This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Public Safety Officer 4 Support Act of 2020’’
Last week, the Law Enforcement Suicide Data Collection Act was signed into law by President Trump, this was an historic bill not only supported by Blue H.E.L.P. but a result of their efforts to raise awareness for the number of law enforcement officers that take their lives. Next week, another important and ground breaking bill will be introduced. This new bill continues to acknowledge the significance of emotional trauma on first responders.
Blue H.E.L.P. is proud to endorse and support Congressman David Trone’s amendment to the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (also cited as the Public Safety Officer Support Act of 2020) to authorize public safety officer death benefits to officers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide. This bill will assist not only law enforcement, but all public safety officers, their families, the public, and public safety agencies by promoting awareness of post-traumatic stress and suicide, recognizing the impact and significance of emotional stress on the individual, and the importance of public safety officer well-being.
In 2019, 228 law enforcement officers died by suicide, and once again, as in previous years, more officers died by suicide, than in the line of duty. Just this year, we have lost 83 law enforcement officers to suicide. As a non-profit organization, Blue H.E.L.P., is the only organization that tracks and collects data on law enforcement suicide. We are also the only organization to honor both the service of law enforcement officers who have died by suicide as well as helping to provide support and comfort to the families left behind. All officers, regardless of the method of death, deserve thanks; all families deserve our support. Blue H.E.L.P. strongly believes that law enforcement officers who suffer emotional injuries should be recognized and their service to the community honored.
“Blue H.E.L.P. has continued to raise awareness about law enforcement suicide, the impact of work-related stress and trauma on law enforcement, and the need for officers and their families to receive benefits for work-related trauma or death from suicide”, said Nick Greco, Board Member of Blue H.E.L.P.
It is part of our mission to support local, regional, and national leaders who take initiative to support police officers struggling with mental illness such as post-traumatic stress. We encourage elected and appointed officials to ensure that an officer’s service to their community and the nation is honored regardless of how they died. Most importantly, when an officer loses their battle with a mental health concern – such as post-traumatic stress – we must ensure the officer’s family is provided the same resources and benefits as any honorably serving police officer lost to any other line of duty death.