Missouri U.S. Senators Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley have introduced a bill that would help with tracking law enforcement suicides. The measure would require the FBI to collect anonymous information from local law enforcement agencies, including circumstances before the suicide or attempted suicide occurred, location, demographic and method used. It would also require the FBI Director to submit an annual report on the data to Congress and publish the report on the FBI website.
Blunt says collecting the information could help to create more effective prevention programs to save lives.
“Law enforcement officers face stressful and dangerous situations every day,” says Blunt in a press release. “That can take a tremendous toll on their mental health and, in too many cases, lead them to take their own lives. The data collected by the FBI will play a vital role in developing policies to help prevent future tragedies. As a mental health advocate and co-chair of the Senate Law Enforcement Caucus, I hope my colleagues will join us in this effort to better support the brave men and women who keep our communities safe.”
According to a press release, last year was the third straight year in which police suicides outnumbered line-of-duty deaths. Nationally, 167 police officers have committed suicide.
“Every day, law enforcement officers walk into the line of fire to protect our communities,” says Hawley. “But the trauma they experience can take a heavy toll on those brave men and women who keep us safe. This bill takes positive steps toward getting our men and women in blue the support they deserve in order to heal and recover.”
The bipartisan bill is also sponsored by U.S. Sens. Cortez Masto, Coons, Grassley and Durbin. Companion legislation was introduced in the House by Representatives Mike Quigley, Greg Steube and Madeleine Dean.
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