Senate Unanimously Passes Critical Law Enforcement Legislation
Judiciary Committee Chair Durbin guided package of bipartisan bills supporting officer mental health, recruitment, and retention to Committee and Senate approval
WASHINGTON – Last night, the Senate unanimously passed six bills that will support law enforcement officers and their families by providing additional support for mental health needs and ensuring that officers have the necessary resources and training to provide safe and effective community policing. U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released the following statement commending the bills’ passage:
“With every disturbance call, every domestic violence incident, every 9-1-1 report of ‘shots fired’—officers put themselves in harm’s way to protect our communities. The Senate has now unanimously passed a package of bills that honors the service and sacrifice of law enforcement not only with words, but with action. As our country discusses how to best ensure accountability in our justice system and make our communities safer, it is important that we continue offering support for law enforcement officers who are serving us with dignity and integrity.”
The bills passed unanimously by the Senate include:
- S. 3860, the Invest to Protect Act of 2022: Led by Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-IA), this bill would provide $250 million in grants over five years through the COPS Office to support smaller law enforcement agencies. The grant funds could be used to invest in de-escalation training, domestic violence training, law enforcement safety training, equipment, mental health support, recruitment, and retention.
- S. 4003, the Law Enforcement De-Escalation Training Act of 2022: Led by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), this bill would provide federal support for local law enforcement to adopt de-escalation training to respond more effectively to people suffering mental or behavioral crises. It would require the Attorney General to develop de-escalation training curricula and evaluate implementation to improve training and outcomes, and authorizes $90 million in annual grant funding for the training over two fiscal years.
- S. 2151, the Strong Communities Act: Led by Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Cornyn, this bill would help boost community policing by strengthening recruitment from within communities themselves. It would provide that COPS grant funds can be used for local law enforcement recruits to attend law enforcement training programs if the recruits agree to serve in precincts where the recruits live.
- S. 4007, the Fighting Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Act of 2022: Led by Grassley and Chris Coons (D-DE), this bipartisan bill directs the Attorney General and the COPS Office to propose programs that provide evidence-based trauma-informed care and support for public safety officers and 911 dispatchers to help treat and prevent job-related post-traumatic stress disorder or acute stress disorder. It also requires the Attorney General to consult with relevant stakeholders in preparing the report.
- H.R.2992, the TBI and PTSD Law Enforcement Training Act: This House-passed bill directs the Attorney General to develop crisis intervention training tools for use by first responders related to interacting with persons who have a traumatic brain injury, another form of acquired brain injury, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Additionally, the bill requires the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study and report about the prevalence and incidence of concussions among first responders. Senators Jon Ossoff (D-GA) and Grassley led the companion legislation, S. 4286, in the Senate. This bill now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
- H.R.6943, the Public Safety Officer Support Act of 2022: This House-passed bill amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to authorize public safety officer death benefits to officers who die by trauma-linked suicide. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Cornyn led the companion legislation, S. 3635, in the Senate. This bill now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
Durbin advanced S. 3860, S. 4003, S. 2151, and S. 4007 out of the Senate Judiciary Committee during Police Week, in May of this year. That same week, Durbin and Grassley also led a resolution marking National Police Week and reiterating support for the men and women in law enforcement. S. 3635 advanced out of the Committee the following week.
The Senate’s Democratic leadership has made it a priority to fully fund and support our nation’s federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement officers. Congress significantly increased federal funding for state and local law enforcement in the March omnibus spending bill, and more than $10 billion from last year’s American Rescue Plan has been dedicated to community policing in over 300 communities.
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