The House passed H.R. 2228, the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act of 2017, which would help agencies create and improve mental health services for law enforcement officers.
The bill, passed on Tuesday in Washington, D.C., was introduced earlier this year by Reps. Dave Reichert, R-Auburn, Susan Brooks, R-Ind., Val Demings, D-Fla., Doug Collins, R-Ga., and Bill Pascrell, D-N.J.
As co-chair of the Law Enforcement Caucus, Reichert said he is dedicated to ensuring that law enforcement is taken care of and given the resources they need to do their jobs and maintain their health. Reichert is a former King County sheriff.
“Having served in law enforcement for 33 years, I know first-hand the importance of providing critical mental health and wellness services for our first responders,” Reichert said in a press release. “Our nation’s law enforcement face significant trauma on a regular basis as they dedicate their lives to keeping our communities safe. We have seen how these services help our military members, and now it is time that we provide the same help for those who serve us here at home. I am proud that the House of Representatives passed this essential bipartisan legislation today to bring much needed health care to those who put their lives on the line each day for our safety.”
The Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act of 2017 would direct the Department of Justice, Department of Defense, and the Department of Veterans Affairs to develop resources to equip local law enforcement agencies to address mental health challenges faced by officers.
The bill, which goes to the Senate next, would also make grants available to initiate peer mentoring pilot programs, develop training for mental health providers specific to law enforcement mental health needs, and support law enforcement officers by studying the effectiveness of crisis hotlines and annual mental health checks.