ossoff, Chuck Grassley, and John Kennedy present a bipartisan bill to educate police officers on dealing with people who have traumatic brain injuries, striving to help “de-escalate” those conditions more effectively.

The bill called the “TBI and PTSD Law Enforcement Training Act” would allocate $270 million over five years for programs that provide no-cost training for police to help them deal with mental health crises.

“Improved training for law enforcement officers to handle post-traumatic stress or head trauma cases will improve public safety, support mental health, and reduce the devastation of severe brain injuries,” Ossoff, D-Ga., said in a statement.

The push for more police funding coincides with National Police Week and as major cities across the U.S. struggle to deal with crime.

The bill is backed by several major law enforcement agencies, including the Georgia Fraternal Order of Police and the National Fraternal Order of Police.

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The bill stresses that millions of Americans suffer from PTSD and TBI and that the conditions are “the signature injuries” of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will also create a surveillance program for first responders’ concussions.

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“Law enforcement officers sometimes encounter individuals experiencing a mental health crisis,” Major Cities Chiefs Association executive director Laura Cooper said. “The tools and training included in the TBI and PTSD Law Enforcement Training Act will help officers respond to and resolve these calls for service as safely as possible.”

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“It’s important that our police and all first responders are empowered with the resources they need to address a variety of emergencies, including incidents that involve people with traumatic brain injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder,” Grassley, R-Iowa, added. “Our legislation would provide departments with crisis intervention tools to help de-escalate situations and improve outcomes for everyone involved.”

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It’s not clear if or when the legislation will get a vote in the Senate, but there’s a companion bill in the House of Representatives backed by a bipartisan coalition.

Georgia’s U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff joined Florida’s Marco Rubio in celebrating National Police Week by supporting legislation to help public servants become homeowners at an event on Tuesday.

The Homes for Every Local Provider, Educator and Responder, or HELPER, Act creates a one-time home loan program for law enforcement officers and others. Ossoff joined Florida’s Marco Rubio and others in bipartisan support for the effort.

The measure also includes firefighters, medical first responders, and teachers.

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