(KRON) – The senate unanimously passed a bill this week to provide support for police officers suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and to provide benefits for their families if they take their own life. More police officers die by suicide then are killed in the line of duty, the bill says.
The ‘Public Safety Officer Support Act’ recognizes the countless traumatic events officers face on the job while serving their communities. The bill points out they are at higher risk for developing PTSD than the average person.
Once the bill is signed by President Biden, the federal government will consider police suicides as deaths in the line of duty. Retired Walnut Creek Police Sergeant Michael Sugrue is a first responder mental health advocate. He calls the bill a step in the right direction.
“I was elated. I mean, this is long overdue,” he said. “The facts are is that, you know, when a police officer dies in the line of duty, their families are taken care of both by at the local level, the state and at the federal level. When it comes to suicide, which actually is the leading cause of death for law enforcement officers, they don’t get any benefits. And the other big thing that this bill is going to do is it’s going to allow easier access for those who are struggling, struggling in silence like I did for many years.”
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Bluehelp.org reports 85 members of law enforcement have killed themselves this year so far. Any officer seeking help can find it using the organizations below:
- Copline (1-800-267-5463)
- Suicide Crisis Lifeline (988)
- Active Heroes (1-800-273-8255)
- Cop 2 Cop (1-866-267-2267)