Senate legislation to prevent law enforcement officer suicides passed the U.S. House of Representatives this week and now heads to the president’s desk after passing the U.S. Senate unanimously in May.
The Supporting and Treating Officers in Crisis (STOIC) Act of 2019 will restore grant funding for law enforcement family-support services and allows grant recipients to use funds to establish suicide-prevention programs and mental health services for law enforcement officers.
“Law enforcement officers in Colorado and across our nation are the foundation of safe communities, and it’s our responsibility to ensure they and their families have the resources necessary to receive mental health assistance,” said co-sponsor Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.). “I’m glad to see this bill pass Congress and head to the president’s desk to provide support for our officers. I’ll continue to fight for measures like this to back our men and women in uniform.”
Suicide is the number one cause of death for police officers in the United States, but Congress has failed to fund grant programs that provide support services for police officers and their families. Current grant programs do not allow for funds to be used for suicide prevention efforts, mental health screenings, or training to identify officers at risk.
Numerous law enforcement and mental health advocacy groups have endorsed the STOIC Act: 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.