Update on federal legislation for CSLEA peace officer members
By CSLEA Unit A-Vice President Dr. Kenneth Ehrman
Dear CSLEA Peace Officer Members,
I wanted to share some positive and important news that could significantly help you and your family should you develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Although the legislation still needs President Joe Biden's signature, H.R. 6943, the Public Safety Officer Support Act, was passed by the Senate on August 1 by unanimous consent. The House passed this bill by a vote of 402-17 on May 18.
According to the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO), which helped develop the legislation:
"Once enacted, the Public Safety Officer Support Act will make post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) a line of duty injury under the Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) Program and ensure that officers who have PTSD and those who take or attempt to take their own life as a result of on-duty trauma will be eligible under the program. The bill would also cover officers who die by trauma-linked suicide by directing the PSOB Program to presume that suicides result from job duties in certain circumstances, such as a mass casualty event, where there is evidence that the trauma would cause PTSD."
I have attached NAOP’s publication on H.R. 6943 for your convenience should you want to read more about it.
Law enforcement officers are subjected to the stresses associated with their job and the crimes they witness daily. PTSD which results from a critical incident or long-term exposure has become all too commonplace and continues to take a toll on the lives of peace officers and those of their families. We applaud NAPO’s commitment and advocacy on behalf of law enforcement officers across the country through the passage of this significant legislation.
If you are not aware of the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) Program, it offers death and education benefits to survivors of fallen law enforcement officers and disability benefits to officers catastrophically injured in the line of duty. You and your family may want to familiarize yourself with PSOB. Many public safety officers are not aware of the PSOB program.
Other public safety-related legislation that was passed by Congress and is being sent to President Biden includes the TBI and PTSD Law Enforcement Training Act which will provide additional training opportunities to improve officer response to people affected by traumatic brain injury and/or post-traumatic stress disorder; and the Fighting Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Act of 2022, Law Enforcement De-Escalation Training Act of 2022, Invest to Protect Act of 2022, and the Strong Communities Act. All of which you can read more about in the NAPO’s publication that I have attached should you want to read more about it.